Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Popovich Wins It Again

By Payton Wales


San Antonio, Texas -- For two years in a row, Gregg Popovich has done what many would call overachieving. Popovich has taken what most have considered an aging past-their-prime team and led them to the top of the Western Conference.

And on Tuesday, Popovich's efforts for this season's success were rewarded as he received the NBA's Red Auerbach Coach of the Year Award. Popovich, who lead the Spurs to a 50-16 record and the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, dealt with a myriad of obstacles this year, including a compressed 66-game schedule due to this past summer's lockout.

Many pundits said the Spurs were too old to compete at a high level this year, but Popovich proved otherwise. Great management of his aging stars' minutes, along with some creative playing style, helped the Spurs climb to the top of the Western Conference for the second year in a row. Popovich even had a little fun in the process when he put 14-year veteran Tim Duncan on a late-season games inactive list. The reason listed by Popovich? Old.

When accepting the award, Popovich humbly told the media, "If you can draft David Robinson and follow that up with Tim Duncan, that's a couple of decades of very, very possible success unless you just screw it up. So it's hard to take credit when circumstances have gone your way so consistently."

Since Popovich started coaching in 1996, he has amassed a 847-399 record. He is the league's longest-tenured coach with a single team.

It's the second time Popovich has won the award in his 16-year career as a head coach. He first won in 2003, the same year the Spurs won their second of four championships. The Spurs will look to replicate the feat this year and they look well on their way to doing so, currently leading the Utah Jazz by one game in Round One of the playoffs.

Coach of the Year Voting
Coach First Votes Points Total
Gregg Popovich, Spurs 77 467
Tom Thibodeau, Bulls 27 315
Frank Vogel, Pacers 7 161
Lionel Hollins, Grizzlies 6 50
Doc Rivers, Celtics 1 26
Scott Brooks, Thunder 0 9
Tyrone Corbin, Jazz 0 9
George Karl, Nuggets 1 7
Mike Brown, Lakers 0 4
Stan Van Gundy, Magic 0 4
Larry Drew, Hawks 0 3
Monty Williams, Hornets 0 3
Vinny Del Negro, Clippers 0 2
Kevin McHale, Rockets 0 2
Alvin Gentry, Suns 0 1

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