Gregg Popovich Named West All-Star CoachBy Daniel J.
After owning sole possession of the NBA’s best record for most of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have finally relinquished the crown for now to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs’ current nine-game winning streak has them back in the top spot with a record of 37-11, a mark that also earned coach Gregg Popovich the head coaching gig for the Western Conference at this year’s All-Star game in Houston on Feb. 17.
Popovich, known by many to be a basketball guru, but also a curmudgeon when it comes to these sorts of things, said he was actually thrilled to be a part of the All-Star game and will take full advantage of the rare opportunity when speaking with The San Antonio Express-News.
“It will be just like it has been in the past: a heck of an opportunity to enjoy amazing talent,” Popovich said after his team’s 102-78 victory over the Bobcats. “That’s not just a B.S. or trite statement. It’s true. When you’re around those guys, you look around the room and you can’t believe you’re in the same room with them. It’s a huge honor just to be a part of it.”
Popovich has accomplished quite an impressive feat this season, guiding his team to the league’s best record so far. Some would call it even more impressive than in years past considering he now has an aging team of stars and has to continue to play a balancing act concerning their playing time. Of course, he came under fire from the league publicly after he chose to rest several of his stars, including Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, for a nationally televised game against the Miami Heat. The Heat won the game, but Pop’s unorthodox coaching tactics seem to be paying off in the long run.
His big-picture thinking has helped the Spurs in the past, but only time will tell if this group will be able to hold up down the stretch, as youthful contenders such as the Thunder and the Clippers continue to pursue their own NBA titles. Although the Spurs have the best NBA record for now, I wouldn’t advise putting too much stock in them, however it’s never a bad idea to invest a little faith (or money) in a team that has been there before and conquered the mountain.