Gregg Popovich is a basketball genius and master tactician. One thing he’s not: a ray of sunshine, especially when you put a mic in front of his face.
First, let’s talk briefly about the “basketball genius” part. Pop’s half-court sets, in comparison to what his playoff opponents are running, are sophisticated to the point of absurdity. And with a roster that’s legitimately 10 deep, his tactical precision is on full display; the Spurs have gained a 2-0 lead on the Clippers and they’ve looked surgical while they’ve done it. “Chess not checkers” is a popular refrain when people talk about this series.
Then there’s the saltiness. We’re not judging him for it — some people just don’t like talking to reporters, particularly when they have to hear the same questions over and over and over. And Pop, in general, doesn’t like the spotlight (Exhibit A: his awkward Coach of the Year award acceptance/shuffle). Rather, his Saltine-level saltiness makes sense, and has become an accepted quirk from a basketball tinkerer who doesn’t want to be bothered with awards and questions. He just wants to go back inside his basketball workshop and draw up more plays.
Last night, after the Spurs won their 16th in a row, we got a chance to once again witness Gregg Popovich’s Belichickian level of disdain for his local beat writers. Like a fine wine, his dickishness towards these poor schlubs has been aged to perfection. And you know what? Pop got rings. So Pop don’t care.