Brad Jones, now an assistant coach for the Utah Jazz, has spent time with the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros organizations. For the Spurs' 40th year anniversary, he interviewed with Spurs.com.
He covered many subjects between the two organizations and what their relationship really is.
When asked about the relationship between the two organization, he explained how close the two really are.
“When I interviewed, they (the Spurs) have a mission of what they expect to get out of the Toros. It’s a very unique process. It was a little bit of getting to know me, but more of here is our mission and this is what we expect. It’s about adding value to the Spurs, whatever it may be. It wasn’t all wins and losses. We obviously had a lot of wins that last year and won a championship. We worked on certain things the coaching staff wanted to see in a situation that they didn’t have to time to practice. We had rehab assignments and then player development.
This doesn't come as a surprise, especially this season. With the Spurs sending and recalling Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo, and Aron Baynes throughout the season, the Toros have helped out the Spurs by keeping their players in shape and helping them develop their game without messing up any chemistry on San Antonio's court. This doesn't only serve for Spurs players, but also for Toros players who may be called up in an event the Spurs need an extra man on the team due to an injury or just having an open slot.
Another question Jones was asked was about the proximity of the Austin Toros to the San Antonio Spurs.
“The identity we had being in proximity of the Spurs, we had the same branding and the same feel of what the Spurs are. It really helped our organization as far as our players. We were close enough to the market and got a feel of what the Spurs family is all about. Being 80 miles away, we practiced some at the practice facility. One thing from our (coaching) point of view, it allowed our players to be seen in front of arguably the best coaching staff in the world right now. It also showed the staff a little bit of the DNA and the fiber of what we were about up there in Austin. The first time we practiced in San Antonio, the Spurs didn’t get in till three a.m. and we practiced at 10. All of the coaches were there to watch us for an hour-and-half practice. It’s pretty impressive. It speaks to who they are as a staff and organization. In my opinion, it helped us that much more for them to know what we are about. They feel more comfortable sending the guys down.”
This is probably the most important contribution that the D-League Austin Toros give the San Antonio Spurs. When the Spurs send a player there, they don't have to worry about the player just conditioning or rehabbing on the court. The assigned player will be playing in the exact same system the Spurs play in and will learn rotations and spots on the floor that would be taught by head coach Gregg Popovich in the big league. That cuts the learning process shorter than it would be with the player learning a new system in Austin then going to San Antonio to learn the system he's being paid to learn. This is a big reason why a player like Cory Joseph has developed nicely for the Spurs and has been ready to play once he's been called upon to the main roster.
To read the entire interview, click HERE.