Coach of the Year
Named Western Conference Coach of the Month in December and March ... Spurs won 63 games, best in the Western Conference and the most in their franchise history ... Ranked second in the NBA in scoring defense (88.75 ppg) ... Ranked fourth in field goal percentage (.472) and third in field goal percentage defense (.433) ... Ranked second in three point percentage (.385).
You heard all season long about how Tim Duncan was not at 100 percent. Manu Ginobili was in and out of the lineup all season. Robert Horry missed 19 games. The defending champs were just not the same team that they've been in the past, seeming much more vulnerable on any given night. Then you look up and they've won 63 games, holding off the Mavs for the best record in the West. That's why Gregg Popovich is the best coach in the NBA. He just gets the job done.
-- John Schuhmann
From the media:
Popovich has kept his team hungry as the defending NBA champions. The Spurs have played games without guard Manu Ginobili, and forward Tim Duncan has been hobbled because of foot problems. Yet the Spurs have the second-best record in the NBA.
-- Kansas City Star
A fan's take:
Manu hurt all year. Timmy going about 70 percent all year. Horry not that healthy; along with Nick Van Exel showing his age. This year's team has not clicked like previous teams, but still the Spurs still had best record in their history. Nobody even mentions his name. He has a much more difficult task than Flip by far, but he is being considered.
Coach of the Year - The Candidates:
Mike D'Antoni - Phoenix Suns
Mike Dunleavy Sr. - Los Angeles Clippers
Avery Johnson - Dallas Mavericks
Gregg Popovich - San Antonio Spurs
Flip Saunders - Detroit Pistons
Others worth consideration: Mike Brown, Rick Carlisle, Lawrence Frank, Mike Fratello, Pat Riley, Byron Scott