It was a bit surprising to see the San Antonio Spurs extend the contract of LaMarcus Aldridge considering how out of place he has looked in their offense and the trade rumors suggesting his eventual departure.
But the Spurs are apparently taking a new approach with how they utilize the All-Star big man and head coach Greg Popovich admits his mistake in trying to change him when he first arrived in San Antonio.
“I did talk with him several times during the summer. He just didn’t feel comfortable. It’s 98.75 percent on me, and whatever’s left, because I can’t subtract that much, on him” Popovich confessed via Michael C. Wright of ESPN.
“But I tried to change him. I thought back to when Timmy [Duncan] came, and people said, ‘What are you going to do with Tim Duncan?’ I said, ‘Nothing. I’m just going to watch him for about six months, see what he does. He’s a pretty good player, and if there’s something I think I can add, then I’ll do it.’
With LaMarcus, he got here and on Day 1, I said, ‘OK, you’re going to do this, and you’re going to do this pump fake.’ I tried to change him. I tried to make him a different player, and I think that really affected his ability to feel comfortable and confident on the court.
And we took care of that, basically by me letting him know that we were going to do it differently, and that it was on me, not him.”
Allowing Aldridge to just play his game may pay huge dividends for the Spurs as the season rolls on.