San Antonio Spurs All-Time Lists

Spurs: Ranking Popovich's most brilliant playoff coaching moves

Gregg Popovich
Gregg Popovich / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, and he cemented his legacy last season by becoming the all-time winningest coach. If that weren't enough, he has five championships, an Olympic gold medal, and other numerous achievements on his resume.

Of course, he didn't get there without great players, but his terrific coaching decisions contributed heavily to the Spurs' success, especially in the playoffs. With this in mind, let's go through and rank Pop's greatest playoff coaching decisions of the last decade.

San Antonio Spurs
J.J. Redick, Kawhi Leonard / Chris Covatta/GettyImages

4. Having Kawhi Leonard guard J.J. Redick in 2015 West First Round

Before the first-round series against the LA Clippers in 2015, it wasn't clear who Kawhi Leonard, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, would guard. That said, most didn't expect it to be J.J. Redick because elite defenders aren't usually asked to shut down high-level role players.

Popovich saw things differently, however, and unleashed Leonard on Redick. That kept the Clippers' best shooter and third-best player from going off and slowed down a Chris Paul-led offense that featured peak Blake Griffin.

In fact, during the regular season, the Clippers had the best offensive rating in the NBA but scored four points fewer per 100 possessions against the Spurs in this series. That helped the Spurs pull out two tough road wins and take a more talented team to a seventh game.

Unfortunately, the Spurs lost Game 7 thanks partly to a questionable foul call in the final minute of the game. Still, Popovich's decision put the Spurs in the best position to win the series.