Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
There assuredly are a lot of copycats around the NBA. Gregg Popovich said only minutes after the Spurs were eliminated from the playoffs that he couldn’t wait to pluck a few ideas from those teams still playing.
Former Spurs player and television analyst Doc Rivers, a close friend of Popovich, has seen a few things with his old franchise he’d like to replicate with Boston.
And now armed with an NBA-best $7 million yearly contract, Rivers will be aiming to rebuild the Celtics like he’s seen the Spurs and the Utah Jazz do over recent seasons.
“I look at the Utah situation and Jerry Sloan,” Rivers said on his weekly radio show on Boston radio station WEEI and . “And I look at the situation in San Antonio (with Popovich). (Boston general manager) Danny (Ainge) and I were talking — those are the two more stable franchises, because they’ve had the same coach and the same GM and the same ownership. They’ve been able to draft well, scout well, pick the right players for the system because they’ve known the system. When we talked about it, that’s what we want to do.”
It says something about the Spurs and their respect around the league when the coach of a franchise that has qualified for the last three NBA Finals would like to build his team after one that hasn’t advanced out of the second round in that same period.
Rivers has seen the Spurs franchise built and maintained from the inside as one of the league’s most successful franchises over the Tim Duncan era.
And now, he’d like to do the same thing with his team.