Why Tim Duncan & Gregg Popovich Were the Best Duo Ever

When it comes to NBA player-coach duos, Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich were second to none.

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Complex Original

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One of the best things that ever happened to the San Antonio Spurs was losing 62 games in the 1996-97 season, and finishing with the third worst record in the entire league. While it was undoubtedly tough to stomach in the moment, the team's slow start led GM Gregg Popovich to install himself as the new coach. Furthermore the Spurs' win percentage turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it was low enough to land them the top draft pick, which they then used to take the consensus top hoopster in all of college basketball, a dude you probably know as Tim Duncan.

Over the next 19 years the duo formed the prototype of NBA consistency and competence by making the playoffs inevery single season, and winning a combined five NBA Finals championships. It was a relationship that worked because of the chemistry between both men, and ultimately ended with each of them being on the shortlist for the greatest to ever do either of their jobs (though, it should be mentioned that Pop's still going).

If you want to argue that Red Auerbach and Bill Russell are better, because maybe your dad said it or something when you were growing up, go for it. If you want to argue Phil Jackson and any number of his stars were better, we'd say go for that too, though the lack of drama in Duncan and Popovich's relationship seems preferable to a locker room filled with egos.

Their un-helpfulness to the media aside, the bond between Timmy and Pop was truly unique, especially in an era where most players and coaches wrestle for control of their franchise. If nothing else it should give some slight glimmer of hope to fans of teams just piling up L's with reckless abandon. And if you're wondering what exactly we mean by that, just read that first paragraph over again.

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