For the third time in his storied career, Gregg Popovich has been named NBA Coach of the Year. The San Antonio Spurs tweeted out the news on his latest honor:
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) April 22, 2014
The 65-year-old led the Spurs to the best overall record in the league of 62-20. San Antonio was the lone squad to achieve 60+ wins and also improved on their total from last season. He managed to lead them to the Western Conference’s one-seed without using any player 30 minutes per game or more.
Due to the aging core of stars such as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, managing minutes is key when planning for a deep playoff run, and Pop excelled at that end. Despite critics every season claiming the Spurs will begin to fade and show their age, the four-time NBA Champion always seems to have his team exceed expectations. This is also because of how well Pop turns overlooked cast-offs into legitimate contributors. Players such as Danny Green, Patty Mills and Boris Diaw all seem to prove those who gave up on them wrong while in the Spurs’ system.
Popovich tallied 59 first-place selections and finished with 380 points in votes among sportswriters and broadcasters. Phoenix’s Jeff Hornacek (339), Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau (159), Charlotte’s Steve Clifford (127) and Toronto’s Dwane Casey (70) rounded out the top five.
Previously, Popovich took home the hardware in the 2002-2003 and 2011-2012 campaigns. His current regular season record stands at 967-443, good for the fourth-best winning-percentage of all-time at .686. His playoff record win total of 134 is the third-most in NBA history, behind Phil Jackson and Pat Riley.