Gregg Popovich has been the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs for 26 years and has the most wins in NBA history. He's clearly respected by every other coach in the league, and LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is no exception.
In an episode of the Knuckleheads podcast, Tyronn Lue was asked by host Darius Miles who he would choose out of Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley, and Don Nelson to be his head coach and assistant coach. Without hesitation, Lue chose San Antonio Spurs' Popovich as his head coach.
"If you're going to go off of the history of the game, then, of course, it's gonna be Pop and Pat Riley, and then Don Nelson would be the one you have to exclude," said Lue. "He [Popovich] gave me a lot of knowledge, and I talk to him a lot."
Lue choosing Popovich over Riley as his head coach should not be a shocker. Riley has worn multiple hats in the NBA. He is a former player, coach, and the current President of the Miami Heat. Lue having Riley as his assistant coach is a win too.
Tyronn Lue looks to Gregg Popovich for advice
In Lue's answer on the Knuckleheads podcast, he mentioned talking to Popovich and gaining knowledge about the game from him. Popovich is looked at by many as the blueprint of what makes a successful coach. That is why assistant coaches that were once under him have gone on to be head coaches of teams within the league.
Lue has said in past interviews that part of his coaching method is modeled after Popovich, and it shows. Lue was promoted to head coach of the LA Clippers in October 2020 and took them to the Western Conference Finals in his first season. During that season, Popovich spoke about how strong Lue's relationship was with his players, something Popovich himself is well known for.
“His relationships with players, his ability to care about them, to let them flourish in a certain environment, and it’s genuine,” Popovich said. “There is no fake there. He doesn’t purport to be something he’s not. He really enjoys the people that he’s around and that kind of a personality goes a long way with players so they want to hear from him, they want to listen to him."
Having Greg Popovich in your corner is always a great thing, and if a coach of his caliber speaks highly of you, then you know you're doing something right.