Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 10/23/12
While the San Antonio Spurs and coach Gregg Popovich didn't get a chance to see NBA Finals MVP LeBron James in their preseason visit to Miami on Saturday, Popovich knows enough of James to see that the all-star forward is improving after winning his first championship. While his fans might argue there's not much to improve on, Popovich told ESPN'S Miami Heat Index the James seems stronger mentally after having the pressure of winning a championship off his back. "He's so good already," Popovich said. "We all know what his skills are. He's a great passer, he can rebound, he can defend. But I think, if anything, he is maturing mentally in the sense that he is enjoying playing the game. He doesn't listen to talking heads (media critics) anymore -- or a lot less than when he first came in the league." Not surprisingly, James voiced his appreciation for Popovich's comments saying "Pop knows what he's talking about. That's why he's one of the best to ever coach this game." While the two are exchanging praises and pleasantries in the preseason, there's no doubting Popovich and the Spurs will have the Heat in their crosshairs when the season begins as the Spurs try to challenge for another championship while James and the Heat look to repeat. While Manu Ginobili said the Heat's additions this offseason, notably Ray Allen, give Miami enough talent to repeat, Tony Parker spoke on the challenges of repeating as champions. "It's hard to do it back-to-back. It's going to be the same thing for (Miami). They're going to go through the same process we went through. Every one you win, it becomes harder and harder. You have to make sure you don't skip steps. Do all the stuff that made you successful the first time, but even more that next year." It won't take long for the Spurs to get a chance to see the improved Heat team with James. The Spurs will be back in Miami on November 29 for their first of two games against the defending champs this season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tom Coughlin: Victor Cruz not expected to practice this week

Report: Redskins ownership won't let coaches bail on RG3

D'Angelo Russell: 'There's a lot of spoiled Lakers fans'

Terry Collins didn't challenge double out of fear of HR

Has Tim Lincecum thrown his last pitch for the Giants?

Jerry Jones is enthralled with ‘vintage’ Darren McFadden

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Three NFL head coaches were interested in Michigan job

Odell Beckham Jr. is not intimidated of Darrelle Revis

Chargers say Seahawks DE took cheap shot at Philip Rivers

Rex Ryan jabs Jets for passing on Martavis Bryant?

Jay Gruden backing down from support of RG3 as starter

Ukwuachu rape victim hires firm that prosecuted Winston

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

U.S. Open men's preview

U.S. Open women's preview

D'Angelo Russell zings Lakers fans

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker