The coach whose team has the best record in its conference two weeks prior to the All-Star game coaches the All-Star game, but a coach can’t receive the honor in consecutive years. That eliminates Steve Kerr, who coached the West last season and whose Warriors lead the conference this year.
But what about Luke Walton, Golden State’s assistant coach and acting head coach for most of the season?
The NBA considered his case and deemed him ineligible.
With no other Western Conference team capable of catching the Spurs in the standings, that means Gregg Popovich is headed to Toronto.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will coach the Western Conference All-Stars in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, to be televised by TNT at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 14 from Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Head coaches whose teams have the best records in each conference following the games played two weeks prior to the All-Star Game serve as the All-Star Game head coaches, but no head coach is allowed to participate in two consecutive All-Star Games.
Interim head coach Luke Walton led the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 record in the season’s first 43 games prior to the Jan. 22 return of head coach Steve Kerr. Despite Golden State holding the conference’s best record (41-4, .911), Kerr is ineligible for the coaching honor because he led last year’s West All-Stars. Popovich’s Spurs (38-7, .844) have clinched the next best record in the Western Conference, earning the five-time NBA Champion his fourth nod as the head coach of the West.
Though it’s easy to joke Popovich would prefer to spend his break drinking wine and relaxing, he has previously expressed his gratitude for the honor.