Thursday, June 11, 2009

POPOVICH HALL OF FAME? - Pops not a household name

As Phil Jackson sets his sites on another NBA title and a Hall of Fame induction, Greg Popovich goes about his duties getting very little respect. If you asked 100 people on the street what Greg Popovich did for a living, I bet you less than 67 percent (Popovich's win percentage) of the people couldn't tell you. Why is Greg Popovich never mentioned amongst the all-time great coaches? Why is his name not etched in our mind like that of Phil Jackson? Now, he is by no means as great a coach as Jackson but he does deserve as Bill Murray says in Caddyshack, "a little something for the effort". Popovich is as good and has better numbers then many NBA coaches that are currently in the Hall of Fame. His numbers are better than the likes of Pat Riley, Lenny Wilkens, Jack Ramsey, Larry Brown and Jerry Sloan, all Hall of Famers. Let me prove my point:

Argument #1 - Just Win Baby

Popovich has a higher win percentage than all the coaches mentioned above. His .675 is amazing. Larry Brown (.527), Pat Riley (.636), Lenny Wilkens (.536) all pail in comparison. Popovich just wins games. In fact if you throw out the first of his 13 seasons he has never finished lower than 2nd in the division.

Argument #2 - Show Me The Ring

Popovich again outshines the other Hall of Fame coaches. In his 13 year career he has won four NBA titles. In Fact he has won three in a five year span. Compare this to Riley, Wilkens, Brown, Ramsey and Sloan who have only a COMBINED 8 titles in over 100 years of coaching. Give Popovich 10 more years and lets see how many titles he comes up with.

Argument #3 - Win or Go Home

Nothing says good coaching then winning when it counts and Popovich does this with the best of them. 102 playoff wins and a .618 playoff winning percentage is nothing to sneeze at. Hall of Famers Jack Ramsey and Jerry Sloan are both under 50% while Larry Brown (.529) and Pat Riley (.608) still don't top Popovich.

Argument #4 - Loyalty

My favorite player of all-time was the Ice Man (followed closely by David Robinson...he was a fantasy basketball monster), my favorite team was the Spurs so how about some love for my favorite Spurs coach. I have to be loyal to my team and therefore he deserves to be in the Hall.

Now Popovich is not the best coach of all-time nor is he the best active coach but I can tell you that he is the most underrated coach around. Too many of us look at the total number of wins that a coach has to determine his worth. We focus on longevity instead of the actual production. Popovich many not have the total wins but he does deserve serious consideration for the NBA Hall of Fame. So the next time you talk to someone about the NBA don't forget to mention Greg Popovich.

Top 5 Most Underrated NBA Coaches of All-Time

1.Greg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs)

2.Billy Cunningham (Philadelphia 76ers)

3. K.C. Jones (Washington, Boston, Seattle)

4. Don Nelson (Millwaukee, Golden State, New York, Dallas)

5. Rudy Tomjanovich (Houston, Los Angeles Lakers

Honorable Mention: Bill Russell, Flip Saunders, George Karl, Stan Van Gundy


  1. The Ice Man was simply poetry in motion. I miss watching him...

    On the other hand, Don Nelson in the top five of underrated coaches? Sure he has been innovative, but I'd put him near the top of the list of overrated coaches.


  2. A .565 winning percentage and 3 time coach of the year with some bad teams (Golden State for example). That is pretty impressive in comparison to many other coaches that have made the Hall.