Popovich named NBA’s best coach in landslide

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By Dan McCarney

Coming off his second NBA Coach of the Year award, Gregg Popovich has added another honor to his résumé — landslide selection as the league’s best coach in an anonymous survey of general managers.

Popovich took 80 percent of the vote, according to NBA.com. It marked the fourth time in the past six years he’s finished atop the poll, which is conducted annually.

Popovich also finished first in the categories of best people manager/motivator and making the best in-game adjustments.

He took second in best offensive and defensive schemes, tying Minnesota coach Rick Adelman in the former category.

Popovich’s lead deputy, Mike Budenholzer, was named the league’s second-best assistant coach, finishing narrowly behind Brian Shaw of Indiana. Colleague Brett Brown also received a vote.

Multiple Spurs players were recognized across a broad array of categories:

– Kawhi Leonard — tied for second, player most likely to have a breakout season.

– Tim Duncan — tied for second, highest basketball IQ; tied for third, best leader; also received votes, best power forward; also received votes, toughest player.

– Manu Ginobili — third, best at moving without the ball; sixth, highest basketball IQ; also received votes, best shooting guard; also received votes, best international player; also received votes, toughest player.

– Tony Parker — fourth, best point guard; also received votes, best international player; also received votes, fastest with the ball.

– Tiago Splitter — also received votes, international player most likely to have a breakout season.

– Matt Bonner — also received votes, makes the most of limited natural ability.

– Danny Green — also received votes, makes the most of limited natural ability.

The Spurs tied with Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers as the fourth-most entertaining team to watch.

Despite being a nearly unanimous pick to win the Southwest Division — general managers cannot select their own team or players — the Spurs did not receive any votes to win the Western Conference.

The Miami Heat were picked by 21 of 30 GMs to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. GMs have successfully predicted five of the last 10 champions, including San Antonio in 2004-05 and 2006-07.

Twitter: @danmccarneySAEN

Popovich is NBA’s top coach according to website’s rankings

In a result that won’t surprise many Spurs fans, Gregg Popovich has been rated the NBA’s best coach by the pro basketball website HoopsHype.com.

In naming the NBA’s longest tenured coach the Association’s best, HoopsHype cites Popovich’s willingness to adapt to the aging of his roster.

Here is the website’s Popovich summation: Great motivator and disciplinarian. Refreshingly honest at all times. Doing a wonderful job integrating new players (like Kawhi Leonard) into the mix. As core players begin to show their age, managing to keep the Spurs competitive while rebuilding.

The rest of the HoopsHype Top 10: 2. Tom Thibodeau (Bulls), 3. Doc Rivers (Celtics), 4. Rick Carlisle (Mavs), 5. George Karl (Nuggets), 6. Rick Adelman (T-Wolves), 7. Doug Collins (76ers), 8. Erik Spoelstra (Heat), 9. Scott Skiles (Bucks), 10. Avery Johnson (nets).

At the bottom of the list was Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap

The rankings were made by Charley Rosen, onetime assistant to Phil Jackson with the old Continental Basketball Association’s Albany Patroons. Rosen appears to show some bias in his stinging assessment of Mike Brown, Jackson’s successor and a former assistant under Popovich. Rosen had Brown No. 22 on his list despite Brown’s record of 313-163 (65.8 percent) over six seasons with the Cavs and Lakers. Rosen says he is “known around the NBA as the most overrated coach in the league.”

Durant, Westbrook pace Saturday’s S&Ds with monster games

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were determined Saturday night to bring Oklahoma City another step closer to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Durant erupted for 43 points and Westbrook chipped in with 35 points and eight assists to lead the Thunder’s 115-110 triumph at Minnesota.

The victory kept the Thunder a game ahead of the Spurs with six games remaining.

Durant scored 16 points in the last seven minutes as the Thunder wrapped up their fourth victory in their last five games. It was his fourth 40-point game of the season. 

”We want to win as much games as we can going down to the stretch of the season,” Durant told the Associated Press. ”Hopefully we get (the No. 1 seed). If not, we’ve just got to keep playing. We can’t worry about that. We’ve just got to worry about how we can get better every single game.”

Westbrook sank two key free throws with 14.8 seconds to seal the victory. Earlier, Minnesota coach Rick Adelman even tried 6-foot-11 forward-center Anthony Randolph in a futile bid to check the Thunder’s offensive catalyst.

“We tried everybody,” Minnesota guard Jose Barea told the Oklahoma of trying to defend Westbrook. ”He’s tough, especially when he’s making the midrange and the 3-point shot.”

Their combined efforts paced Saturday’s Studs and Duds.


Oklahoma City F Kevin Durant: Blistered Minnesota for 43 points and seven rebounds and was plus-14 in the Thunder’s victory.

Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook: Notched 35 points, eight assists and was plus-17 in the Thunder’s victory at Minnesota.

Los Angeles Clippers G Chris Paul: Went for 28 points, 13 assists, four rebounds, three steals and was plus-11 in the Clippers’ triumph over Golden State.

Memphis F Rudy Gay: Went for 26 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in the Grizzlies’ victory over Utah.

Indiana C Roy Hibbert: Muscled for 23 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and was plus-14 in the Pacers’ triumph at Milwaukee.

Golden State G Nate Robinson: Came off the bench to score 28 points, eight assists, five rebounds and was plus-12 in the Warriors’ loss at the Clippers.


Golden State G Charles Jenkins: The rookie from Hofstra missed all four shots with three turnovers and was minus-20 in the Warriors’ loss at the Clippers.

Oklahoma City F-G James Harden: Clanked through a 1-for-11 shooting effort with a turnover and was a game-worst minus-18 in the Thunder’s victory at Minnesota.

Milwaukee C Drew Gooden: The former Spur went 2 for 10 from the field with three turnovers and was minus-7 in the Bucks’ loss to Indiana.

New Jersey G Deron Williams: Notched 14 assists, but was 3 for 12 from the field with four turnovers and was a game-worst minus-16 in the Nets’ loss at Boston.

Phoenix C Marcin Gortat: Went 3 for 12 from the field and was a game-worst minus-27 in the Suns’ loss to the Spurs.