Eager to analyze some of the plays used by renowned coach Zelimir Obradovic to get easy baskets for his Panathinaikos team in Saturday night's preseason game, Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich was watching film with his morning coffee.
"Coach Obradovic may be the best coach in Europe at this stage and one of the best in the world," Popovich said. "He could easily be over here coaching an NBA team, in my opinion. I can't wait to watch the films and see some of the things they run because he does a lot of good things."
Thirteen-year veteran Brent Barry likened playing Panathinaikos to facing Phoenix, the NBA's fastest-paced team.
"All of a sudden, we're having flashbacks of playing the Suns," Barry said, "with guys setting pick and rolls all over and guys flying around. It's the way basketball was meant to be played. That's the beauty of the game: ball movement and player movement."
By season's end, expect to see a little bit of Obradovic's frenetic offense added to Popovich's system. That system has been a work in progress through the 12 years Popovich has been Spurs' head coach.
"The base is always there," Popovich said before the preseason game between reigning European champion Panathinaikos and the reigning NBA champions Spurs, "but we subtract from it and add to it. It could be something major. It could be a wrinkle. It could be a call out of a timeout or a change in how we run the basic motion, but it evolves every year.
"Sometimes it's based on players' advancements. Sometimes it's based on something they might do that we see and like, something that wasn't planned."