One of the Spurs’ greatest strengths is their willingness to think outside the box. Ken Rodriguez explores one of the latest examples at with his piece on the unusual circumstances surrounding former role player Ime Udoka’s hiring to assist Gregg Popovich.
A quick summary: Having coached at the AAU level for the past three years, the 35-year-old Udoka was in Las Vegas to keep tabs on a couple of his former players at summer league. He bumped into Popovich, who asked if Udoka might be interested in returning to San Antonio as a coach. Udoka was, but also spoke to several teams about another season on the court in the month that passed. When Popovich called with a firm offer, Udoka’s decision was clear.
“I realize how fortunate I am to go straight into coaching,” he told Rodriguez. “It’s very rare.”
As a hard-working grinder who had to battle for every minute he got in the NBA, Udoka should fit right in with the blue-collar mentality over at Spurs headquarters. Indeed, it was those qualities that led Popovich to encourage Udoka to get into coaching in the first place.