Popovich previously won the award in 2003 when the Spurs won their second of four championships. This season was a bit different as he was no longer able to simply lean on Tim Duncan and defense. Popovich has created another contender with a supporting cast of rookies and many unknown key players. He also has stars like Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.
The season didn’t start off so hot as the Spurs started off 12-9, but after the Spurs lost only seven more games the rest of the season.
”If you can draft David Robinson and follow that up with Tim Duncan, that’s a couple of decades of very, very possible success unless you just screw it up,” Popovich said. ”So it’s hard to take credit when circumstances have gone your way so consistently.”
Popovich received 77 first-place votes. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau was second (27), Indiana coach Frank Vogel was third (7) and Memphis coach Lionel Hollins was fourth (6). Boston’s Doc Rivers and Denver’s George Karl each received a vote.
Popovich, who is also team president, has had to work with rookies like forward Kawhi Leonard, who became a starter by midseason.
”Pop has done a terrific job molding a mix of experience and inexperience,” Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said.
Team leader, Tim Duncan, has called this Popovich’s best season between managing minutes and integrating the newcomers in a lockout shortened season.
”Timmy just wants to get minutes,” Popovich explained. ”He’s just trying to ingratiate himself.”
Congratulations to one of the best coaches in the league. Pop is a legend and will surely be entrenched in the NBA Hall Of Fame whenever he decides to put down the clipboard.
The Spurs are looking to add a fifth ring this season, as they are currently up 1-0 against the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.