San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is currently the longest tenured coach in the NBA, and for that matter, the longest tenured among MLB, NFL and NHL coaches.
However, 16 years and four championships later, Popovich has only won Coach of the Year once.
On NBA.com's Hang Time Blog, several writers are weighing in saying Popovich is halfway to another Coach of the Year award.
Gregg Popovich in a close call over Doug Collins, just because it would &!#% off Popovich to have to go to center court to accept the award. OK, and because the Spurs remain near the top of the conference despite meshing youth with experience while overcoming the Manu Ginobili injury.
Starting the season with a team whose core is yet another year older, lost one of their best interior bigs, traded away a fan favorite for an unproven rookie and relying on a backup point guard who has been bounced around the league isn't exactly the best "welcome back" package ever, but somehow Popovich was able to bring all those pieces together.
Then after losing Manu Ginobili, then T.J. Ford in early January, a loss that most expected would have the Spurs floundering at the bottom of the Western Conference, Popovich made personnel changes that allowed the Spurs to wade atop the Western Conference waters.
Now with Ginobili out again along with Splitter and Ford still recovering, Popovich gave up a winning streak by resting Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. Sure it's a move that has drawn criticism, but it's also a move that gives the healthy members of his big three some extra rest heading into the all-star break.
And in about two weeks, when Parker and Duncan aren't completely gassed when Ginobili and Splitter return, I wouldn't be surprised to see the pundits celebrate Popovich's move as just another brilliant adjustment, similar to when he puts X's and O's up on his grease board during a timeout prior to a critical possession.
No one knows what the rest of the season holds, but for Spurs fans, it's easy to get excited about seeing what Popovich will do with that aging core, unproven rookie, journeyman backup and the rest of the Spurs from here on out..
Now Spurs mgt either needs to help Pop out, or find another Presti-type guru who can. Trade Anderson for a good player on a avg or bad team wanting out - before both teams get nothing this summer (Stephen Jackson?). Shop a package of guys we can bear to part with (RJ, Bonner, Blair, Anderson), possibly along with a draft pick, to get a big man off a team like New Orleans/Charlotte, Washington, NJ, TOR, DET or SAC. Teams already out of it with several big guys.
This season may be the best chance we have for many years... we need to stretch ourselves to give us the best chance possible. If NO wants our next two first round picks, then give it to them. Anderson was a first round pick and hasn't panned out... like many first round picks. Kaman is a proven commodity, and one we really need. He's worth two first round picks plus our last one and a couple other guys. Mgt needs to find a way to make it work. Create value for a team that has what you want... make it a deal they can't pass up. The deadline is coming up soon... make it happen Spurs Mgt!