San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, with Tuesday’s win, moved up the NBA’s all-time wins list for coaches.
It’s an understatement to call San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich’s career a success. He’s a lock for the Basketball Hall of Fame, whenever he decides to stop coaching, with five championships (maybe more on the way) and an impeccable resume. It’s difficult for most coaches to come close to his work in San Antonio, which has been a loaded two decades of winning seasons.
Speaking of wins, Popovich noticeably climbed the all-time list for coaches in an earlier part of the 2017-18 season. He moved into sixth place, topping Phil Jackson.
Well, on Tuesday night, the Spurs defeated the New York Knicks. This was enough to push Popovich into fifth place, passing George Karl, on the all-time wins list. The former hit his 1,176th victory.
Popovich won’t move into fourth place as easily, since it was a 20 win difference between Karl and Jackson. He must get to 1,211 wins, with Pat Riley sitting at 1,120. It’s 35 wins, which isn’t out of reach, but means the Spurs would have to finish the season 35-9. Maybe the Silver and Black go on a torrid run to close this campaign. However, look for the 68-year-old to reach this milestone in the 2018-19 season.
After Riley, Jerry Sloan will be in reach, given he’s just 11 wins ahead in third place. Lenny Wilkens is a different story, with over 100 wins needed to cross him. If Popovich coaches another two to three years, he’ll have a chance at crossing him and Don Nelson to become the NBA’s all-time wins leader.
Can “Pop” pull this off? It will take time and it’s no guarantee he sticks around for however many more seasons. But, he remains in reach of the top spot.