Reflecting on Pop’s past head coaching opponents—Piston edition


In a piece headlined “Pop’s Incredible Longevity,” it was revealed that during his twenty-eight years as the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich had faced off against 307 different NBA coaches. This information was previously mentioned.

Ever since Bob Hill was fired from his position as coach of the Spurs in 1996, Pop has been in charge of the team, with the exception of a couple of ejections. This evening, the Spurs will contend with the Detroit Pistons.

During the years 1995 to 1998, Doug Collins was the first coach in Pop’s history to compete against the formidable Motor City. After serving as the head coach of the Detroit Lions for three years, he was terminated and his assistant, Alvin Gentry, took over the position.

Gentry began his career as a coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as an assistant in San Antonio.

He ended the 1998 season and led the Pistons to a record of 29-21 in the 1999 lockout season, which was slightly shorter than the previous season. Even though he began the centennial campaign, George Irvine eventually took over for him in the latter stages of the season.

Reflecting on Pop's past head coaching

Irvine remained with the team for the 2000-2001 season, although his career was effectively over after he finished with a record of 32-50.

During the years 2001 and 2003, the Pistons were led by Rick Carlisle, who led the team to consecutive seasons of 50-32, including championships in the Central Division and berths in the playoffs. In addition, Carlisle was honored with the title of NBA Coach of the Year in the year 2002.

Following Carlisle’s departure, Pop’s mentor Larry Brown took over as CEO of the company. Brown had consecutive seasons in which he finished with a record of 54-28 and earned a spot in the Finals.

In 2004, the Pistons were victorious over a Laker team that was loaded with All-Stars. During the 2005 NBA Finals, Pop competed against his mentor, who had been his mentor the previous year. However, the Spurs were only able to win the series after playing all seven games through.

Following his two appearances in the Finals, Brown discussed the possibility of switching teams. Consequently, the Pistons decided to employ Flip Saunders and buy him out of his contract. Saunders remained with the team for three seasons, which was the greatest constancy that Pop had seen from an opponent coach in Detroit right up to this point.

After a string of six consecutive losing seasons, the Pistons went through a succession of coaches, including John Kuester (2009-2011), Lawrence Frank (2011-2013), Maurice Cheeks, and John Loyer (2013-2014).

The Pistons finally hired Stan Van Gundy (2014-2018), who led them to one winning season and their first postseason appearance since 2009.

In order to make place for Dwane Casey, Van Gundy was relieved of his responsibilities as chairman of the basketball operations and head coach of the basketball team.

Immediately following his dismissal from the Toronto Raptors and his accomplishment of being named the 2018 NBA Coach of the Year, Casey relocated to Detroit. The longest tenure since Chuck Daly was achieved by him, which spanned five seasons.

During Casey’s half-decade as head coach of the Pistons, the team reached the playoffs only once, while being in a seemingly never-ending cycle of rebuilding. At the moment, he is working in the front office for the Pistons.

Before tonight’s game, Monty Williams, a former player for the Spurs, is leading the Pistons into the arena. Williams was also a staff intern with the Silver and Black during the 2005 Championship season. He worked for the Golden State Warriors.

Since the Pistons have a record of 3-33, they represent the Spurs’ best opportunity to win.


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