Phil Johnson Talks Corbin/Popovich, Favors, and Hayward
When we were playing the San Antonio Spurs, I got into [watching] it a little bit. I kept hearing about how Ty[rone Corbin] was getting outcoached by [Gregg] Popovich every other minute. “It’s experience,” and this and that and over there. Well, I guess [Scott] Brooks just outcoached [Popovich] in this last series, huh? …
To me, it’s ridiculous. Yeah, there are some moves that you make, but to say game in and game out, four straight games, that you’re getting outcoached, that’s ridiculous. It does have a little bit to do with talent and who you have playing for you, and so that’s the part that bothers me some with the media…Popovich is obviously great at what he does and their organization is great and they have a great team, but to get outcoached every time you step out on the floor? I mean, it’s silly. I thought Ty did a good job of trying to adjust, but some of his players couldn’t make shots.
What do you think of Derrick Favors?
These are questions that I have and we’ll see. Everybody’s going off crazy about how great Derrick Favors is. These are the questions I have. How hard does he work? How devoted is he to his talent, and where’s he gonna take it? Now, obviously he has physical talent and he’s a good guy. The question is, to be great, you have to take that to a level in working out and developing your body and working on your skillset. There’s the question. To just go off and say, “Boy, he’s gonna be an All-Pro guy for ten years,” it’s gonna depend on what he does.
You can coach him all you want. He has to have that inner fire. Everybody says he’s a good guy and he works pretty hard. Let’s see where he goes with it. That’s what separates those guys. That’s what separate John and Karl, if you want to talk about old players. Karl Malone was the hardest, they were the hardest-working players on the team. They didn’t roll out of bed one morning and become Hall of Fame players. They worked at it. And so, if Derrick Favors wants to really put his heart and soul into it, he has so much potential it’s mind-boggling. He’s gonna be good, but how good? That’s the question I have.
What about Gordon Hayward?
I think he’s got tremendous talent, but I’m sure he really feels bad about the Playoffs, and those things happen, but he had some run after the All-Star break. I really think he’s going to be a very, very good player. I look at him as a multi-faceted player. I’m gonna say, he could average 14 or 15 [points] a game, and 5 rebounds and 5 assists type guy. That’s how good I think he’ll be…He’s a pretty good worker as well. We didn’t know that [before drafting him]. After having him part of the year, he went through a lot his first year. I just think he keeps getting better and better. (1280)