NBA rumors involving the San Antonio Spurs don’t generally make it to the surface because the organization is fantastic at keeping things in house. When you work with Gregg Popovich, you’re required to try to stay as low key as possible. Interestingly enough, the highly praised head coach is the one making the news now. According to the Sporting News, Popovich will be forced to leave the Spurs for a couple of games due to a family emergency.
As expected, the nature of the family emergency is undisclosed. Situations like these are better off kept private to prevent further chatter. The San Antonio Spurs are notoriously gifted at not revealing things that take place internally. The players have been trained to give entire interviews where nothing noteworthy is uttered. Out the respect, the mainstream media won’t even bother to try to find out details of the situation.
As of right now, Gregg Popovich is expected to miss two games as the San Antonio Spurs head coach. He wasn’t there when the Spurs took on Paul George and the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, and he’s not expected to be on the sidelines when San Antonio takes on Karl Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday. The Spurs have Wednesday off, but they face the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, so it’ll be interesting to see if Popovich returns then.
While Gregg Popovich is taking time away to tend to his family and their needs, Ettore Messina will take over as the San Antonio Spurs interim head coach. Messina has won four Euroleague Championships as a head coach, so he’s not only considered one of the best basketball minds in Europe but also the entire world. Ettore has been an interim head coach for the Spurs before, and he’s also a candidate to become a head coach in the NBA.
While doing an interview with the media after practice, David West told reporters that the San Antonio Spurs will be fine without Gregg Popovich. The veteran forward has only been with the franchise for a season, but he was fully aware of how self functional the Spurs organization is. Popovich made sure that everyone involved with the team knows what their role is and knows how to do that role without any supervision.
It helps that the San Antonio Spurs have one of the best coaching staffs in the NBA. In addition to what Ettore Messina brings to the team, the staff also consists of Becky Hammon. She was one of the most respected players in the history of the WNBA and is the first full time female assistant coach in the NBA. Ime Udoka has respect from the players because he played in the NBA before, and he’s also the one that convinced LaMarcus Aldridge to leave the Portland Trailblazers to sign with the Spurs in free agency.
Another thing that helps the San Antonio Spurs is the fact that their roster is filled with mature players. They can function without Gregg Popovich because they know how to police themselves. Tim Duncan is one of the best NBA players of all time, so he command respect like few others. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are well established stars and leaders. David West and LaMarcus Aldridge have been team captains elsewhere, so they know what needs to be done.
Medical situations involving family members are never a pleasant thing. The bright side for the San Antonio Spurs is that they’re in a position where Gregg Popovich can take as much time away from basketball as he needs because things will function just fine without him.
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