Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 3/29/13
San Antonio Spurs' head coach Gregg Popovich answered questions from the team's fans on Spurs.com and they didn't hold back on asking him what was on their minds. The questions ranged from coaching to his current players on the roster. One of the interesting questions was about Aron Baynes and what he thought about him and what he expects him to bring this season. GP: We just expect him to start to learn the system. It’s tough to come in late in the season with what we do and know exactly how to operate, so, he’s just getting used to both the NBA and our system. That's exactly what Spurs fans should expect out of him too. There was really no big expectations from Aron Baynes, besides his name being somewhat similar to Batman's villain in the Dark Knight Rises. There'll be plenty of expectations next season for him with a small chunk of this season and training camp next season. His contract is a 2 year contract for with next year's salary being $788,872 and the qualifying offer after that at $1.1 million. The Spurs have plenty of time and Baynes has given them cap flexibility with his contract to not give him much pressure in contributing just yet. He was also asked about who could be a head coach from this team he has right now. While usually that goes to the point guard since he's the floor general, the answer isn't so surprising at the same time. GP: Well you know, we hope that everybody at some point makes a decision that’s right for them but most guys are smart enough not to get into coaching. It’s a tough business but you know, when I look at the team obviously the guys that seem to be most interested and have the greatest capacity for wanting to watch film and put practices together and have the tenacity to stick with it as a coach would probably be Manu Ginobili. But, he’s so competitive I think it would be difficult for him to become like a Michael Jordan coach. It would probably drive him crazy. Tim is too smart to do it and Tony has so many other interests that I don’t think he would want to do it so at this point there’s nobody like an Avery (Johnson) or a Vinny Del Negro or Monty Williams that jumps out at me and really shows a love for that side of it. This really isn't surprising for Spurs fans as Ginobili has shown the leadership on the floor as a coach when he handles the ball. He also gets on his teammates when they miss an assignment on any end of the floor like a head coach. There's one moment Spurs fans remember and that's Manu actually drawing up a play and running it successfully. It may have been just summer league, but the "coach" knew what he was talking about and what he expected from the defense. As the announcers joke, he's just about or more animated than Gregg Popovich. That might happen after playing for a coach for a few years, but he's also soaked in some information on how to coach. One question that has begged for an answer this season is the improving overall defense of the team. GP: It’s mostly focus and repetition. We made a commitment at the beginning of season in training camp that we have to become a better basketball team at the defensive end and through the teams focus and acceptance of that fact, we’ve repeated it over it over whenever we get time to practice this. They have become one of the top five defensive teams in the league rather than you know, 15th or 16th in the league like we were last year. This season, the Spurs are running the ball more on offense and having more possessions per games, but they've also been locking down opponents for the majority of the season. This is including minutes in blowouts and the Spurs' defense hasn't been shaky when Patrick Mills and other third stringers enter the game cold off the bench. As Popovich explained, it's due to the commitment of defense this season and the repetition of it during practice. It also helps that he now has Kawhi Leonard with one more season under his belt with a new comfort level. Danny Green has also been a good perimeter defender this season. These two along with Tiago Splitter have stepped up defensively and it's shown during games. To read the entire Spurs.com Mailbag, click HERE.
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