You probably heard it before from former players and coaches who got their start with the San Antonio Spurs, when they reflect on their career, they almost certainly will thank San Antonio for allowing them their earn their first steps in whether it be in coaching or in the front office.
From Sam Presti, Mike Brown, Monty Williams, Avery Johnson and many more, it is plain to see the Spurs generate solid coaches and front office personnel that other teams love to tap into.
The Spurs are set to face the Los Angeles Clippers this Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs and former Spurs player and current head coach of the Clippers, Vinny Del Negro, will be facing his former team.
And like many others, Del Negro spoke on how he learned about fashioning a winning team in Los Angeles from his days in San Antonio.
“It was about changing the culture and doing things – a lot of things – that I learned in San Antonio, ironically. And that was all especially true in this season, when we revamped the whole roster – which needed to be done. The team is not built the way it needs to be right now, in terms of everything we had to give to get Chris (Paul).”
“I’m all about winning,” Del Negro said. “If that means I’ve got to get scrutinized for us to win, that’s fine. As long as we’re winning … “
Indeed Vinny has guided the Clippers to one of its few wining season in the team’s franchise with a loaded roster. The team won Game 7 on the road versus Memphis in the first round, earned the fifth seed in the West, and steadied the ship despite the loss of Chauncey Billups to injury and a banged up Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
Let’s face it, Clippers fans haven’t had much to be thrilled about for many years after dealing with many losing seasons but Del Negro has the team on the right path, thanks to the Spurs.
But of course, he will be going up against one of the best coaches in the league, Gregg Popovich, who made sure to congratulate the former Spur on the Game 7 win over the Grizzlies.
He started to scroll the messages, and there was a congratulatory text from Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. “Rick always calls me … and Doc [Rivers] … And Pop … “