San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is stepping down at the end of the season. According to multiple reports, Spurs legend and future Hall of Famer Tony Parker is on the short list to replace him.
The spurs coach is a legend and future Hall of Famer who is on the short list to replace Gregg Popovich as head coach in San Antonio.
Gregg Popovich, the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, is no stranger to superstars. He’s been the head coach of the club since 1996, and he’s watched Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Tony Parker, and Kawhi Leonard come and go. Pop will, however, stand down at some time in the future, most likely within the next three seasons, to make room for a new Spurs leader.
Several potential possibilities have emerged in recent years, but Manu Ginobili, a San Antonio icon, has yet to be mentioned. Until now, that is.
Popovich was Ginobili’s coach during his whole career.
During a game against the Brooklyn Nets, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs reacts. | Matteo Marchi/Getty Images
Manu Ginobili came to the NBA from Italy in 2002. In the 1999 NBA Draft, he was the 57th overall selection. Ginobili spent 16 seasons with the Spurs, most of them as a sixth-man who was able to run and shine on the team’s second unit.
With shooting splits of 44.7/36.9/82.7, the Argentinian has career averages of 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. In 2011, he started 79 of the possible 80 games and averaged 17.4 points per game.
Ginobili was a two-time all-star and two-time All-NBA player, as well as a member of the all-rookie squad in 2002-03 and the 2007-08 Sixth Man of the Year Award winner.
He and Pop were partners in four of San Antonio’s five NBA championships, winning in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014. Ginobili retired in 2018 and will almost certainly be inducted into the Hall of Fame whenever he is eligible.
Popovich recently welcomed the 44-year-old back to the organization as a special advisor to basketball operations, a position in which his former student will “do everything,” according to Popovich. Ginobili, on the other hand, is said to be in line for a far more important role.
Ginobili has been mentioned as a possible successor to Popovich as head coach.
San Antonio’s championship window with renowned coach Tom Herman is closed. After 22 straight playoff campaigns, the Spurs have finally chosen to blow everything up after finishing with a losing record the previous two seasons. DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay — the team’s three experienced stalwarts who accounted for more than half of the team’s scoring in recent seasons — have all left the organization. For the Spurs, it’s all about youth right now.
In the 2021 draft, the team went young — literally — by selecting Alabama guard Josh Primo with the 12th overall pick. It was the greatest surprise of the night, and Primo was the class’s youngest potential.
San Antonio’s squad will have an average age of 25.3 this season, according to RealGM. Popovich is 72 years old.
Although there has been no indication on when Pop would retire — and there has been no announcement on when he will retire — his age, coupled with the franchise’s current situation, suggests it will be soon. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the list of top contenders to replace Popovich includes Will Hardy, Brett Brown, Becky Hammon, and now Ginobili.
If Manu is hired as the team’s next head coach, he will provide stability to the organization.
Ginobili has always been a smart player with lots of experience in both the NBA and abroad. It wouldn’t be the first time an ex-player with no coaching experience was named franchise president. Jason Kidd moved from being a great player to coaching the Brooklyn Nets the next season.
On the surface, he seems to be competent, but Lowe noted in his article that Manu has never suggested coaching as a post-retirement option. He may not be interested in the job at all, and the other applicants on Lowe’s list have more experience and are better prepared to fill the position. However, Ginobili would provide a feeling of calm and stability to the Spurs, particularly because San Antonio has been led by a single man for almost two decades.
Plus, if he does return to the bench, we’ll get to hear Charles Barkley’s cries of “Ginobili!” once again.
Basketball-Reference provided all statistics.
Bill Russell once told Tim Duncan that he was his favorite NBA player: ‘You’ve worked hard, made smart decisions, and won championships.’
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