And doesn’t he, and his Spurs staff, look thrilled to become only the seventh coach all-time to win multiple Red Auerbach trophies? He just loves getting a chance to talk about how great his team is and what’s made him the coach he is today. That is the definition of a perfect Gregg Popovich afternoon. Hopefully someone asked him about his keys to the game.
Just kidding, except about the Coach of the Year award stuff, which is very true. According to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pop beat out Tom Thibodeau, Frank Vogel, Lionel Hollins and Doc Rivers for this year’s award on the strength of a 50-16 record, which is the 13th straight season that the Spurs have won 50 or more games. (Plus, the team won the equivalent of 61 games during the last lockout (1998-99), which is the last time they didn’t tally 50 in a season. Plus the year before that they won 56 during the 1997-98 season, which means it’s really 15 straight seasons with 50 or more wins and now my brain is melting.)
The Spurs finished this year tops in offensive efficiency (110.9 points per 100 possessions) and tied for 10th in defensive efficiency (103.2 per 100) — joining the Thunder, Bulls, Pacers and Heat as the only teams to finish Top 10 in both categories — all while Manu Ginobili played 34 games and Tim Duncan played the fewest minutes of his career. He coaxed an MVP caliber season out of Tony Parker, made Boris Diaw, Stephen Jackson and Danny Green relevant in 2012, and presided over the only three double-digit winning streaks of the season. A shortened season, which you may remember, was supposed to be murder on old teams like the Spurs.
Needless to say, Gregg Popovich is a very deserving winner of this season’s Coach of the Year. That’s exactly why we picked him in our awards show a week ago. Congratulations to Gregg Popovich and the Spurs. I’m sure the celebrations along the River Walk are already being planned.