With his fifth NBA Finals appearance in the past 15 seasons, the San Antonio Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich should have his face etched into the Mount Rushmore of NBA head coaches. The question is where does he rank among the greatest men to pace the sidelines of a basketball court?
Ever since his first full season as the Spurs' head coach in 1997-98, San Antonio has been the poster children for consistency. They've made the playoffs in each of the last 16 seasons and have won four championships.
Coincidentally, the team's impressive run started when they used the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft on a fundamentally-sound big man out of Wake Forest named Tim Duncan. The pairing of Popovich and Duncan has elevated both men into rare air and routine discussions over their place in NBA history.
Duncan has established himself as arguably the greatest power forward to ever take the court.
As for Popovich, his standing among the all-time coaching ranks is about to be broken down.
The criteria for this list is made up of three factors. The biggest key was longevity and consistency. To be among the greatest to ever draw up a pick-and-roll, you have to have a substantial body of work.
As great as Erik Spoelstra has been the past three seasons, his overall resume is a bit lacking to be worth consideration. The same can be said for Doc Rivers, who didn't really establish himself as an elite coach until Boston's "Big Three" was formed in 2007.
Secondly, wins and championships were thrown into the mix. The reason this was the No. 2 factor was because it is easy to rate players and coaches based on rings. However, it doesn't tell the whole story. Rick Carlisle has won more championships than Jerry Sloan, but would you consider him better than the former Utah taskmaster? I don't think so.
Lastly, the era in which these coaches dominated was taken into account. Racking up a ton of wins is only as impressive as the teams you're playing against.
The main list is comprised of five men, but three honorable mentions were thrown in because it was tough to make a list of great coaches without them.