From Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich:

He’s a grown up. He’s a professional who really takes pride in what he does every day, (every) practice.

He came in and tried to learn the system quickly and asked a lot of questions. Even though he’s been in the league awhile, he was like new born in a sense. 

That professionalism engenders leadership and it engenders respect from other players. That was established very quickly. That’s one of the first things I noticed about him.


I always wanted to be a great player coming into the NBA. First coming in, I wanted to be on a team that was a winning team and help me learn how to win in this league. I gradually wanted to become a go-to guy. 

You just go out there and try to compete and try to make a play for your teammates.

On his desire to be a two-way player:

Just the will to win. Working out in the summer and getting in shape and getting my mind mentally prepared to do these things. That’s basically it.

From Gregg Popovich:

It’s about how good of a player you want to be. He has the ability to do what a Michael Jordan did at both ends, and I don’t mean he’s Michael Jordan. But you think about the best players in the league, they’re not two-way players. He wants to do that.


“One of Gregg Popovich’s secrets in plain sight has been the way he builds a bench and employs them and trusts them so much during the regular season that he can rest his starters so much and still win so many games. He doesn’t have better reserves than other teams, and he loses guys regularly. But his players abide by their system of play and he relies on them and trusts them. It’s a big part of coaching (and running any successful business), making your employees feel a part of the organization and success and trusting them and taking an interest in their fate. “


From his college coach Steve Fisher:

“If you’re around him like we were for two years, you saw the work ethic that he had and the competitiveness to where you knew that he was going to continue to get better.”

“I’ve never had a guy work the way he does when nobody is watching. He just wants to get in the gym, doesn’t want anybody to know. But he wants to be in that gym 24-7. And he’s in there to work on his game. He doesn’t just put in time. He’s working.”

“He truly is someone that has a fierce desire to get better. He’s going to be one who will not come in and be satisfied to sign a contract, then get another contract, be messing with the money. He’s going to want to be very good.”


“Once you have a whole group on the same page, each individual tends to play better.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich:  “He doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder or trying to make a statement, he’s just playing. He’s getting better all the time, and getting more confident. We’re getting him more and more room, and you’re seeing a young player blossom.”

More from Pop: “He stole it from Curry the other night, just took it from him and went down and dunked it, and his expression did not change. He didn’t raise his fist or look cool to the crowd or do any of this stupid-ass stuff. He didn’t do a thing. He just goes the other direction, like he’s bored to death. I love that about him.”

Tim Duncan on his teammate: “He’s not doing it the wrong way. He’s taking great shots and continuing to be unselfish, but he’s absolutely being aggressive. That’s what we need from him.”