Hawks’ Budenholzer: Genuine concern for players is key lesson learned from Popovich

With a record setting influx of nine rookie head coaches heading into the fray this year, including two that just flew the San Antonio Spurs' coop in Mike Budenholzer and Brett Brown, many teams should look different this year.
 
Budenholzer, or coach Bud as he has been affectionately known around San Antonio for many years, has taken his talents to Atlanta.
 
Coach Bud worked for the Spurs for an impressive seventeen years and came away from his tenure behind coach Gregg Popovich with an appreciation for Pop's coach-player relationships above just about anything else.
 
Via SI.com:
 
"[The psychological aspect] is the most important thing in coaching," coach Bud remarked. "Watching those interpersonal relationships during my time with Pop, it's so obvious how important it is. It starts with having a genuine concern for players, not just on the court. Then you've got to follow that up with being direct and honest and having some humility. You've got to learn to laugh at yourself but also be willing to push them. Sometimes it's putting your foot on their throat and kicking them in the butt; sometimes it's putting your arm around them. Knowing when and how to do that hopefully comes naturally."
 
Considering coach Bud's comments, it's clear that the new Hawks head coach took a lot away from his time backing up one of the all-time greats in the NBA coaching ranks.
 
What is also crystal clear is Budenholzer has great respect for his mentor, and will very likely be trying to emulate much of what coach Pop has done with the Spurs in his new digs in Atlanta.
 
It will be a tough challenge for all nine rookie head coaches this year, but you almost have to expect coach Bud to transition to head coach without much trouble given his considerable pedigree gleaned from so many successful years in a top flight NBA franchise.
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