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Gregg Popovich on why Patty Mills didn’t play more last year: “He was a little fat ass”

Mar 27, 2014, 3:34 PM EDT

Gregg Popovich, Patty Mills AP

Gregg Popovich has reached the “I don’t care what people think” phase of his career… actually that might have started Day 3 of his tenure in San Antonio, but the coach is taking it to new levels lately.

Patty Mills has taken on a bigger role with the Spurs this season, in part because of Tony Parker’s injuries, but he has responded with the best, most consistent play of his career. He is averaging 9.8 points a game, is hitting 40 percent of his threes and is doing a good job running the Spurs offense.

He’s doing so well now, why didn’t Popovich play him more last year? Popovich answered that in a very Popovich way to the San Antonio Express-News.

“He was a little fat ass. He had too much junk in the trunk. His decision making wasn’t great, and he wasn’t in great shape. He changed his entire body. He came back svelte and cut and understood you have to make better decisions, point-guard type decisions. He did all those things better and he earned it. He’s been real important to us, obviously.”

Mills is in noticibly better condition this year, and any coach or player in any sport will tell you that you make much worse decisions when you are tired. Mills is earning the minutes, fitting in the system beautifully.

But Pop, that’s a little harsh.

  1. bucrightoff - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    What a legend. Gonna be a sad day when he retires (though sideline reporters disagree)

    • fanofthegame79 - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      I agree Buc. And I have to wonder how great it would feel to be able to say whatever you want without fear of repercussion!!

    • brookwell2013 - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:49 PM

      Spot on bucrightoff! Pop is da man!

  2. bobulated - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Booty don’t lie.

  3. spursareold - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Fatty Mills – -> Patty Thrills

  4. sellahh - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Used to call me fatso now you call me Castro.

  5. reydearmas - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Pop is a genius.

  6. primenumber19 - Mar 27, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    Greg popovich was a us spy! Don’t believe me, do the research!

  7. mickeyd5314 - Mar 27, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    He’s a great player…….love me some Spurs………!

  8. andreboy1 - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    the truth hurts

  9. urodaddy07 - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    This is no biggie. This is funny. But Americans are becoming so PC its nauseating. Pop is very refreshing

    • shuttaman1990 - Mar 27, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      This what I’m afraid, he might get fined for those comments after PC/softees or whatever group feels offended and starts speaking out.
      If stern was still here he probably would have fined him just for the heck of it.

      Lakers all day.

      • purdueman08 - Mar 28, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Coming from a resident of Pops hometown, I have enjoyed watching him flourish as a coach. He is old school and does it the right way. If more coaches were brutally honest like him, they would have so much more success like him. And stop being PC and just keep it real.

  10. elcapitanfiscal - Mar 27, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    That honesty.

  11. kb2408 - Mar 27, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    When you have a good relationship with your players you can say stuff like that without any backlash. I bet Mills would probably agree with Pop’s assessment.

  12. gmsalpha - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    I love it. He could have just said “Patty wasn’t in NBA shape last year and needed to work on his conditioning”. But it’s Pop, and he called him a “fat ass”, but followed it up with praise for how Patty turned it around and did what he needed to do. That’s why Gregg is easily one of the best two or three coaches in the league and his players love him. Great culture down there in San Antonio.

  13. kansacity88 - Mar 28, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    LMAO! Popovich is da man!!

  14. sportsfan18 - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:11 AM

    Truth is the defense for libel and slander…

    I know this isn’t that, but others saying this is harsh, not nice and others who are PC…

    Pop was right! When you are correct, have truth on your side… well the other side may take their butt hurt selves home…

    If you are right, you are right.

    WHY does everything need to be sugarcoated now?

  15. mattyheisman - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:13 AM

    You gotta call a spade a spade. I’m sick of coaches coddling grown ass men. He called it like it is and Mills reponded. Good for both of them

  16. granadafan - Mar 28, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Credit to Fatty Mills for taking the criticism to heart and changing his whole approach to his job. As with any job criticism, it’s up to you to change. If the coach/ manager didn’t care, the worker would be cut or fired. Now Patty Mills is seen as a reliable guy with a bright future instead of blowing up like Jamarcus Russell from the Oakland Raiders.

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