Trey Lyles off to a good start with Spurs
Despite arriving in San Antonio this summer with some baggage from his first NBA stop, Trey Lyles has made a positive early impression on the Spurs.
A former lottery pick who earned a journeyman tag after failing to stick in Utah and Denver, Lyles, 23, has admitted to battling immaturity during his first two seasons with the Utah Jazz.
But the 6-foot-10 power forward has done nothing but impress the Spurs since they signed him to a two-year deal in July.
"He's solid, just a solid pro," coach Gregg Popovich said before Friday's game. "He's got a good all-around game and is a very serious professional. Just knows how to play."
Drafted 12th overall by the Jazz in 2015 but traded to the Denver Nuggets in a draft night deal two years later, Lyles engaged in some bridge burning when he complained after the trade about Salt Lake City and the "three-hour practices" of Utah coach Quin Snyder.
But Lyles, who was in the starting lineup for the final two preseason games, said he has a different attitude after growing up some in Denver.
"I feel like I have been professional the last two years of my career (with the Nuggets)," he said. "I had some stumbles my first two years, but I was young, so I have learned along the way. I will continue to do what I am supposed to do."
Guard Patty Mills said Lyles's ability to pick up the Spurs' scheme quickly has been the biggest surprise of the preseason.
"Really pleased with how Trey Lyles has been able to slide into the system so well so early," Mills said. "He's a player who can learn on the fly and adjust on the fly and his type of game suits the system we have had for so long."
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It's been an impressive showing by the Kentucky-ex considering the effects of a bout with pneumonia prevented him doing much 5-on-5 work early in training camp and forced him to sit out the first two exhibition games.
"It's been relatively easy for me to pick things up quickly, especially basketball," Lyles said. "I just need to see things done a couple of times and then run through it, and I pick it up pretty seamlessly."Memphis coach cut teeth with Spurs
First-year Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins is grateful for the lessons he learned early in his career with the Spurs.
Jenkins was head coach of the Austin Toros (now Spurs) in 2012-13, guiding the Spurs' developmental team to the 2013 G League Semifinals. He also served as an assistant coach with the club from 2008-2012 following an internship with the Spurs basketball operations department in 2007-08.
"The things that jump off the page (while I was with the Spurs) are how relationships are the epitome of just life in general," Jenkins said.
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Popovich has fond memories of Jenkins.
"He was sharp then and I think he's sharper now," Popovich said. "He was a hard worker, caught onto to things very quickly. Personable. Willing to take on additional responsibilities. Great way about him. Really happy for him."
In trying to grow a Spurs-like culture in Memphis, Jenkins said he is leaning on forward Kyle Anderson, who spent his first four seasons with the Spurs after they drafted him in the first round in 2014.
"Having good work habits is something San Antonio preaches each and every day, and Kyle is definitely someone who has lived it," Jenkins said. "He can not only lead with his voice, but by example."Admiral aids piano competition
Spurs great David Robinson, who practiced works by Beethoven with his portable keyboard during road trips, will serve as honorary chairman of the 2020 Gurwitz International Piano Competition in San Antonio.
Since its creation in 1983, the event has attracted leading pianists between the ages of 18 and 32 to the Alamo City. The 2020 event is set for Jan. 27 through Feb. 1 and will feature 12 pianists from China, Russia, Canada, Italy and the United States.
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The musicians will compete through four rounds, with the final round to be performed with the San Antonio Symphony.
"Music has been an incredibly important part of my family's life and I'm honored to support San Antonio's musical community with this effort," Robinson said in a release.
Anya Grokhovski is the artistic director and chief executive officer of Musical Bridges Around the World, the sponsor of the competition. She said Robinson's involvement with the competition will "elevate awareness" of the event on a "global stage."
"He attributes the art of piano as contributing to the man he is today," Grokhovski said.
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