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Houston Rockets hire former Spurs development coach, Ben Sullivan

The Popovich coaching tree continues to spread it’s roots

NBA: Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Former Spurs player and assistant coach, Ime Udoka, has hired another former member of Gregg Popovich’s staff. The Rockets are rebuilding their staff as they look to turn their franchise from perennial lottery team, to playoff contender.

Jeff Garcia of KENS5 reported that Ben Sullivan is joining Houston’s staff as a developmental coach. Sullivan was a video intern for San Antonio dating back to 2012, crossing over with Udoka’s time with the franchise. Sullivan worked alongside legendary shooting coach, Chip Engellend, on the Spurs scouting and development team.

He left San Antonio in 2014 to join Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta then followed him to Milwaukee in 2018. He joined Udoka’s Boston staff in 2021, and has been there since. Sullivan, who played his college ball at Portland University, is just another former member of the San Antonio staff who have found long career in NBA.

Suddenly the Spurs and Rockets rivalry has gotten interesting again. James Harden could be returning to Houston, and the team is rumored to have a playoff mandate. They will likely be adding veteran talent and pushing their young core at the same time the Spurs are adding one of the best prospects in recent memory, Victor Wembanyama.

The French teenager had a visceral reaction of joy to the Rockets getting the 1st overall pick. This caused Houston’s 2022 draft selection, Jabari Smith Jr. to tweet his disdain for the 7-foot-5 teenager. This alongside a Spursian staff in Houston could mean the stakes of this rivalry could be raised once again.