If you look at some of the other teams in the NBA, their coaching staff or front-office might have a familiar face or two if you are a San Antonio Spurs fan.
From ex-players to ex-coaches, the Spurs have produced several leaders who move on to get their own shot of success. Let’s take a look at a few and how they have panned out after leaving the Spurs.
Ferry played for the Spurs from 2000 to 2003. After lacing them up for the Spurs, he then worked in the Spurs’ front office from 2003 to 2005. Ferry was in charge of basketball operations and was a very active member of draft-day war-rooms.
In 2005, the Cleveland Cavaliers signed Ferry to a five-year deal to become their new General Manager. He proved he was willing to do what it takes to put together the best team possible to get LeBron James the help he needed to get to the NBA Finals.
Ferry added Mike Brown as a head coach in 2005 and then began to reshape the organization’s identity by adding depth to the Cavaliers’ roster. Mo Williams, Shaquille O’Neal, Anthony Parker, Leon Powe and Antawn Jamison are just a few players that Ferry brought to Cleveland.
The Cavaliers made it to two Eastern Conference Finals (2007 and 2009) and to the NBA Finals in 2007 where they lost in four games to the Spurs.
He recently resigned from the Cavaliers as G.M. of the Cleveland Cavaliers but he did have a measure success while he was there in the land of King (LeBron) James.
Brown was a Spurs’ assistant coach from 2000 to 2003.
After winning an NBA championship with the Spurs in 2003, he was hired by Rick Carlisle to be an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers in 2004. Brown helped the Pistons get to the Eastern Conference Finals. In 2005 Brown replaced then interim head coach of the Cavaliers, Brendan Malone.
After taking over, Brown led them to a 42-22 record and clinched the number four seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Cavaliers defeated the Washington Wizards in the first-round before losing in the second-round to the Detroit Pistons in a wild seven-game series battle.
In the 2006-2007 season, the Cavaliers earned the number two seed in the East and got a rematch against the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. Brown and the Cavaliers would get the better of the Pistons and make it to the NBA Finals to face the Spurs. Spurs fans know how that championship series ended.
Despite having the best record in the NBA in the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 NBA season, the Cavaliers never made it back to the NBA Finals.
Brown was released from coaching duties on May 24, 2010. He finished 272-138 coaching record (.663 winning percentage) in the regular season and finished 42-29 (.592 winning percentage) in the post season.
Williams played for the Spurs from 1995 to 1998.
When he retired from the NBA, Spurs’ coach, Gregg Popovich, brought him along to learn the ropes of coaching. From picking up sweaty towels, to watching video tape, Williams did all this for no pay to gain the experience and tap into the coaching knowledge of Popovich.
In 2005, Williams was hired by Nate McMillan as an assistant coach for the Portland Trailblazers. With Williams on the coaching staff, the Trailblazers would work to a 41-41 record, their best since the 2003-2004 NBA season. Despite key injuries which plagued the Trailblazers, the coaching staff, along with Williams, showed its grit by leading the team into the playoffs this past NBA season.
These are just a few of the many “students” to come through the San Antonio Spurs organization. Come back to Project Spurs next week for part II of the Spurs’ family tree.