The San Antonio Spurs were up 16 points on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the third quarter of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, and had been putting on a clinic on the young bucks from OKC led by MVP candidate Tony Parker.
But that won’t stop Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich from still demanding the best from TP.
Parker and the Spurs had let the Thunder cut into the Spurs’ lead which led to Pop calling a timeout and lash out at Parker.
TP would go on to finish the game with a team-high of 34 points and lead to the team to their 20th win overall but what should stand out about the video clip above is Popovich’s approach with his All-Star guard.
Tony has been in the league for a while now, has won three NBA titles, but yet that doesn’t stop Pop from continuing to expect perfection from the leader of the team. The message sent to the rest of the team was quite simple – if he can rip into the star of the team, then everyone should be on notice. No one is treated differently, even the Spurs’ star. Something Tim Duncan went through during his prime years.
It is this approach with his players that makes Pop the best coach in the league. He wasn’t trying to embarrass TP, he was simply coaching. You may see this from Celtics’ Doc Rivers but I highly doubt Eric Spoelstra will do this to LeBron James or Dwayne Wade or Mike Woodson would lash out at Carmelo Anthony during a timeout on national TV during the playoffs.
This moment during Game 2 sums up what sets Pop apart from the rest of the NBA coaches. This is why he is a winner, a lock for the Basketball Hall of Fame, get the best from his players and why San Antonio is on pace to win their fifth NBA crown in franchise history.
And what made this moment even more special was how the two interacted after the tongue-lashing. After the timeout, Pop had his arm around TP, gave him some last minute directions, and it was simply water under the bridge for them both. Even during the postgame interview with TNT, TP simply said Pop’s tirade was no big deal while Pop showered Parker with praise in his postgame conference.
There is much other NBA coaches and star players can learn from this moment between Parker and Pop.