San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is now the winningest coach in NBA history after securing his 1,336th victory against the Utah Jazz. When you pair this with his five championships, Popovich has a strong case for being the greatest coach of all time.
That's made all the more amazing by the fact that he did it with one franchise over the course of 26 seasons. With that in mind, let's take a look back at his legendary career and rank Popovich’s five most impressive accomplishments.
5. Coaching 20 Top-10 Defensive Teams
When looking at all of the great teams Pop coached, there is one constant: Defense. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the personnel he’s had. Still, his ability to coach defense, no matter the era, is certainly remarkable.
In fact, since taking over as head coach in 1996, the Spurs have finished in the top 10 in defensive rating an eye-popping 20 times. Better yet, they finished in the top five 18 times. The Spurs accomplished that by limiting shots in transition and forcing teams to score in the half-court while also taking away threes and free throws.
That is easier said than done, but Popovich had great defensive players like David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen, Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter, Danny Green, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Dejounte Murray. That defensive talent was key, but Popovich maximized their skill and helped the Spurs build an identity that was vital to their dominance.