On December 10, 1996, Gregg Popovich sat on the Spurs bench for the first time. So GM, he had decided to take the place of Bob Hill, and he did not yet know that he would become one of the greatest coaches in history by his longevity, his number of accumulated victories and of course his five titles of NBA champion. Twenty-six years later, and while his team is in the middle of a reconstruction phase, his players gave him a surprise victory in Miami.
“We won, and that’s what I appreciate the most” reacted Coach Pop’ about this “gift”. In 1996, Spurs had won 17 out of 64 games with Popovich in charge, and they would finish the season with 20 wins from 82 games. A few weeks after the end of the regular season, they will select Tim Duncan with the 1st choice of the Draft. We know next…
The pleasure of laying the foundations for a career
“The responsibility is really to try to create a foundation for everyone so that they can all have a career, in one way or another”, explains Popovich about his work as a trainer. “It doesn’t matter if it’s with Spurs or another team. They are all very young young people and they deserve this opportunity to be in an environment where they can learn and have a good basis to move forward. That’s where the fun lies.”
This night, in Miami, it was Devin Vassell with his two shots in “money time”, Romeo Langford with his career best or the Collins-Bassey pair in defense on Bam Adebayo who confirmed that there was enough talent. in San Antonio to pick up victories, and learn how to win. What arouse the admiration of Erik Spoelstra,
“I didn’t even show their record to our team” says the Miami coach. “It’s just too dangerous… They’re playing as usual… They’re really competitive and they play super fast whether it’s on the half-court or in the field. They do everything thoroughly. We have a lot of respect for Spurs for obvious reasons. Over the years, they develop good habits. Pop’ keeps these guys constantly ready and on alert. »