Gregg Popovich has earned the spot as head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars, thanks to the Spurs’ win over the Bobcats on Wednesday.
The victory ensured that San Antonio will have the best record in the West by the Feb. 3 deadline the league uses to make the determination. While it’s possible for thje Thunder to have a higher winning percentage by then, Oklahoma City’s head coach Scott Brooks coached the All-Stars in 2012, and coaches are prohibited from receiving the honor in consecutive seasons.
Popovich may seem like someone who would just as soon skip the midseason exhibition for an extended vacation in wine country, especially given his propensity to rest both his players and himself at seemingly random points throughout the regular season.
But the head coach who is now in his 17th season at the helm of the Spurs actually respects the game as much as anyone, and seemed to appreciate the honor of coaching the league’s best players.
“It will be just like it has been in the past: a heck of an opportunity to enjoy amazing talent,” Popovich said after his team’s 102-78 victory over the Bobcats. “That’s not just a B.S. or trite statement. It’s true. When you’re around those guys, you look around the room and you can’t believe you’re in the same room with them. It’s a huge honor just to be a part of it.”
The Eastern Conference will likely see Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat earning the honor as its head coach. Miami needs just one more win to clinch the best record, and last season Tom Thibodeau of the Bulls coached the All-Stars, making Spoelstra eligible this season.