2 reasons the Spurs don’t need to move on from Gregg Popovich ASAP
There is no question that Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest head coaches to ever grace the NBA sidelines. The long-time San Antonio Spurs mentor was the mastermind behind one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history. He led San Antonio to five NBA championships and six Finals stints in 16 seasons and 22 straight appearances in the postseason from 1998 to 2019. But the Spurs haven’t been their same dominant selves since Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili rode into the sunset and Kawhi Leonard departed in 2018.
Now, the 72-year old is in the twilight of his career. However, instead of coaching a contender that could help him compete for a championship on the way out, Popovich is mentoring a squad full of young and developing talent. Coaching a 5-13 team currently near the bottom of the Western Conference standings isn’t the ideal way to end a career for a Hall of Fame coach like Popovich. Likewise, the Spurs probably don’t want their beloved mentor’s career to end with a losing team. Still, while San Antonio is already preparing for the post-Pop era, there isn’t a rush for the Spurs to move on from the 5-time NBA champion. Here are two reasons why.
Spurs and Gregg Popovich forever
1. The young guys will benefit from more time under Popovich’s tutelage
The Spurs have one of the younger teams in the NBA. According to NBA.com, San Antonio has an average age of 25.3, which is below the league average of 26.2. Majority of the roster is 25 years old and younger, which includes some of their promising young pieces such as Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Lonnie Walker IV, to name a few. Only Thaddeus Young at age 33 is over 30 years old.
With all the youth on this team, San Antonio should take advantage of whatever Popovich has left to give before they finally transition onto their next chapter. These young guys will benefit from soaking in all the knowledge they will get from the legendary mentor. Furthermore, being the hard-nosed disciplinarian that he is, Popovich should be able to instill winning habits on this young team.
2. Gregg Popovich seems to be embracing the challenge
Having been used to coaching All-Star caliber and veteran players, this is quite uncharted territory for the 25-year veteran. Still, despite the lack of winning, Gregg Popovich seems to be all in on taking this challenge of mentoring a young team.
The 72-year old doesn’t seem to be discouraged by all the losing and is still displaying that witty sense of humor he has always been known for. Popovich is also as engaged as ever on the sidelines. His approach to the game has always been the same and he continues to coach with passion and fire despite knowing he does not have a contender under his watch.
In connection with the previous point, the Spurs should be happy Popovich’s motivation has run dry. They should continue to be grateful that Pop did not pursue greener pastures and leave them for a more competitive team.