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Gregg Popovich says Golden State an anomaly, he’s fine staying big

Gregg Popovich

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gives instructions against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Golden State-style small ball is the hot trend in NBA team building.

Or, is it?

Not in San Antonio, where they have a big starting frontcourt of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol — big men, but ones who can space the floor with their shot. They’re versatile. And if you ask San Antonio Gregg Popovich that is the real secret to success in the NBA. And Jeff McDonald of the Express-News did ask him.

Take a look at the crop of strong young bigs coming into the NBA — Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid — and what you see is versatility. They are not just pound it inside, back-to-the-basket guys. They can step out and shoot, run the floor, and be dangerous in different ways on the pick-and-roll.

It’s great to be Golden State if you have the versatility of Draymond Green inside who can defend centers on one end and knock down threes on the other. It also helps the Warriors have Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson. They are the outlier. Nobody is going to be as successful as they are going small right now.

But there is more than one path to a title, and versatility — meaning the ability to beat teams a few different ways in the playoffs — is key.