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Former Spurs Assistants & Players Dominating as Coaches in NBA Playoffs

Gregg Popovich’s influence is littered across coaching staffs in the 2022 NBA Playoffs

Despite the San Antonio Spurs falling two play-in wins short of the postseason, coach Gregg Popovich's extensive tree of former players and assistants is still alive and well across staffs in the second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. 

In total, six of the eight remaining head coaches in the playoffs have a Spurs connection, though only five are directly connected to Popovich: 


Budenholzer, 52, might be the most decorated of Popovich's former disciples. Before winning a championship as coach of the Bucks last season, "Coach Bud" spent 17 years as an assistant with the Spurs from 1996-2013. He won four rings with the team during that time.

Budenholzer won the NBA's Coach of the Year during his second season with the Atlanta Hawks in 2015. He followed this up in 2019 with the Bucks, winning the honor for the second time in his career. 


Williams, 50, played and served on San Antonio's staff much like Udoka did. The 24th overall pick in 1994 out of Notre Dame played two seasons with the Knicks before joining the Spurs for the first two seasons of Popovich's coaching tenure. Williams then earned a ring as a coaching staff intern with the team after San Antonio won the 2005 title. 

Last season, he led the Suns to the NBA Finals, but lost to Budenholzer's Bucks in six games. Instead of falling into a slump, Williams led the Suns to a franchise-best 64-18 record this season, helping the team earn the No. 1 overall seed in the 2022 playoffs. 

There's also a small Spurs connection with Doc Rivers, who played his final two NBA seasons for the franchise from 1994 to 1996. 

The way things are playing out, we could continue to see the Spurs have a major influence on success for the remaining playoff teams headed into the NBA Finals.