The San Antonio Spurs amaze me. The last time they won less than 50 games was 1999. That is INSANE. Sure they've had legends like Tim Duncan and David Robinson, they've had timeless anchors like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, they currently have the stoic Kawhi Leonard and resurrected LaMarcus Aldridge but the one constant who has made them unlike any other team throughout the years is Coach Pop. The man, the myth, the legend, his postgame interviews are enough to win me over, who knew so few words could be so entertaining. His grouchy yet playful personality and his willingness to speak his mind in the current political landscape is admirable, using his platform to address America's perception of privilege showed the level of emotional intelligence necessary to help players buy in to his proven system of success. Listen to his thoughts on players protesting during the national anthem:
Popovich the man? Incredible. Popovich the coach? A savant. How does one person sustain basketball success for such a long time? When we think of other coaches we think of a particular team they ran a certain way like D'Antoni's 7 seconds or less offence in Phoenix or the triangle with Phil Jackson, with Pop the adaptability his teams bring can only represent his "style" as smart basketball. Looking at the Spurs roster we see that almost anyone who buys in with San Antonio either has a revitalization take place (Rudy Gay) or shines as a previously unknown player (Jonathon Simmons). While these players shine they never seem to do it in a Jeremy Lin way where their individual play elevates the team, it's all about the role they fill in the pass first offence and commitment to defence. Always passing up good shots for great shots, making easy baskets and playing team defence isn't exactly flashy MVP style but the record shows it's effective. Just watch this:
Not your typical highlight right? No highflying athletic circus shots but pure basketball. This is a great example of how anyone who falls into the Spurs way can find their groove, you don't have to be a finisher like Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving when you find yourself staring at an unguarded basket for an easy layup. This is typical of Spurs basketball and the mastermind behind all of it is Greg Popovich who would win coach of the year every year if we weren't so used to him being the best. Watching Spurs basketball isn't exactly for the casual fan, you might feel bored by the lack of wow factor but if you want to see a team tactically defeat an opponent this is where you go. Who knows what that Spurs/Warriors series looks like with Kawhi on the court. As of now the spurs are rolling without him but it's scary to think the 2nd best two way player in the game is coming back soon. In the meantime they'll keep winning because they have the greatest coach in the game, coach Pop.