Spurs news and notes: Jefferson, Popovich, toughness and more


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• Spurs’ Richard Jefferson had a less-than-stellar first year with the team but this year he has dramatically improved helping the Spurs to the league’s best record:

“He did a great job (last) summer retooling his game,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “He’s become more efficient. He’s not the sloppy player he was last year. He pays more attention to defense. He rebounds better. He gets rid of the ball quicker, makes decisions quicker. All those things happen with a summer’s work. I got to give him credit. A lot of guys at that age and with that kind of money, they say, ‘I don’t need you … I don’t need to do that.’ And he did it.”

Jefferson, 30, said it was a matter of learning the Spurs’ complex system.

“Most people don’t look at things with a high basketball IQ,” he said of the criticism he got last season following having averaged 19.5 or more points in four of the previous five seasons. “You look at it as any job you do, you’re typically better your second year. Anything that you do. … It was popular to say that, ‘I’m struggling’ versus to look at the reasons why.” (source nba.fanhouse.com)

• This season the Spurs have been more of a running team as opposed to seasons past where they employed a more grind-it-out system. So what did Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich have to say about this?

“I’m still not buying it,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “That’s the truth. That’s the truth. I don’t know what else to tell you. I ain’t buying it.

“It’s not who we are. We don’t do that. I don’t know how we’re scoring. I’ve got no clue.”

“It’s definitely unusual,” Popovich said. “So I think it’s best if I don’t try to figure it out, because that would probably just screw it up.” (source espn.com)

• Express News’ Tim Griffin discusses Tim Duncan and if he is now becoming a role-player for the squad.

• Spurs’ radio voice Bill Schoening talks about toughness and the Spurs in their recent victory against the Los Angeles Lakers:

That brings me to Tuesday night’s win over the Lakers, which was all about “toughness”. DeJuan Blair was the most effective big man on the floor, yet he was giving up at least six inches in most of his matchups. Third year guard George Hill admitted after the game that he has long admired Kobe Bryant as a player, but he wasn’t about to back down when he and Bryant got their arms tangled while boxing out.

• Xavier Silas, the son of former Spurs’ great James Silas, talks about the advice he receives from his father:

“A basketball season is such a roller coaster, and because my dad played 11 years in the league, he has seen it all,” Silas said. “It was nice having him around while growing up because he taught me so much about the game. He still helps me now. He’ll give me pointers and I can turn to him when I have problems.” (source ncaa.com)

Silas is considered one of the top players in the nation. How great would it be if he ended up becoming a Spur like his father!

• Former Spurs’ player Garrett Temple was traded from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the Erie Bayhawks:

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers acquired some much-needed inside help on Thursday when they traded 6-6 guard Garrett Temple to Erie for 6-7 power forward Jeff Adrien.

“We’re gutted to have to give up Garrett Temple, but we needed to make a significant improvement in our frontline and we feel that, with this move, we have a chance of doing that.”

The trade indeed comes with a price. Temple, in his second season with the Vipers, is averaging 12.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists in nine games. He scored a career-best 27 points against the Texas Legends on Monday. (source themonitor.com)

• Nicky Van Exel, son of former Spurs’ player Nick Van Exel, has confessed to murder in Texas:

WFAA.com out of Dallas is reporting that the son of former NBA All-Star Nick Van Exel has confessed to murdering his neighbor in Texas on Wednesday night. (source cbssports.com)