When compare the roster of the San Antonio Spurs to every other team in the NBA, there's one thing that easily stands out. A whole lot of international players...and Tracy McGrady! To be exact, a league record nine of 15 guys on the Spurs' squad were "raised and trained outside of the United States," according to ESPN. And this isn't by accident. Head coach Gregg Popovich prefers it this way.
You see, it's all part of Popovich's master plan because he believes that American players just "don’t work as hard as foreign players.”
Consider Pop’s brutal assessment that foreign players are “fundamentally harder working than most American kids,” and it’s no wonder the Spurs want to avoid the fate of so many NBA teams
A few months ago, Pop was scouting an opponent. He won’t say which one. On video, Pop saw an international player wide open for a shot, with a confused look on his face. That’s because his point guard, an American, was dribbling in circles. “It has to be a really different experience for him,” Pop says, laughing. “ ’Where am I? Is this is a different game? Is it a different sport?’ ”
So, while teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets fight for laid-back Dwight Howard's services, Pop would prefer guys from the U.S. Islands (Tim Duncan), France (Nando De Colo, Boris Diaw, Tony Parker), Argentina (Manu Ginobili), Brazil (Tiago Splitter), Canada (Cory Joseph) and Australia (Patty Mills, Aron Baynes).