Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 at 10:05 am  |  63 responses

Tim Duncan: Gregg Popovich is the NBA’s Coach of the Year

Obvious bias aside, it’s kind of difficult to quibble with Tim Duncan’s choice for coach of the year this season. Per the Express-News: “Wrapping up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference moved Spurs captain Tim Duncan to do some campaigning for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for Coach of the Year. ‘Is it time to start the chant?” he said after Monday’s 124-89 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at the AT&T Center that clinched the top spot in the West. ‘Coach of the Year, Coach of the Year.’ Duncan declared the work Popovich has done this season the best he has observed in any of his 15 seasons playing for him. ‘I really think so,’ he said. ‘He’s put so many guys into our system. We’ve been playing with two very young guys starting for us the entire year; getting all those guys acclimated on the fly with very little practice time. All those things, he’s done an unbelievable job with it. Yeah, it’s probably the best job he’s done thus far. Obviously, not only the coaching job he’s done, but the rotation he’s given us. He’s kept us fresh. He’s found ways to rest guys when he can. I think our minutes are as low as anyone, and we’re still No. 1 in the West.’ Duncan’s minutes are at a career low, 28.2 per game, and he is one of 10 current Spurs who average at least 20 minutes per game on the deepest roster of Popovich’s 16 seasons as head coach. ‘All the credit to Pop for making a season that could have been very bad and very tough into something very manageable,’ Duncan said.”

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Cheryl

    Totally agree. It would be a crime if any one else wins COY. A crime.

  • http://www.huwlhopkins.com #6marjon

    he should get slam’s vote

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    Doc Rivers…y’all too illuminati.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    How is it a crime if anyone else wins? Other than missing Manu for a few games the Spurs have been completely healthy this year. So it would be a crime if a coach that coached a fully healthy, championship caliber team to the best record in the west didn’t win? Pop hasn’t been forced to make any real adjustments this year. No adversity that he had to coach through. And very few close games where his game calling talents have had to be put to use. Are you that impressed with him resting players that you don’t think any other coach is even close? Thibs deserves it again and it would be a crime if he doesn’t get it. A crime.

  • bike

    Yes! Pop is the best coach ever. If he had shaq and kobe, there wouldve been no bickering , just banner hanging. I’d love to see the spurs win it all this season. Jack is back

  • ab40

    I have no idea if this team is gonna steamroll through the postseason or get ousted in the first or second round like the pau gasol grizzlies.
    And that’s what makes it so much fun. From saturday it’s all nba playoffs for weeks on end. Can’t wait.

  • DreJayAre

    Thibs is it. Bulls lost like 80 some odd starters games to injury, and still will most likely have the best record in the NBA. Thibs was playing big minutes to some dude named John Lucas III and winning anyway.. against the Heat. Sorry Pop, can’t see you doing that.

  • Bt

    The coach of the year award is a joke. Phil Jackson and popovich would have at least 5 each if it actually went to the best coach in the league each year.

  • Pais

    @Diesel – at the start of this season did you honestly imagine that the spurs would be where they are now, with the 2nd in the league in points per game? And are the Bulls right about where you expected them to be while playing in a weaker conference? The Bulls success despite Rose missing roughly a third of the season is a testament to the team they put together last season. We knew they were good, we knew they were deep we just didn’t know that they were still really good without Rose. Thibs has proven himself to be a heck of coach and had another great regular season, but I’ll take Pops by a slim margin. Obviously Doc is right up there as well.

  • FnF

    I think people put too much emphasis on best record when giving out individual awards. The Spurs were healthy and have literally been through this before when they won their 1st championship*. Frank Vogel should be in the discussion to win it. No top flight superstar yet a top 5 record in the league, also managing new faces sans training camp. The Spurs & Bulls were tops in the league last year, nothing changed this time around, they still fielded the same teams. The Pacers took a noticeable step forward.

  • shutup

    Newsflash the Spurs have a great shot at the best overall record right now tied with the bulls and imo have the easier of the two games left, they also have 3 of the longest winning streaks this season and the first two only came to an end when TP and Duncan sat out. Also keeping this aging team healthy and on the court is another testament to his great coaching ability.

  • slamfan4life


  • tgrace

    Should be either him or Doc. Pop probably deserves it more.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    @ab40 or last years spurs

  • FnF

    Nevermind, I see now… only coaches with nicknames can be considered for the award.

  • Mike Mihalow

    Agreed with Duncan.
    And Diesel, Manu’s missed most of the season, not “a few games”. I can’t bother reading anything else you said, because I already know that its all worthless now.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    *Half The Season* – You’re both wrong.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Be honest, you read it all.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Thibs doesn’t deserve it again. The Bulls have had the WORST OFFENSE IN THE NBA IN APRIL. They had the easiest schedule in the NBA in the games Rose has been out. Giving Thibs COY just because his team still beat worse teams despite not having it’s best player is asinine. The Bulls are healthier this year then they were last year. Thibs still deserves consideration for COY, but he hasn’t been the best coach. Don’t let losing Derrick Rose for twenty something games cloud your judgement. The teams play suffered just like it should have without him, they were just fortunate enough for him to get hurt during the easiest part of the year for them. — That and his value to the team is a little overrated.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Bulls haven’t been healthier then last year, I meant *just as unhealthy*

  • http://www.slamonline.com Red

    Why not Thibs? How hasn’t he been the best coach? They beat the Heat twice without Rose o_O the team carried on without him & didn’t suffer as bad as you’d expect.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Bulls are Second Worst in April my bad. I just didn’t even think about the Bobcats. But that is a fact, the Bulls offense has been that bad this month.

  • Sarah

    It’s funny how no one calls the Spurs a real “championship caliber” team until the end of the year… when it can be used as a reason not to give them any awards. I’ll admit bias as a Spurs fan but Pop has pulled just as many strings as any coach this season, if not more. Manu wasn’t out “a few games” — it was easily half the season. Nevermind that we didn’t have a real backup point guard much of the year either. TJ Ford played great while he was healthy, but that unfortunately was only 14 games. Gary Neal has been running backup PG for us most of the year. He’s done an admirable job, but honestly he still has trouble making the pass to the rolling big in a pick & roll. I’ll stop there. I don’t want to write an essay. Pop is a great pick for COY. Thibodeau, Rivers, Vogel, and you could argue George Karl have all done a great job in a tough season.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Rose wasn’t the only injury. We basically didn’t have Hamilton all year long, Deng missed a third of the season, CJ Watson has been injury prone. We played some games with John Lucas and Mike James as our only active point guards. Bulls beat Miami without Rose and that was almost completely due to Thib’s substitutions down the stretch. He started 5 bench players against Miami’s starting 5 in overtime. That’s just one example, but Thibs has made smart coaching decisions like that all year. Other than the Manu injury the Spurs have had no adversity all year. OKC and Spurs were the two healthiest teams in the West and that’s a big part of why they’re the top two teams. What coaching decisions has Pop made that really stood out? Resting players? Incorporating rookies? The spurs got younger, more athletic depth, and have stayed healthy. Those two reasons, much more than actual coaching, is why the Spurs are where they are.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    nbk – for someone that relies on stats to make a lot of your points, you’ve made some of the vaguest, most nonfactual comments I’ve ever seen you make on this post. Are you purposely just trying to argue the opposite side to see if you can change someone’s mind? Bulls are healthier than last year? You’re trying to compare Rose being out to Boozer being out? Look at the total minutes played this year for the Bulls starters and then tell me them being in first isn’t impressive. And you seem to be conveniently ignoring the fact that Bulls are the best defense in the NBA with all your April offensive statistics.

  • Sarah

    Actually if we’re going to make the award about who has done the most with the least we should just give it to George Karl. No “superstar” and a laundry list of injuries.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    @Sarah – I said they’re championship caliber because they’ve been there before, have a veteran group, and definitely have the talent. I’m using that as a reason for their good regular season record. I personally think as soon as the playoffs start they’re going to crap the bed like they have been doing the past few years. They’re not getting out of the second round.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Pop should get it because he found a way to overcome the loss of his third string point gaurd???????

  • http://slamonline.com Nella

    It’s Pop. Bulls fans are obnoxious.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Go blow yourself Nella

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    I’m obnoxious because I’m making an argument for Thibs and pointing out that the Sours have been relatively healthy all year? Its obnoxious to post random insults.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    smh – do I really need to explain to you why the defense is still tops in the league Diesel? Are you that much of a homer that you can’t recognize their defense is actually better without Derrick Rose? I shouldnt have to explain the strengths and weaknesses of a team you refer to as “we” should I? The Bulls offense being so terrible is a directly linked to the Bulls reliance on Derrick Rose and highlights Thibs weakness as a coach. Do I give a sh*t if the Bulls beat the heat once without Rose (or care to address you giving the credit of the Bulls winning on substitution decisions by Thibodeau)? no, just like I’m not going to bring up Chicago getting beat by Washington. The team has struggled without Rose, the offense has been terrible. Luckily the Bulls front court has been healthy which in turn keeps the Bulls biggest strength in tact. Losing Rose (and Hamilton and Watson) hurts but it isn’t enough of a reason to give COY to Thibs over Popp, not with what Poppovich has done with that Spurs team. I don’t really care to argue with you about this anymore then I already have though, arguments with you about the Bulls tend to ignore rational logic as often as it tends to be a solid argument.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Cosign nbk. Diesel, you claimed that Pop wouldn’t do something like play JLIII against the Heat? That’s where I lost a lot of faith in your claim. Do you ever check the Spurs’ box score? There’s a reason his starters average like less than 30 minutes a game.

  • LA Huey

    Eric Spoelstra did a fantastic job with his band of castaways. But on the real, a lot of coaches looked like they were in the running for it until it all fell apart later in the season. Adelman was looking strong ’til Rubio went down, Rockets looked good until their late season collapse, and the Magic were exceeding my expectations with the Dwight circus until the ringmaster couldn’t take the BS anymore.
    I hate George Karl so I won’t give him any credit for anything.

  • robb

    No question about it

  • Sarah

    … backup PG. ONLY other PG. And found a way to not run TP, easily our most valuable player this year, into the ground. He’s made a lot of decisions you mention Thibodeau making as well. Pop left his young bench in for an entire 4th quarter and OT against the Mavs early in the year. The young guys staged a furious comeback and even though the Spurs lost narrowly it was a turning point in the season that saw the team start to play better on the road and depend more on the young guys. He saw that he might not have the roster for a defense that would hold teams to the mid80s anymore and completely changed his team’s style of play to stay successful. Thibodeau relied on the backbone he had last year to weather the storm this year — that stifling defense they play in Chicago. Doesn’t matter. I think both coaches have a solid argument for the award this season, but I’ll pick Pop and you’ll pick Thibs. And I don’t like to talk about it because I guess I’m a little superstitious that way, but I believe the Spurs are going to make a little more noise than you think this year.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    The Spurs have 12 players averaging 19 minutes a game. And 1 player playing over 30. I’m sorry but it can’t be much more obvious. Especially considering he’s starting a rookie….and Danny Green.

  • 23

    to say pop doesnt deserve this award JUST AS MUCH as any other coach is stupid. pop deserves this just as much, if not more, than thibs. at the start of the season alot of people predicted the bulls to win it all, some still do. but MANY people were expecting the spurs to turn into dust in this condensed season. so i believe the bulls are at about where we expected them to be. while the spurs have exceeded expectations

  • Sarah

    @nbk DGreen’s not a rook, but this is the first year he’s gotten any real time. In fact I think he spent time last year in the D-League, spent the lockout overseas with Olimpija, and was definitely not a lock to make the team this year – so your point is well taken.

  • Sarah

    @nbk my fault. Read that as “he’s a starting rookie… Danny Green.” Absolutely right, starting Rookie Kawhi Leonard and Danny.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    All good I knew that was going to look confusing. Danny Green is basically a rookie, but he isn’t. Which is why I said it how I did.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    Spurs lost in the first round due to matchup problem from the Grizz, which NO TEAM wants to play in this postseason either. the 2 seasons before the team lost most of its defensive players and were in transition period.
    and Sarah is spot on regarding to completely revamping the team identity from a defensive juggernaut to an offensive powerhouse.
    to add to the proof of Pop’s coaching ability, before the Spurs traded for them, Stephen Jackson was being an bad apple on a Bucks team going nowhere fast, and Boris Diaw was eating fried chicken on the Bobcats bench. they are already solid contributors on the Spurs less than a month later. i haven’t seen diaw played like a border line all-star (his basketball skill is so underrated) since 2006 when he was on the Suns.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    CABOOSE, where did I say that Pop wouldn’t do something like play John Lucas against the Heat? Please show me where I said that. I said Thibs should get credit for making a decision like that.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Forget it. I’m not going to carry on 7 different arguments with people as they twist my words or dance around the points I make. I’ll end this by saying you’re all crazy, and we’ll revisit how great Pop coached this team when they don’t get passed the second round this year.

  • bike

    Crazy people always say everyone else is crazy when they see the imaginary thing that no one else does.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    haha – the site troll made fun of me. I’m semi-famous!

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Regardless, you claimed that starting 5 bench players against the Heat in the 4th qualifies as a “smart” coaching move. If we go along with that little theory, can we say that Pop’s decision to not even play his starters in some games (that they still won) is a GENIUS move?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk


  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Ouch Diesel lol

  • http://www.slamonline.com Dagger

    “What coaching decisions has Pop made that really stood out?” …are you serious?

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Oh and Diesel: “past,” not “passed.” Your intellect is obvious.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Diesel is actually a pretty smart poster. Why don’t ya get back to Co-Signing nbk Caboose.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Haha nice LS. Yes, I know Diesel is smart, he just said a lot of less-than-intelligent stuff on this thread.

  • ChristianBulleN

    It’s gotta be Paul Silas. All bickering aside.. the dude still has hair on the top of his head.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Coaching award should go to:
    San Antonio

  • http://slamonline.com Datkid

    bike is the site troll? I’m very very confused lol

  • andy

    my three votes would be
    3 – pop. amazing job. the way the schedule was set you would of thought it would kill an old team like this. to beat okc for best record is an excellent coaching job. the Gary Neals Danny Greens n Kawhi Leonards have not looked out of place at all. then you add Diaw and S Jax. Cannot wait to see them in the post season.
    2 – thibs. the way the team was rolling without Rose said a lot to me. He has got his players playing great winning basketball.
    1 – Monty Williams – For what he got given and to not own the worst record speaks volumes (to him and the BCats) there was a patch when the team looked like they could of beaten really good teams.

    Worst Coach
    Brooks – He is a horrible coach. His mismanagement of Ibaka and no real concept of running a play for the last shot annoys me. This team relies on talent and talent alone
    Funny how when SI ran the players poll on which coach players wanna play for his name wasnt mentioned lol

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Pop is the coolest f*cking coach in all of basketball.

  • http://Slamonline.com Kevin Durant’s Backpack

    It’s too bad this award doesn’t actually go to the best coach. Usually just the coach who improves his team by the most amount of wins. Pop and Phil Jackson would win it every year.

  • Holiday

    Wow the guy has a great team winning… Weird!!! No Phil and shouldn’t have em all they had all the talent. The guys that bring out the best in no name players or undermanned teams deserve it!

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    @Disel..”I’ll end this by saying you’re all crazy, and we’ll revisit how great Pop coached this team when they don’t get passed the second round this year.”…I’ll say that also to your (Thibbs) Bulls man. ;)

  • GC6

    In other news Kemba Walker say Paul Silas is coach of the year

  • FnF

    @Holiday, cosign. IMO, the award should go to the coach that got the most out of his players. How in the world Jerry Sloan goes two decades without winning it, is simply crazy. Oten times talent will trump X’s & O’s. How can you reward a coach for simply fielding a better team? Frank Vogel led his team to a better record than 25 other coaches with a roster talent level that is in the middle of the pack. He dealt with a center that can’t defend the PnR, several PFs that play below the rim, a long range trigger happy scorer, & aside from Paul George the rest of his backcourt comes off the bench for most teams. If Popovich gets it, so be it, I feel that Frank Vogel did relatively more with less.