Spurs Way apparently rubbed off on Tolliver

Anthony Tolliver’s career with the Spurs lasted 19 games at the start of the 2008-09 season. Since then, he’s logged 111 games with three other teams, the most recent 65 of them coming with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Reading between the lines on this story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, however, it seems apparent Tolliver learned something during his short stint in silver and black.

“Sometimes it’s good to have a coach (who) likes to be a jerk,” Tolliver said.

Speaking to the newspaper in the wake of Kurt Rambis’ firing earlier this week, Tolliver describes the characteristics he thinks would be ideal in a new coach in the Great White North. Though Tolliver explicitly cites Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau as a model, it’s not hard to listen to his comments and think Gregg Popovich.

Again from the Star-Tribune piece:

Asked what kind of coach the team needs to hire next, Tolliver said, “Someone who’s going to be a disciplinarian. Kurt’s a really nice guy. Sometimes that got in the way. I’m not saying he’s too nice, but sometimes it’s good to have a coach no likes to be a jerk.

“I know several players on the Bulls and nobody really liked Tom Thibodeau, but that’s O.K. You don’t have to like the coach. You just have to be able to play for him.”

Sound familiar?

Speaking more specifically about the Xs and Os of the Timberwolves’ yet-to-be-tabbed new coach, Tolliver says the new guy should be more focused on defense. Or, though Tolliver didn’t phrase it this way, more like Popovich.

“I never really thought the offense was a problem, the defensive side was,” Tolliver said. “We scored enough points to win games. We struggled with the ability to get easy buckets in crunch time, but our main problem was the defensive end. Whoever they bring in next, it’s really important that they be a defensive coach.”

Who that guy is remains to be seen. Although, if Minnesota really wants a defensive-minded coach, it probably won’t be Don Nelson.

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