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Gregg Popovich: “[The Nets] are going in the right direction”

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

When Sean Marks was first introduced as GM of the Brooklyn Nets, he immediately gave praise to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and General Manger R.C. Buford, who encouraged Nets’ brass to take a chance on Marks.

“I’m privileged to have had the opportunity in San Antonio to be around some really great staff members. Both Coach Pop and R.C. Buford were tremendous mentors for me,” Marks said a little less than two years back.

The praise has been reciprocated from Coach Pop to Sean Marks and the job he’s done since coming to Brooklyn.

“With Sean, he’s going to stay the course. He knows what needs to be done, he knows how to build a culture… he knows what that entails. Part of that is persistence, being able to persist in what you know is going to work,” Popovich said before the Nets and Spurs faced off on Wednesday.

“[His] intelligence level is off the charts, sense of humor off the charts, compassionate and empathetic guy yet willing to make decisions.

“When he would sit in our meetings when he was GM’ing or coaching, he was always somebody whose presence exuded gravitas and he was somebody you could always listen to and go to for opinions.”

Popovich went on to explain how becoming an assistant coach with the Spurs may have helped Marks understand different perspectives – or the best of all three worlds as a player, coach, and now GM.

“As you guys probably know we kept him coaching for a whole year, so you could see that side of it. That’s the kind of student he is. He wanted to see it from that perspective.

“Player’s perspective and management perspective is different from a coach’s perspective. It was good for him to do that, not many people get to do that before you become GM, so it’ll serve him well. He’s a wonderful man, miss him a lot.”

It didn’t stop there. The five-time NBA Champion coach further explained how the Nets are “heading in the right direction,” particularly under Marks, but also under head coach Kenny Atkinson.

“With each week, month and year that goes by, the Nets will be closer to being where every team wants to be, and that’s competing in the playoffs. You can tell the decisions he’s made, you can tell by Kenny [Atkinson] demanding and being fair at the same time – working with these young kids. It’s going in the right direction.”

We certainly hope so.

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VIDEO:

And of course, Pop offered some of his insight and philosophy... off the court.