Garrett Temple: 2010 coach’s pet

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Garrett Temple is now Coach Pop's new favorite player. But what does George Hill think about it?Last year one of the fun story lines during training camp was Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s love-fest for second year point guard George Hill.

Coach Pop, you may remember, went out of his way to shower Hill with praise at every turn.

Well it looks like Pop may have a new favorite.

Popovich recently took some time during summer league to sit down with NBATV’s Rick Kamla and (former Spur) Steve Smith, and told the pair that Garrett Temple is his new favorite player. When asked about it, Coach Pop said, “He’s done a great job for us. We brought him in at the end of last year and we’re very impressed.”

Oh, get a room you two.

Coach Popovich is no stranger to this. It’s his sort of way of indirectly telling the player that they’re on the right track and good things are coming.

“He wants to defend the basketball. I don’t have to convince him,” Popovich said. “He’s smooth, he can shoot the three, he’s willing to pass, so I think he’s a young player who’s got a really good future ahead of him.”

In his short time with the Spurs at the end of last season, Temple averaged 6.2 points, 1 rebound and just shy of one assist in about 15 minutes of action per game. More importantly, he shot 44% from the 3-point line in his 13 games in the silver and black.

Spurs fans hope that his progress wasn’t slowed last Monday in the Spurs’ first summer league against the Minnesota Timberwolves, when Temple sprained his ankle after playing just 20 minutes. He was able to score 11 points and shoot 2 of 2 from 3-point range before the injury, but missed the rest of the week in Las Vegas and sported a walking boot instead of a pair of sneakers.

If Temple is able to show a similar improvement in his second season to George Hill, when Hill finished tied with Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant for second in the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award, Popovich may be on to something. By next season, every head coach in the NBA may be hip to the power of positive reinforcement.

  • doggydogworld

    They did away with the active roster concept. A full roster is 15. You can dress a different 12 every game if you want. No more injured reserve list gamesmanship. Even if you send a young player to Austin, he’s still “active”. Someone (Farmar, I think) played a D-League game in the afternoon and dressed for the Lakers that night.

  • doggydogworld

    @EasyB, I agree about Splitter but unfortunately McDyess is a very slow starter. I’m not sure he’ll help us win many games in the fall. He may be a candidate for the Horry treatment.

    Of course there is one other big with several years in the system who has experience starting. Bwahahahahahaha!

  • ChitownSpursFan

    This whole RJ opting out thing seems to have many of us Spurs fans in a tizzy! As I look at other tracking sources & I haven’t seen any real intrest from other teams who are actively looking to tear RJ away from us. To me, that says a lot, but I really think that at the end of the day when the smoke clears, I believe that RJ will be wearing his #24 Spurs Jerzey. I would like for the Spurs to get ahold of Louis Amundson. He’s 6’8″, 221 lb., & can play small or power forward. He may not be a slasher or hit the long ball, but he plays great D, from what we witnessed during the second round with Pheonix. I think that he can definately help out under the basket with his D & his putbacks as well. Any who, I wouldn’t be surprised to see RJ back. I also think that the if we don’t sign anyone else after RJ, then I think that Neal, Gee, & even Gist or Wilkerson should have an invite to training camp & see if they can prove themselves to pound the rock with the real men. Now granted Spurs fans, we have been looking for youth to blend in with our vets, & these young bloods need to prove themselves, but we also know that Pop & Co. usually sticks with the old guys. This season will be VERY intresting, but we all know that the time table for Timmy is closing for a drive 4 five, but it’s gonna come down to how bad all of these guys want it. One or two players just can’t do it all alone, & of coarse, talent is needed, but it’s what’s in the heart that counts. But in the meantime, GO SPURS GO!!!!

  • idahospur

    It’s good to see potential in our young Spurs Gee and Temple. Hopefully they’ll get good minutes and will continue to develop. Maybe Parker can rest up for the early season f he’s not up to 100% yet.
    Tough break on our favorite FA’s signing for other teams, hopefully there is someone out there we can coax over. I don’t think Shaq would be helpful in guarding Kobe, Durant, LeBron, etc. (unless he ate them?).

  • doggydogworld

    In a summer league interview RC said they’d bring 17-18 into camp. Assuming RJ signs I figure:

    Core (10) – Parker, Ginobili, Hill, Anderson, RJ, Duncan, Splitter, Blair, McDyess, Bonner

    MLE/LLE (1) – Mr. X

    Unguaranteed (4) – Hairston, Gee, Temple, Jerrells

    Others (3) – Gist, Wilkerson, Neal

    If RJ doesn’t sign it obviously leaves a huge hole at SF.

  • mikrobass3

    thinking out loud: it seems clear that rj has cost himself some money in his quest for long-term security. opting out now seems like a super bad financial move on his part. if he does resign with the spurs for 3 or 4 years, what are the chances that he plays bitterly and heartlessly, ‘tanking’ it so to speak…a la jerome james???

  • Tyler

    I’m expecting big things from Temple. I think he should be the 4th in our PG/SG guard rotation behind TP, Manu, and Hill. And based on what Pop’s said about him, I expect Temple to get the chance to showcase his skills – 10 -15 mpg maybe? Having a backup at both slots (and even at the SF in certain situations) is extremely valuable, and even moreso at his price.

    I think you can pencil in Temple and Hairston to the active, 12 man roster. And if RJ doesn’t resign (and assuming we don’t sign another FA), I think it’s going to be a dogfight between Anderson, Gee, Neal and Jerrels for the last two spots.

    Anderson, once healthy, should be able to make the roster with his shooting and scoring ability.

    Gee has the highest upside – already has above average NBA athleticism, but not a great shooter or defender at this point.

    Neal probably fills our biggest need, shooting, and he’s played well at the highest level in Europe. With more of what he did in the summer league, I could see him beating out Gee, and even Anderson.

    Jerrels is probably stuck in a numbers game. With 4 guys who can play the PG spot (TP, Hill, Manu, Temple) likely ahead of him, I can’t see the Spurs carrying 5 PG’s.

    Who knows what will happen. But with the youth and talent we have available, I don’t think letting RJ walk will hurt us much, if at all. I think we can make up for his production, while also slotting in a better defender in his place (Hairston and Temple are the first that come to mind).

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Just a heads up for you folks, Marc Stein tweets that Spurs and RJ should agree to a contract “soon.”

    http://espn.go.com/blog/TrueHoop/post/_/id/18437/latest-buzz-rj-shaq-t-mac-more

    We’ll have something here when it actually becomes official.

  • Jacob

    thanks andrew

  • SpursfanSteve

    I’m surprised nobody has shared this story on Peter Holt here yet, read it on PtR earlier today:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/15/AR2010071506285.html

  • DNITCH

    ESPN rumor that the sixers are open to trading Jason Kapono. That would solve the wing and 3 pt shooting issues. Any thoughts?

  • Tyler

    @ SpursfanSteve

    Great article!! I don’t think I could have any more respect for Peter Holt. Just a class act in every way and it’s no mistake that the rest of the organization conducts itself in the same way.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    @SpursfanSteve

    Good catch.

    I saw that story last week and meant to post something about it, but it got lost in the shuffle when I was finishing up the podcast and video.

  • Bentley

    NBA.com’s rankings of the top 8 teams in the West next year

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2010/07/20/the-lake-show-rolls-on-out-west/?ls=iref:nbahpt1

    I kinda laughed when I read this

  • Jacob

    I’m not sure what we could really offer the Sixers for Kapono… He would be a nice backup but he’s too expensive for a backup.

  • Hobson13

    Andrew A. McNeill
    July 20th, 2010 at 9:23 am
    “Just a heads up for you folks, Marc Stein tweets that Spurs and RJ should agree to a contract “soon.””

    This is good news. I was beginning to get a bit worried with the whole RJ situation. However, it would make sense that the Spurs had some sort of little agreement in place when he opted out of $15mil. With a more experienced RJ in the fold, I like our chances to really be a sleeper this next year.

    mikrobass3
    July 20th, 2010 at 8:18 am
    “what are the chances that he plays bitterly and heartlessly, ‘tanking’ it so to speak…a la jerome james???”

    Maybe I’ve pegged RJ wrong, but even if he got a bit shafted on his contract, I think he would play hard. RJ has been apart of very good Nets teams. He understands what winning is about and I think he understands what kind of opportunity he has here in SA. The fact that Pop has been working with him this summer tells me that both RJ and the Spurs are wanting this marriage to work out.

    Tyler
    July 20th, 2010 at 8:26 am
    “I’m expecting big things from Temple.”

    I find it amazing how the Spurs find these guys either in the draft or overseas or simply a guy like Temple who floated around until the Spurs nabbed him. I was looking forward to seeing him in the summer league before he got hurt. It appeared that he is improving his 3pt shot, which was a decent 35% for a rookie. Unless his rookie numbers were deceiving, I see no reason why he can’t be a 40% 3pt shooter with time and help from the coaching staff. I’m not sure how good he is as a distributor, but his defense sure looked good. A 6’6″ pg is a very intriguing prospect. With Hill, Parker, Manu, Temple, and Anderson we have 5 guys who can fill the 1 and 2 spots on the court and most of them can play both positions!! With continued growth from the 3 younger guys, this could be a nasty weapon come playoff time.

    “I think you can pencil in Temple and Hairston to the active, 12 man roster.”

    Agreed. Hairston is definite since the Spurs FO told him not to worry about playing in the SL. Temple is probably in now that Pop’s new man-crush has switched from George Hill to Temple.

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    July 19th, 2010 at 9:12 pm
    “My guess as the starters:

    Parker
    Manu
    RJ (holding a spot?!)
    Duncan
    Splitter

    My guess of rotation in order of minutes (not necessarily my preference):

    (6) Hill
    (7) Blair
    (8) McDyess
    (9) Bonner
    (10) Anderson
    (11) Temple
    (12) Hairston”

    That looks about right to me. On paper, this team looks a hell of a lot better than last year especially considering many of them will have been in the system one more year.

    All we hear about is Miami and LA in all the NBA news. However, I think we can really do some damage if our young guys can continue to grow over the course of the year. Six of the twelve players you mentioned are between 21 and 25 yrs old. Man, this team is much younger than what we’ve had in the past. It’s clear that rebuild mode (or whatever you want to call it) is here in full force.

  • BayAreaSpursFan

    Great article SpursfanSteve.
    If RJ resigns will the Spurs be able to use him in a package deal to get another player? Im sure a team would like to have RJ, Bonner and RMJ. Is this a possiblity?

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    @BayAreaSpursFan

    I’m pretty sure there won’t be any restrictions on moving RJ (if / when he re-signs) and Bonner because they are re-signing. If they were new free agent signings I believe there’s a waiting period before you can trade them.

  • BayAreaSpursFan

    Thanks for the Response Andrew.

    If this happens is there a player out there that the Spurs would like to have and make an offer for a trade?

  • Jim Henderson

    doggydogworld
    July 20th, 2010 at 5:32 am

    Okay, but in practical terms, how many guys are usually on the Spurs bench, including “undressed”, before the start of a game? 12,13..?

    “You can dress a different 12 every game if you want.”

    That’s great, but obviously that’s not typical. Generally one’s going to have the same 12 dress every night. The first 9-10 probably can expect to see fairly regular minutes. The last 2-3, maybe more occasional spot minutes, particularly during times of injury to one of the first 9-10. We appear to have 12 guys (including RJ?) that I could see dressing just about every night. Can you think of any realistic alternative scenario?

    Easy B
    July 20th, 2010 at 5:18 am

    “Tiago no doubt will get more confidence and minutes as he earns more time on the court…like all other rookies had to.”

    Just remember, Splitter is FAR from your average rookie. He’s 25 years old, with several years of high-level European professional experience. Also, I think the idea of “learning the system” is a little overblown, particularly in the case of veteran players. RJ’s problems were more frustration with adjusting from a more up-tempo/transition 1st/2nd option type situation to a more half court/spot-up 4th option type situation. We need Splitter more for defense, whether paired with Duncan, McDyess, Blair, or Bonner. At the start, on the offensive end, he just needs to learn the basic screen & pick & roll options, and crash the offensive glass. We could start McDyess or Blair, but I’d be just as open to throwing Splitter into the fire from the get-go. The more playing time he gets, the faster he’ll learn. We’ll need for him to be as sharp as possible by the time the playoffs roll around.

    DNITCH
    July 20th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    “ESPN rumor that the sixers are open to trading Jason Kapono. That would solve the wing and 3 pt shooting issues. Any thoughts?”

    Since Kapono is the #1 active career 3-point shooter (44%), 54% in two playoff appearances, and is deadly in spot-ups, I’d love to do that trade. I’d offer McDyess (or Bonner, if they’d want to assume his 4-year contract!) & Gee for Kapono, and then sign Amundson with our 2.4 mil. MLE.

    Parker, Hill
    Manu, Anderson
    RJ, Kapono, Hairston
    Duncan, Blair, Bonner
    Splitter, Amundson

    Temple

  • Jim Henderson

    The only thing about Kapono is that he is also not very versatile. In particular, he’s not the greatest defender in the world. However, backing up RJ for 15-17 mpg might just give us the excellent floor-spacer we need at the 3-spot, particularly in match-ups where the opposing team’s SF is not unusually quick (Kapono has below avg. lateral quickness). Also, he could provide the spark we need in the playoffs.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    Via Jeff McDonald’s twitter feed:

    “Jefferson will re-sign Tuesday with Spurs”
    http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/Jefferson_will_re-sign_Tuesday_with_Spurs_98860444.html

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    July 20th, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    “However, I think we can really do some damage if our young guys can continue to grow over the course of the year.”

    We could, but Temple, Hairston, & Anderson still haven’t really shown sufficient production at the NBA level yet. We can hope they will soon, but it’s far from guaranteed.

    Blair & Splitter are our biggest hopes to make a real impact on the team this year. We have to hope for the best there as well.

    We do have some decent young players right now. Lets just hope they’re ready to take it to the next level. That’s what we really need, plus an experienced playoff 3-point shooter that has produced before, and the ENTIRE team picking up the “D” to another level. We need major commitment on that end of the floor, or we won’t make the WCF’s. There’s not only LA, but the Rockets could be VERY good this year.

  • Jim Henderson

    Here’s a guess:

    RJ signs a 4-year deal worth 28 million.

  • Dr. Who

    It’s a shame the terms aren’t disclosed. Very curious about this. Perhaps 4 years with the 4th being a team option? Please nothing more than 3 gauranteed!

  • Dr. Who

    Is RJ going to hold an hour long special on ESPN announcing this decision????????? :)

  • Jim Henderson

    By the way, it looks like Barnes deal with Raptors is dead.

    http://hoopshype.com/rumors.htm

    Not enough $. Where does he go? Bulls, Cavs, Celtics…? SPURS?!?

  • Jim Henderson

    By the way, it sure looks like Riley is trying to take a page out of Jackson’s book, building from scratch a team pretty similar to the team that began their first three-peat in 1990-1991: the Chicago Bulls.

    Wade >>>>Jordan
    James>>>>Pippen
    Bosh>>>>>Grant
    Ilgauskas >>>Cartwright
    Chalmers>>>Armstrong
    Miller>>>>>Paxson
    Haslem>>>>Perdue
    Anthony>>>King
    Jones>>>>>Hodges
    Magloire>>>Williams

    The problem is, the Heat don’t have Michael Jordan. Also, the Jordan/Pippen fit was more like a glove than the Wade/James pairing will likely ever be. For all their offensive talents, it was often the relentless “D” by Pippen & Jordan that stirred the Bull’s drink. Can Wade & James duplicate that effort? Well, that’s a tall task. And what made MJ & Scotty such a great pair was the way they complimented each other on the court, not that they were the greatest buddies off the court. There were NO passes/excuses on the court because they were good friends off the court. Winning was the most important thing in their relationship, and accountability ALWAYS had an edge to it.

  • Bushka

    I love Kaponos skill set. I worry about his lack of aggression in terms of shooting.

    For a guy that is ridiculously gifted he is not renowned for pulling the trigger often. Reminds me heaps of Mike Miller.

    In Toronto Kapono had the opportunity to basically shoot a heap more than he had in Miami and he never took it.

    That said the Spurs would probably suit him down to the ground because we all know that if there is one thing Pop does well it’s make ppl be aggressive with their shot or they sit. I.E Mr. Divisive Matt Bonner.

    Wtf were Toronto thinking with Barnes? How do you not know that you don’t have the cash and Orlando cant sign and trade him?

  • Jim Miller (jimjule)

    Most of the above mentioned roster possibilities stress a need for a backup for Jefferson at the small forward spot. I think, Gee, Ginobli, and maybe even Anderson can fill that need. Last year the Spurs were in need of a quick taller player, who can play the 3 or 4 spot. Jefferson was often called upon to be the four and he is too short. I was very impressed with Wilkerson in the summer league action. At 6’8″ he is fairly quick, showed surprising ball handling skills and good athleticism. He played decent defense around the rim and has respectable hops. I think he might be a better prospect the Gist, who I thought looked lethargic before he injured himself. I don’t think he will make the team, but Wilkerson might be a different story. He also might be able to back up at the small forward spot. The Spurs could still use another strong rebounding defensive center.

  • Hobson13

    Jim Henderson
    July 20th, 2010 at 12:50 pm
    “We could, but Temple, Hairston, & Anderson still haven’t really shown sufficient production at the NBA level yet. We can hope they will soon, but it’s far from guaranteed.”

    Of course. The only things in life that are guaranteed are death and taxes. One advantage the Spurs have over the Lakers is potential. With the Lakers, you know what you will get. They are an excellent team of veterans that have by and large, reached their potential. The Spurs, on the other hand, have many more younger talents which can improve over the course of the year. Maybe the youngsters grow and maybe they don’t, but it will be interesting to see what the final product is in April and May.

    “Blair & Splitter are our biggest hopes to make a real impact on the team this year.”

    I would also add Hill to this list. I doubt he grows the in his third year as much as he did in his second, but I expect him to experience some growth this next year. I would bet his improvement will come in the area of 3pt shooting.

    “That’s what we really need, plus an experienced playoff 3-point shooter that has produced before, and the ENTIRE team picking up the “D” to another level.”

    No doubt. We could still use an extra 3pt shooter and definitely need to pick up the team D.

  • Jim Henderson

    Hobson13
    July 20th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    “No doubt. We could still use an extra 3pt shooter and definitely need to pick up the team D.”

    Rumor has it that Philly is open to trading Kapono (http://www.prosportsdaily.com/comments/sixers-open-to-moving-kapono-389686.html). They’re too top-heavy at the wing, and Kapono’s got one year left at 6.6 mil. per. Plus, I think Philly, under Doug Collin’s, is looking to be a running team that has the versatile athletes necessary to create turnovers & burn opponents in the open-court/transition game. Kapono does not fit that style, and the fast pace would merely accentuate his weaknesses defensively.

    Earlier on this thread, I suggested that we make Philly the following offer:

    McDyess (or Bonner, if they’d want to assume his 4-year contract!) & Gee for Kapono, and then sign Amundson with our 2.4 mil. MLE.

    Parker, Hill
    Manu, Anderson
    RJ, Kapono, Hairston
    Duncan, Blair, Bonner
    Splitter, Amundson

    Temple

    Amundson would help us defensively, and Kapono is about the best shooter we could possible get to back-up RJ (#1 active career 3-point shooter (44%), 54% in two playoff appearances, and is deadly in spot-ups), and could give us some firepower & floor-spacing off the bench for about 15-17 mpg. What do you think about that?

  • Henry

    RJ should be more familiar with Spurs system and more consistent this coming season. Go Spurs Go!!!

  • SG20

    Does Duncan’s contract expire at the end of this season? I think it expires after teh 2011-2012 season, but I’m not sure. Anyways, I think te Spurs FO should try to sign Amundson, or Shaq with the rest of the MLE. No one seems to be interested in Shaq, Atlanta is, but they can’t afford him because of there stupid decision to sigh Johnson to theat 124 mil. maz contract.

  • http://48minutesofhell.com Andrew A. McNeill

    @SG20

    Duncan’s contract expires after the end of the 2011-2012 season.

  • Hobson13

    “Amundson would help us defensively, and Kapono is about the best shooter we could possible get to back-up RJ”

    That would definitely be a worthwhile trade. Kapono, as you said, is not a great defender. However, he would only play 15-18 min/game and perhaps the rim defending duo of Duncan and Splitter can make up some of his defensive slack. Kapono is definitely one of the elite (if not THE elite) 3pt shooters in the league.

    From a Philly point of view, it might be tempting to take on a veteran like McDyess if they could get a promising young guy like Gee. This would definitely be an interesting trade, if you ask me. The loss of Bonner or Dyess would be largely offset if we could get our hands on Amundson. I haven’t heard anything about the FO pursuing him, but it would make sense if they did.

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  • rob

    “He wants to defend the basketball. I don’t have to convince him,” Popovich said. “He’s smooth, he can shoot the three, he’s willing to pass, so I think he’s a young player who’s got a really good future ahead of him.”

    Translation:… He’s what I’ve always expected TP to do while running the point.

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