SAN ANTONIO (AP) A year ago, San Antonio’s seo program was the envy of the country.
Now it’s a joke.
The city that invented the sport, San Jose, is in the throes of a national lockout, its city officials and seo coaches say, as the San Antonio Spurs and their new coach, Gregg Popovich, look on.
Popovich has spent his life in sports, first as a player and then as a coach, and he is in his second season as the Spurs’ coach.
But it’s still early in his tenure.
His team has struggled, its bench is filled with veterans who haven’t proven they belong, and Popovich is looking for a different challenge.
San Antonio is not a perfect place for a coach.
The seo system has not evolved as quickly as the NBA has and the Spurs have struggled to win games despite being in a playoff spot.
Pop is trying to shake that image, especially in the face of his team’s dismal season, and it is a task that may prove difficult, given the seo-heavy schedule that comes with the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.
The Spurs also are coming off their worst home season in 25 years.
They will play a team that will not be the best in the NBA next season, one that has struggled to make the playoffs since the team moved to San Antonio in 2002.
“I’m not going to be a big fan of any program,” Popovich said after the team’s preseason loss to the Detroit Pistons.
“But I think it’s important for us to be on the right path.”
He added, “I think we’ve done a good job.”
San Antonio will play its first regular-season game Thursday against Sacramento, with the first game being the season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“We’ve got to keep going,” Popovic said.
“That’s the key.
It’s been really, really difficult.”
Popovich spent his childhood in San Jose and spent three years there as a teenager.
He has worked as a sports writer at the San Jose Mercury News and has a book out.
He took over the Spurs in 2012 and was a key part of the team that reached the Western Conference finals.
The team had a disappointing regular season that included a 20-11 record and missed the playoffs.
San Jose had been on a three-game winning streak that ended in April, when it was swept by Phoenix.
Popovic has spent the last four seasons in San Francisco, and San Jose coach Mike Brown has been a fan of Popovich since they were both players at the University of Southern California.
Brown had been a part of Pop’s coaching staff with the San Diego Padres, but he was fired after just one season.
Pop has a strong track record in San Diego, as Brown was an assistant with the Spurs from 2007-12 and Brown coached Pop to two World Series titles with San Jose.
He spent four years as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Phillies and four years in the San Francisco 49ers’ front office.
“He is a coach that I’ve been around, who’s got great experience,” Brown said.
Brown said he expects the team to be better this year, and has been optimistic about the Spurs prospects since they won the NBA title in 2011.
“It’s going to take a lot of things to change things in this city, but I think the thing that will make the most difference is having the right person on the floor with the right mindset,” Brown added.
“The only thing we know for sure is that this is a good, competitive team.”
San Jose won’t be as talented as its predecessors but the Spurs are confident.
“There’s no doubt that we are going to win,” Pop, a former Spurs assistant, said.
San Francisco is the only team in the league to not have a starting lineup with more than 10 players.
Pop won his first NBA championship as an NBA player, as a senior with the Los Angles Lakers, in 1990.
He won two more with the Miami Heat, then played a season in Boston, where he became the team captain.
He retired after the 2002-03 season.
“A lot of guys, they have the talent, but they don’t have the work ethic, they don.
I’ve coached guys with a lot more work ethic than this one has,” Brown, a two-time NBA coach of the year, said of the Spurs.
“This is a guy who’s going out there every day with a full, full mind.
He’s going through the motions and he’s doing his job.
It shows a lot about the level of the organization.
He’ll be a great coach.”
San Francisco also has not had a winning season since 2005.
The 49ers won their first season with Popovich in 2006.
He was fired four games into the season in 2006 after failing to get the 49ers to the playoffs for the first time since 1991.
Pop spent two seasons