San Antonio Spurs: Is Tim Duncan set to succeed Gregg Popovich?

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Head Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs coaches his player Tim Duncan #21 against the Sacramento Kings on November 15, 2014 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Head Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs coaches his player Tim Duncan #21 against the Sacramento Kings on November 15, 2014 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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San Antonio Spurs fans have had to think about who might take over for Gregg Popovich in the future for a while, but now an exciting new name has entered the conversation.

San Antonio Spurs fans were a bit on edge at the end of this season with Gregg Popovich in the final year of his coaching contract.

The prevailing wisdom at the time was that Pop would continue coaching the Spurs until at least the 2020 Olympics, but there was no guarantee he would return until he signed a three-year contract extension.

Even with that new contract, Pop could choose to retire at any point over the next three seasons, so San Antonio needs to be prepared to move on without him.

Becky Hammon looked to be the frontrunner after the departures of Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina this offseason, and Will Hardy was another new assistant coach on staff with a possible head coaching job in his future.

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However, that conversation shifted dramatically when the Spurs announced they would be hiring Tim Duncan as an assistant coach for the upcoming season.

Duncan will join Hammon, Hardy, and Chip Engelland as the assistants on Gregg Popovich’s staff this year.

While hiring the first woman head coach in the history of major American sports would be extremely exciting for Spurs fans who have already seen Hammon accomplish so much during her tenure in San Antonio, it’s hard for them us not to dream of Tim Duncan taking over for Pop when he decides to put away the clipboard for good.

It remains to be seen how much Duncan enjoys being on the NBA bench as a coach, but he has enjoyed his mentoring role with the Spurs enough to take the plunge into the position so it’s extremely possible that he sees himself as a future head coach.

Tim has learned from the greatest coach of all-time in Gregg Popovich and a litany of assistant coaches who have all gone on to have successful careers after working with Duncan and Pop in San Antonio.

Duncan’s high basketball IQ and uncanny leadership ability allowed him to be a coach on the floor for his last couple of seasons as a player, and those skills should come with him as he wears a suit on the Spurs’ bench.

Hiring Tim Duncan as the next head coach would certainly win the press conference in San Antonio, and we know that this organization loves to hire within to maintain their historically great culture.

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There is still a lot we need to learn about Tim Duncan the coach, but it’s certainly worth pondering whether he’s set up to be Gregg Popovich’s successor in San Antonio.

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