SAITAMA, JAPAN - respectable 07: Team United states Head Coach Gregg Popovich cheers on his team throughout ... <+> the second half of a Men"s Basketball Finals game between Team joined States and also Team France on work fifteen that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games at Saitama supervisor Arena on respectable 07, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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The san Antonio Spurs have actually employed Gregg Popovich as head coach since the 1996-97 season, and also despite start the 2021-22 season in ~ 72 years old, there does no seem to it is in a plan to leave yet. Marc Stein that Substack pointed come a perhaps surprising factor for this, reporting that Popovich desires to insurance claim the all-time winningest coach mark in NBA history. He requirements 26 wins to happen Don Nelson because that the greatest victory total.

26 wins would usually be an easy goal for Popovich to achieve in a spurs season, yet the many recent roster overhaul has the Silver and Black dealing with developmental work and also a middle road earlier to the postseason for the first time due to the fact that 2018-19. DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge room no much longer there, along with the seasoned, grizzled veterans of previous seasons, yet a group of young safety and large men, led through Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and also Derrick White. It’s certainly not the team NBA pan have followed the previous two decades.

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Growing pains space expected native a youthful group. They room inevitable; however, this team have to be good enough to victory at least 26 games, coupled v Popovich’s coaching influence. Strong guards and a climbing player in Johnson provide a fascinating foundation for the long-time head coach to use a small-ball lineup that highlights his best players. It just could take time because that this group to with the much-anticipated success total and to celebrate the five-time NBA champion leader of the bench.

After that, the emphasis turns come what exactly is following for Popovich, or exactly how long can he stick around?

The spur as created are potentially a few years from the postseason. While no a franchise bottoming out, your sub-30 year old roster has much come showcase amid a group in the western Conference, particularly with the gold State warrior fighting their method back in, the new Orleans Pelicans having actually a talented young roster and the Memphis Grizzlies special Ja Morant, among the NBA’s next good players. Over them is a plethora that deep squads, perennial playoff teams and also title contenders.

So, when trying to break through, Popovich has actually the job of molding this organization’s next generation. It’s a job in progress, however one still a few seasons native finding a pathway to success. Unless, of course, the spurs pull a rabbit out of a hat and also surprise the NBA landscape, which is feasible with the play-in postseason format.

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A championship accomplishment is lot to questioning for, though, perhaps partially why the all-time wins document is important. The an accomplishment in Popovich’s twilight that his career, something else he have the right to hold his head up high for. Few coaches get the possibility at wrecking this sort of record, as well, for this reason it’s a special opportunity and one that might not occur again, given the continuous coaching turnover.

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Will coaching through this season, or the year Popovich division Nelson’s record, it is in the end of a storied career? Working through a young roster to affect the next generation is a reasonable reason to stick roughly for, before handing the secrets to the coaching office to someone choose Becky Hammon. It’s simply a matter of when Popovich feel his time on one NBA sideline is over.


I cover the NBA"s mountain Antonio Spurs and also their fluctuating salary-cap situation. For the previous decade, I have followed and also studied the video game of basketball, with understanding of player performances and salary cap situations, which is among the most discussed aspects of the NBA. I specialize in the Spurs, who I have complied with for a number of years and tracked their regular regular-season success, together with the tumbling Kawhi Leonard saga. Overall, i have focused on sporting activities writing for the past five years, starting at SUNY Cortland, v a Bachelor"s degree in communications with a concentration in Journalism. Follow me ~ above Twitter