Gregg Popovich Praises Sean Marks' Work With Brooklyn Nets
The five-time NBA championship-winning coach is impressed with the culture his protege is building in Brooklyn
BROOKLYN – If it were up to Gregg Popovich, Nets General Manager Sean Marks would likely still be in San Antonio, correcting anyone who called him an “Aussie” instead of recognizing his native New Zealand. However, the NBA coach is proud of the work Marks is doing in Brooklyn.
“He’s definitely a New Zealander, not an Aussie, so don’t make that mistake,” Popovich joked before later saying. “He’s a wonderful man, I miss him a lot.”
Between his playing days and work in the front office, Marks spent six seasons with the Spurs organization. Popovich was impressed with Marks’ desire to challenge himself and keep on learning. He pointed to the current Nets GM’s stint as a coach on his staff as a way the New Zealander tried to diversify his learning experience.
“A player’s perspective and a management perspective are different from a coach’s perspective,” Popovich explained. “It was good for him to do that. Not many people get to do that before they are a GM so it will serve him well.”
Marks spent a lot of time learning during his time in San Antonio, but he was also a very valued member of both the coaching and front office staffs.
“Intelligence level is off the charts, sense of humor is off the charts, compassionate and empathic guy yet willing to make decisions,” Popovich said. “When he would sit in our meetings, whether he was GMing or coaching, he was always someone whose presence exhibited gravitas. He was someone I listened to and go to for opinions.”
Now that Marks is in Brooklyn, Popovich sees a lot of the same values being instituted with the Nets.
“With Sean, he’s going to stay the course. He knows what needs to be done, how to build a culture. He knows what that entails,” Popovich said. “Part of that is persistence and doggedness. Being able to persist in what you know is going to work.”
He added, “With each week, month and year that goes by, the Nets will be closer to being where every team wants to be – that’s competing in the playoffs…You can tell the decisions he’s made and you can tell by Kenny [Atkinson] being demanding and fair at the same time, working with these young kids, it’s all going in the right direction.”