As of Thursday, the San Antonio Spurs saw their participation at the NBA bubble officially end. Along with that came an end to the team’s consecutive playoff streak of 22 appearances in a row. It also brought up plenty of questions as the team looks towards the future, including whether or not their head coach will return. Gregg Popovich may have given insight into that with his latest words to the media.
Gregg Popovich Addresses Spurs Coaching Question
While the Spurs’ playoff streak is over, it doesn’t appear Pop’s days on the sidelines are done yet. While some feel that the 71-year-old head coach may be getting close to retirement, Gregg Popovich appears to have some more time to devote to his craft.
Coming off the team’s failure to qualify for the Western Conference play-in game, Pop was asked if he’d be back as the Spurs’ coach next season. According to Marc Stein, he gave a very simple three-word answer to possibly crush any speculation.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Popovich asked, as his answer to the question, suggesting there’s no reason he knows of to leave his job.
The Spurs finished with a 32-39 record and were fourth in the Southwest Division this past season. It was the first time Popovich has coached the team to a losing record since his first season in 1996-97. That was when he officially took over the job after firing Bob Hill.
“Any success we’ve had is because we’ve had some great players,” Pop said speaking of his team’s 5-3 run in Florida over the past several weeks.
“I’m thrilled with the way they played here. They had no shot to get into this thing and basically willed themselves into it to have this opportunity,” the Spurs coach said in his post-game comments after the loss to Utah on Thursday.
Pop to Continue Working With Spurs’ Talent
The San Antonio Spurs franchise has been impressive under Gregg Popovich with five championships between 1998 and 2014. Those came with different stars at different times, with the first title arriving in Pop’s second season. That squad featured the likes of Sean Elliott, David Robinson, and a young Tim Duncan.
Popovich would go on to coach a talented trio of Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili to three more titles from 2002 through 2007. Those players contributed to another successful run to win the 2014 NBA Finals thanks to the addition of talented newcomer Kawhi Leonard.
All of those Spurs stars have either retired or moved on, though. The newest of them, Kawhi Leonard, opted to leave due to disagreements with the Spurs’ medical staff. Leonard would go on to help Toronto to their first-ever NBA title. He’s now with the Clippers and looking towards the postseason at the bubble.
Meanwhile, Gregg Popovich has continued to get the best out of the stars and other talented players he has available. That includes former Raptor DeMar DeRozan, who was a key part of the NBA bubble run, and former Portland Trail Blazer LaMarcus Aldridge. The big man was sidelined by season-ending surgery but should be back for next season.
Of course, don’t discount the other young talent that the Spurs continue to find. One player in particular who stepped up at the bubble was Keldon Johnson. He put up a career-high of 24 points and 11 rebounds against Houston this past Tuesday, then followed it up with another 24-point game against the Jazz. He scored 20 or more in three of his past five games at the bubble.
The Spurs will also look towards the 2020 NBA Draft set for October, 16. Based on a mock draft via CBS Sports, the Spurs could have the No. 12 pick, and opt for a shooting guard, such as Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey. Regardless of who the team selects, it appears Gregg Popovich will be there to help instill his coaching wisdom and bring them up to speed with the NBA game. Visit our Spurs news page for more of the latest team and player news.