Corporate Knowledge: August 1, 2012
- “It’s being around people who want to be part of something bigger than themselves, who are committed to working diligently together, and no matter what, there’s always a talent level that has to happen,” he answered. “But I think that also the character of the individual is reflected in the character of the team.”
R.C. Buford, via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel
With each passing year it seems that the Popovich/Spurs family tree branches out in the NBA, with teams scavenging the Spurs front office and coaching talent in hopes of gleaning some insight into the “Spurs way”.
Though Buford and Gregg Popovich—the architects of the San Antonio Spurs success—deflect any credit, the early successes of their protégés lend credence to the notion that the Spurs have done more than, as Buford and Popovich like to put it, “draft David Robinson and Tim Duncan and not screw things up.”
The above Buford quote wonderfully summarizes the Spurs culture.
The Spurs are not only masters of identifying talent at all levels of its basketball operations, but allowing room for growth and developing the talent it takes in—from players to coaches and front office personnel.
As Robbins points out, Parker and Ginobili were not drafted as lottery talents. Though luck in the scouting process played some part, that they and many of the other Spurs late draft picks and bargain free agent pickups have succeeded is due to the Spurs development processes.
One thing for the Orlando Magic to remember in this process is that time and patience play an important role. GM Rob Hennigan and first-time head coach Jaque Vaughn are neophytes in their current roles.
Will the Magic allow for the bumps and bruises that Sam Presti was afforded in Oklahoma?
The year-to-year goal shouldn’t necessarily be championships, but constant improvement while maintaining the flexibility to capitalize when opportunities present themselves.
- “But if it doesn’t, who should be the next Team USA head coach?
There are serious fences to mend, but Gregg Popovich is the clear best choice. He’s respected by players, he has a system that fits the international game (look at the Spurs roster) and most of all he has the gravitas needed to coach a team with that many stars and egos. He’s the perfect fit. But there is real friction between him and Colangelo and Krzyzewski so it may not happen.”
-Kurt Helin, ProBasketballTalk
I can’t speak to the disconnect between Popovich and the current Team USA management that Helin references, other than the frustrations of the Olympic team headed by Larry Brown, to which Popovich was an assistant coach, have been well reported. But Popovich is the obvious choice.
No one in basketball has so masterfully blended the NBA and international brands of basketball as seamlessly as Popovich has. He has the clout (i.e. champions) to command respect and manage egos.
Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, I think Doc Rivers is the likely pick. He is younger, more readily identifiable as a player’s coach, and more likely to stick around long enough to continue to build the program.
But as averse as Popovich is to surrendering his free time and receiving credit, I’m sure the Olympics would be a great honor for him. And I can’t help but rue the fact that we might never get to see Popovich unleashed upon the international media.