San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is currently the longest tenured coach in the NBA, and for that matter, the longest tenured among MLB, NFL and NHL coaches.
However, 16 years and four championships later, Popovich has only won Coach of the Year once.
On NBA.com’s Hang Time Blog, several writers are weighing in saying Popovich is halfway to another Coach of the Year award.
Gregg Popovich in a close call over Doug Collins, just because it would &!#% off Popovich to have to go to center court to accept the award. OK, and because the Spurs remain near the top of the conference despite meshing youth with experience while overcoming the Manu Ginobili injury.
Starting the season with a team whose core is yet another year older, lost one of their best interior bigs, traded away a fan favorite for an unproven rookie and relying on a backup point guard who has been bounced around the league isn’t exactly the best “welcome back” package ever, but somehow Popovich was able to bring all those pieces together.
Then after losing Manu Ginobili, then T.J. Ford in early January, a loss that most expected would have the Spurs floundering at the bottom of the Western Conference, Popovich made personnel changes that allowed the Spurs to wade atop the Western Conference waters.
Now with Ginobili out again along with Splitter and Ford still recovering, Popovich gave up a winning streak by resting Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Sure it’s a move that has drawn criticism, but it’s also a move that gives the healthy members of his big three some extra rest heading into the all-star break.
And in about two weeks, when Parker and Duncan aren’t completely gassed when Ginobili and Splitter return, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the pundits celebrate Popovich’s move as just another brilliant adjustment, similar to when he puts X’s and O’s up on his grease board during a timeout prior to a critical possession.
No one knows what the rest of the season holds, but for Spurs fans, it’s easy to get excited about seeing what Popovich will do with that aging core, unproven rookie, journeyman backup and the rest of the Spurs from here on out..