Former San Antonio Spurs defensive ace and current television talking head Bruce Bowen recently sat down for an interview while on a business trip in Argentina. Bowen opened up about his favorite opponents, his well-earned reputation as a dirty player, and offered his thoughts on the current Spurs.
Bowen relays a familiar criticism when it comes to Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady – despite their immense talent, they supposedly lacked the drive to achieve true greatness. Per the Express-News:
Speaking of defense, do you just cringe when you watch James Harden? “See, I don’t cringe, because I remember him in OKC. In fairness to James, yes, (his defense) has been terrible, but what are the principles in Houston? I’m very disappointed in their team concept. That’s what I don’t see. So, if there are no rules and regulations, how do you hold anyone accountable? Speaking to James about this, he’ll say it – “I know I have to do a better job.” But without any direction, without a coach saying, hey, we’re going to send this player baseline because that will be our best bet, it’s really tough. Defense is something you have to practice very day, especially rotations. We went over our rotations every day in all my eight years in San Antonio. You would think me, Tim, Tony and Manu all knew what we were supposed to do. But others don’t. They have to become as familiar as we were. That’s why I go back to principles. Go back to OKC and they’re playing the Lakers, he guarded Kobe pretty well. That’s why I say, what’s going on (in Houston) is about something else.”
Who did you enjoy guarding the most? “I’ll give you three. The competitors – Kobe (Bryant), Dirk (Nowitzki) and Michael Redd. Every single time I was going to play them, I had to be (on my game) because I knew they were going to be prepared and they wanted to keep me from every getting any momentum. Those three were the most competitive I can think of off the top of my head. Of course, there were times it was Ray Allen, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter. The latter two, Tracy might have been one of the most talented but he’d settle. He wouldn’t necessarily bring it the whole time. Vince, if he was more competitive, if he had the desire of Kobe, he could have been one of the all-time greats. But…he settled to a point where you accomplish a few things and that’s that.”