Gregg Popovich has never been one to mince words, especially when it comes to things he doesn’t like. Or, perhaps it’s better to say that Pop will sometimes clam up about things he enjoys, but is sometimes happy to go on at length when it comes to things he doesn’t like. Case in point: shootarounds, which Pop has started to phase out of the Spurs’ routine altogether. To emphasize his point, Pop even quoted one of the league’s all-time greats, both in terms of production and actual quotes, Wilt Chamberlain.
The Spurs are a finely-tuned machine, executing with precision and little emotion. They’re also, with the exception of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and a few bench players, old. They’ve seen everything there is to see, scouted every opponent dozens of time, and could run their own plays in their sleep. For them, running a shootaround to go through the game plan one more time is approaching diminishing returns. For younger teams, shootarounds are a bit more beneficial, because they haven’t honed their craft as well as San Antonio.
From a media standpoint, shootarounds are by far the best times to talk to players and coaches; they’re not as mentally focused on the game ahead of them and more at ease. There’s a noticeable difference in how a player responds to a one-on-one — or-on-a-few — interview in the open court during shootaround hours before the game versus how they respond to an interview in the locker room surrounded by their teammates. Given Pop’s dislike of the media, maybe that’s one more reason he’s against shootarounds.