Yesterday we mentioned that Bryn Forbes seems to have found a good fit in Milwaukee, but he is not the only former member of the San Antonio Spurs to be involved in the postseason play this year. Many ex-players and as well as members of Pop’s illustrious coaching tree are not able to take vacation yet.
If you are watching the #1 ranked Utah Jazz battle it out with the Grizzlies, then you know Kyle Anderson is starting for Memphis. But the 2014 draftee (and only member of the Spurs to not get a ring at the ceremony kicking off the 2014-15 season) is not the only familiar face. Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder spent three seasons as the head coach of the Austin Toros (later the Spurs). His Assistant Coach Dell Demps played with the Spurs for sixteen games during the 1995-96 season. On the Memphis sideline sits Assistant Coach Blake Ahern, also a former Austin head coach as well as Darko Rajakovic who served as a San Antonio Spurs scout and Summer League assistant coach.
The Clippers/Mavericks match up promises to be a great series as they meet in the first round for the second season in a row. Spurs 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard anchors the Clippers and is aided by former Austin Toros assistant coach Roy Rogers. On the opposite end of the hardwood looms 7’4” Serbian center Boban Marjanovic who spent one season with the Spurs before being offered a lot more money to go play with the current opponents of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Mavericks.
The Portland Trail Blazers/Denver Nuggets has nary a San Antonio Spurs connection unless you count JaMychal Green’s stint with the Austin Spurs and his subsequent 10-day contract in San Antonio in January of 2015
Same applies for the Phoenix Suns/Los Angeles Lakers series. Only head coach Monty Williams has player ties to the Spurs over two season between 1995-1997.
Speaking of former Spurs players currently serving as head coaches, the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference is headed by Doc Rivers who crossed over Monty’s timeline 1994-1996 tenure. (For perspective, Dell Demps, Doc Rivers, and Monty Williams all played in the 1995-1996 season together.) Doc is pushing the franchise in hopes of bringing back glory with the aid of a killer bench featuring Spurs 3-and-D fan favorite Danny Green as well as Pop’s favorite George Hill. On the opposition sideline is the Latvian Laser Davis Bertans whose minutes and scoring have both increased since the three-team trade to the Washington Wizards that yielded San Antonio (checks notes . . . ) DeMarre Carroll.
A very Spurs-centric Milwaukee Bucks captained by seventeen-year assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and assisted by Chad Forcier who spent nine season with Pop not only has the force of the reigning MVP, but sharp-shooting Bryn Forbes. Looking to knock the Bucks out of the playoffs for the second year in a row are the Miami Heat aided by 2016 Spurs center Dwayne Dedmon and 2008 Spurs draftee Goran Dragic.
Considering the New York Knicks suffered at the hands of San Antonio in 1999 there may not be a lot of collaboration between former Spurs and the Knickerbockers, but current head coach Tom Thibodeau who served as an assistant coach in the exact same two season that Pop was in Golden State. Perhaps we just erase that one from our minds.
Of course Spurs fans are rooting for the Brooklyn Nets. How could we not with 2005 Champion Sean Marks as the GM (he also picked up a title as an assistant coach in 2014) and — count it — three former players serving as assistant coaches: 2014 Champion Tiago Splitter (who also dabbles in player development), 2007 Champion Jacque Vaughn, and Ime Udoka who served as an assistant alongside marks in 2014 as well as playing for the Spurs in during two stints between 2007-2012. With that much Spurs power in Brooklyn, how could anyone root for Boston?
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