San Antonio Spurs’ Matt Bonner doesn’t get to do a lot of big-time interviews, but every time I read or hear one, he always comes off as being such a charismatic guy. He’s funny and well spoken, exactly the type of person who’s fun for a journalist to talk to.
He did an interview with Sports Illustrated over All-Star weekend during a charity event in Orlando that was no exception. Zach Lowe started off asking Bonner how it felt to be snubbed from the 3-point shootout again. Bonner said it’s because he’s not cool, which brought him back to his grade school days when he was kind of a geek.
“Well, my penchant for math. I was on the math team. It started in elementary school, when I placed second in the city of Concord, New Hampshire, crypto tournament. It’s a mental-math game. It’s really fun. I advise anyone who hasn’t heard of it to go to any local science store and pick one up.”
The two also joked around about Bonner’s love for sandwiches before they got into anything really serious.
Bonner was asked how the Spurs were able to do so well without Manu Ginobili. He says that everyone is stepping up in Manu’s absence and playing great.
“It’s by committee. We have a lot of guys on our team who can go off on a given night, and that makes us really difficult to guard. And Tony Parker has been incredible this year. He’s really stepped up.”
He also talked about how complicated the Spurs playbook is and how they’ve simplified things in recent years. They got to talking about Tiago Splitter and why he and Tim Duncan don’t play many minutes on the court together. Bonner says it’s just how the rotation is.
Bonner then went pretty in-depth about his post defense. That’s been one area of his game that he’s struggled with at times but Coach Pop is a big defensive guy and has pushed him to get better.
“I look at who I’m matched up against and really focus in on their personnel report, see what their strengths and weakness are, and just try to outsmart them — force them to beat me with their weaknesses. If a guy likes to go over his left shoulder for a jump hook, make him do something else. If he wants to face up and shoot a jumper, get in on him and make him drive. If he wants to drive, back off and make him beat you with a jumper.”
Definitely check out the whole interview, it’s well worth a read.