Spurs head coach and legend Gregg Popovich doesn’t go in for a lot of chit-chat with reporters. (He’s especially ornery during those mid-game Q&As the NBA requires coaches submit to.) But Tom Tolbert is Pop’s kind of guy — a likeable, talkative ex-NBA player who did seven years of service in the league. So Popovich sat with Tolbert at KNBR in San Francisco for almost a half-hour and talked hoops. That’s like Dave Chappelle telling you the secrets of comedy. You listen. Popovich has seen basketball’s evolution — his first title team in 1999 shot about 10 threes a game; the 2014 champion Spurs shot 21.4 threes a game.
In talking about how the three-pointer has changed the game — and a big man’s altered role in the new style — Popovich essentially explained exactly why the Spurs brought in LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge is a mid-range jumpshooter, not a three-point guy (though he shot a career high % from three last year). But at 6’11” Aldridge fits this Popovich description perfectly: a big guy, Popovich told Tolbert, “better be somebody good enough that he commands a double so it can get kicked, and moved, and you can penetrate or pitch for the threes.” The Spurs and their three-point assassins have found their man.