The official photograph of the Nets coaching staff is remarkable for one reason: of the six men pictured, Avery Johnson and his five assistants, four either worked or played for Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson of course won a ring with the Spurs in 1999. So did Mario Elie. P.J. Carlesimo won three as Popovich's assistant. The Nets newest assistant coach, Patrick Spurgin, in charge of player development, joined the Spurs as a video intern in 2007, just missing the last championship. He was assistant video coordinator and basketball operations intern under Popovich, before joining the Nets as video coordinator in 2010. Spurgin (pronounced SPUR-gin?) is one of the NBA's youngest assistants.
It doesn't end there. Nixon Dorvilien, the Nets new assistant trainer, served as equipment manager and assistant trainer for the Spurs as well as head trainer for their D-League team, the Austin Toros, and summer league teams. He joined the Spurs in 2005, meaning he was part of the 2007 title team. At Austin, Dorvilien was instrumental in developing sports science initiatives, including a practice vest that measures a player's vital statistics. The Toros were D-League champions last season.