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Greg Popovich advises Earl Watson to be like John Wooden, not like Pat Riley

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Winning like either one would be fine.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson and Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs talk sometimes. Not before games though, because as Watson puts it, “I don’t want to take away my competitive nature.”

On Tuesday morning, Watson shared with The Doug and Wolf Show on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports, some advice that Popovich recently shared with him.

“Early in the season I was having, like, two hour practices. Probably two hour and twenty minutes,” Watson said. “I talked to Pop, he called me, and he kind of got on me as if I was one of his players. He asked me was I trying to be Pat Riley? I started laughing, I was like ‘what do you mean?’ He was like ‘you have to get everything you need to get done in an hour twenty, or 45 minutes.’ So, an hour twenty to hour for practice, 45 minutes for shootaround.”

“He was like, ‘thought you spent a lot of time with Johnny Wooden.’ I said ‘I did.’ He’s like, ‘Well listen to coach Wooden, what did he practice?’ I was like, ‘an hour twenty.’ He’s like, ‘yes, if you don’t get it done in an hour twenty, they’re not going to get it. Attention span leaves, focus leaves.’ He’s like ‘you have to be real efficient in practice.’”

It’s a good interview, I wouldn’t lie to you. Alex Len, Dragan Bender, minutes to vets, minutes to the young guys, and the plan for the future are all discussed. Give it a listen.