Garrett Temple: 2010 coach’s pet
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.