Followers of the San Antonio Spurs have spent the offseason speculating about many things: will the Spurs win 20 games? What will the starting lineup look like? Will the gamble they took on Josh Primo last season work out? With a lot of questions unanswered, the biggest one in franchise history is yet to be answered. When will Gregg Popovich retire?
At this point in his career, Pop could hang it up whenever he wants. Five titles, more wins than anyone, and an absurd .658 winning percentage are all enough to cement himself as the greatest NBA coach ever. At 74 years old, I can’t blame him for seriously considering retirement and greener pastures. To be frank, I’m shocked he’s stuck around this late into the rebuild. But with the 2023 Draft Lottery and draft class looking more promising than ever, maybe Popovich is getting a second wind.
There’s no reason for Popovich to retire now
Marc Stein (subscription required) seems to think that Coach Pop has absolutely no plans to retire, and “will coach the Spurs until he’s 80.”
If the Spurs do manage to land Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, or even one of the Thompson brothers, just imagine what their ceiling will be. There is very real hype that says Henderson is the next Russell Westbrook or Ja Morant-type player, that the Thompson brothers are the most athletic prospects ever, and that Victor Wembanyama is expected to be the GOAT.
Lofty, almost impossible goals to be sure, but if they spend the first five years of their career under Gregg Popovich, then the standards should be set even higher. Popovich developed the best power forward ever, made the 57th overall pick into a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and turned Tony Parker, a spindly, undisciplined young point guard, into a Finals MVP. Oh, he also made Kawhi Leonard the most well-rounded player of the generation.
On top of that, players like Patty Mills, Danny Green, Kyle Anderson, and even Cory Joseph all owe the longevity of their careers to Pop. Suffice it to say, he can do it all with very little. Add another generational talent to his potter's wheel, and there’s no reason for him to call it quits.
Frankly, I think that Stein got it right, and Popovich is here to stay long-term.