Gregg Popovich only watches game tape for one ‘ridiculous’ NBA player
Gregg Popovich has been around the block a time or two, to say the least, so he often approaches typical coaching practices a bit differently than his colleagues.
In fact, the San Antonio Spurs head coach admitted this week he doesn’t really watch game tape this early during the NBA season … except when it comes to one team, who boats a player whom Pop referred to as “ridiculous.”
And that player would be Houston Rockets superstar James Harden.
Pop said he doesn’t watch game tape on the opponent this time of year. “Except for the Rockets. Harden is ridiculous.”
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) December 23, 2016
Popovich rightfully deems Harden “ridiculous,” and the numbers the offensive dynamo is putting up this season support the assertion. Harden is averaging 27.8 points, 11.7 assists and 8 rebounds per game while shooting at a 43.7 percent clip.
When Harden goes up against the Pop-coached Spurs, his stats remain remarkably consistent with his season averages (26.7 points, 11.7 assists, and 11 rebounds).
However, in three games against the Spurs this season, Harden is only shooting an alarming 16 percent from the field. Even more telling, perhaps, is how the Rockets sport a 1-2 record against the Spurs this season following Tuesday’s 102-100 loss.
Popovich’s comments about only watching Harden game tape jibes with what he said earlier this week when asked what makes the Rockets more difficult to defend than most NBA teams.
“Oh no, it’s a breeze, especially (James) Harden,” Popovich said, via the Houston Chronicle. “Anybody can guard him, c’mon. Is it difficult? Did you stay up all night thinking of that question?”
Classic curmudgeonly Pop response right there. Sarcastic but completely on point.
For what it’s worth, the Rockets and Spurs don’t square off again until March 6, which gives Popovich plenty of time to watch tape and marvel at the “ridiculous” Harden.