San Antonio Spurs

Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle Calls Gregg Popovich 'Coach of the Century'

SAN ANTONIO, TX - April 22: San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich, Head Coach and President of Spurs Basketball, answers questions  at a Press Conference where he was named 2013-2014 NBA Coach of the Year at the Spurs Practice Facility on April 22, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images)
D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images
Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2014

Fresh off being named NBA Coach of the Year, Gregg Popovich received some very high praise from the man who won the award in 2002.

According to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had this to say shortly before his team tipped off against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday:

Why don't we just give him Coach of the Century? I mean, he's the greatest. Obviously, [Coach of the Year is] very well deserved. They were almost a wire-to-wire top seed in the league, and he's the best. He's the best.

As if that wasn't enough, Carlisle has paid his respect to Popovich in the sincerest form of flattery as well:

This is the third time Popovich has captured the Coach of the Year honor. According to MacMahon, "He joined Don Nelson and Pat Riley as the only three-time winners of the award." Popovich's first two came in 2003 and 2012. 

But "Coach of the Century?"

Maybe if Carlisle's talking about the century that started in 2000—but even then—Phil Jackson's got that cornered, right? Or at least there's a debate: 

Popovich vs. Jackson Since the Turn of the Century
Conference ChampionshipsNBA Championships
PopovichFourThree
JacksonSevenFive
Basketball-Reference.com

And if this imaginary award is based on the last century, you have to consider Red Auerbach as well. He won nine titles with the Boston Celtics, including eight straight from 1959 to 1966.

Popovich is definitely one of the best ever, and in my opinion, the best coach currently in the NBA. But I'm not ready to dub him as the best in 100 years yet.

Ask me again in July.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

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