Spurs notebook: Popovich keeps playbook abridged

Faced with the prospect of little practice time during last season’s NBA lockout-condensed schedule, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich approached the installation of his offensive and defensive playbooks with one acronym in mind.

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Though blessed with ample time to tinker this preseason — the Spurs are in the midst of a stretch of five consecutive days without a game — Popovich’s theme for this year’s camp might well be KISS II.

“No, it’s not even a goal,” Popovich said Wednesday, when asked if he’s had time to open up the playbook in practice. “We’re trying to be real basic and simple all the way through camp and make sure whatever we’re doing is done well.”

Offensively, at least, it is a question of not fixing what wasn’t broken.

The Spurs were a well-oiled juggernaut in 2011-12, ranking first in the NBA in offensive efficiency and second in points per game.

Defensively, the Spurs were “a middle-of-the-road team,” according to Popovich and the numbers, and their personnel hasn’t changed much since June.

Instead of using new gimmicks to improve on that end of the floor this season, Popovich prefers his team be more disciplined with the same philosophies that were in place last season.

For players such as center Boris Diaw, forward Stephen Jackson and guard Patty Mills — who all arrived after the trade deadline last season — the decision to keep the playbook uncomplicated had led to an increased comfort level.

For now.

“So far, we’re sticking with simple, what we were doing last year,” Diaw said. “But I’m sure as the days go by, we’re going to put more things in.”

Pasteurized, posterized: Power forward Tim Duncan returned to the practice court after missing Monday’s workout with an undisclosed illness.

Reserve guard Gary Neal was not as lucky, calling in sick for the team’s two-hour practice session.

Asked if perhaps there was a bug going around the locker room, Popovich reminded that he is only a basketball coach.

“What am I, Louis Pasteur?” he said.

Mills, who is recovering from a right ankle sprain, was limited to non-contact work.

But he’s no De Niro: Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili worked overtime, filming another installment of their celebrated H-E-B commercials after practice.

Diaw was quick with the quip when asked to critique the acting chops of Parker, his friend and fellow Frenchman.

“Best French actor since — who do you guys know? — since Gérard Depardieu,” Diaw said. “And the guy who got the Oscar for ‘The Artist.’ Dujardin. Jean Dujardin.”


Leave a Reply