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How Gregg Popovich is Different Than Most Coaches

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In my opinion one of the best things about the NBA playoffs is that the San Antonio Spurs are on national television more than usual which means I get to regularly watch and hear about their coach Gregg Popovich.

I have to admit - Popovich fascinates me, primarily because he is so different than just about everyone else who sits on a bench or paces the sidelines.

Here are five reasons why I think Gregg Popovich is different:

1. He holds everyone accountable.

How many times have you seen coaches at all levels just absolutely ream out a sub or role player for making a mistake but then completely ignores it when his "star" does the exact same thing? Well I know you've never seen that happen in San Antonio.

Pop is one of the few coaches who might be harder on his famous "stars" than he is on the players coming off the bench? If you don't believe me just ask Parker, Duncan, or Gnobli. Or you could ask Dwight Howard. During the 2013 NBA All Star game, Pop cussed out Howard for not paying attention during a timeout! During the All Star game!

2. He does not accept mediocrity - ever.

Neither the opponent nor the score matters when it comes to effort and execution. Boston Celtics coaching legend, Red Auerbach, used to sit back, relax, and light a victory cigar whenever he was sure the game's outcome had been decided. Compare those actions with Popovich's during a recent Spurs blowout win over the Portland Trailblazers. After a seemingly minor mistake Popovich lit into Tony Parker in a way that had to remind Parker of his rookie season. The tirade accomplished two things - it reminded everyone that there is a standard of excellence that needs to be respected and also sent a message to the other players that if Parker can get screamed at like that on national television what's going to happen to them if their execution fall short?

3. He doesn't care what others think and doesn't try to impress anyone.

Coach Pop doesn't do national commercials, give motivational speeches, or write bestselling books. He does in game and post game interviews only because he has to and has mastered the art of the bare minimum answer. Not too long ago he was fined $250,000 because he sent his best players home to rest before a six game road trip was finished. He had to know that the NBA wasn't going to take that lightly but didn't care because it was in the best interest of the players and the team.

4. He actually coaches.

Granted Tim Duncan was a lottery pick but Tony Parker was a late first round pick and Manu Gnobli was drafted in the second round (and didn't report to the Spurs for three years). When was the last time a James, Howard, Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Bosh, Anthony or Paul type free agent ended up in San Antonio? Never. Instead the Spurs have won with guys thought to be past their primes, unheralded role players, and unproven Europeans. Their offensive execution is unselfish and often flawless and I'm not sure there's a better coach in the NBA when it comes to drawing up plays in a timeout. The collective personality of the Spurs is they have no personality. No sizzle - all substance and that is a direct reflection of Pop's coaching and influence.

5. All he does is win, win, win.

16 straight seasons of making it to the NBA playoffs. 9 Western Conference Championship appearances. 4 NBA Championships (and Ray Allen corner 3 from making it 5), and 3 NBA Coach of the Year awards. I don't know who is on your Mt. Rushmore of NBA coaches but you'd be hard pressed to find four more successful coaches than Pop.

Maybe it's because I can relate to old school basketball and to old school basketball coaches but I really believe that most of us would be better off if we just occasionally asked ourselves, "What would Pop do?"

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