San Antonio Spurs head coach has never been one to bite his tongue. That didn’t change at 2022 Media Day on Monday.
Entering his 27th season as the Spurs’ head man, the author of some all-time great press conference snippets is also a pretty good coach. Popovich owns five NBA championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014) and three NBA Coach of the Year awards (2003, 2012, 2014), meaning he’s earned some leeway in terms of what he can get away with. That’s probably the only explanation for this — wildly truthful — quote about his own team.
“I probably shouldn’t say this,” Popovich said, per San Antonio Express-News’ Mike Finger. “Nobody here… should go to Vegas and bet on this team to win the championship. And I know somebody will say, ‘Gosh, what a Debbie downer. There’s a chance. What if they work really hard?’ It’s probably not going to happen.”
While that quote is a bit shocking to hear from an NBA head coach, it’s certainly understandable. The Spurs currently hold the worst odds to win the NBA Finals in 2023, according to FanDuel (+50000) and BetMGM (+50000). DraftKings Sportsbook gives them the second-worst odds at +100000, behind the Houston Rockets +200000.
So, if Pop doesn’t expect the Spurs to win the Finals, why did he come back to coach at 77-years-old? “…My paycheck,” he said, per San Antonio Express-News’ Tom Orsborn.
Well, there’s always hope. Maybe the Spurs can make some moves and contend in the Western Conference in 2023 and shock the world, and Popovich in particular.