Bob Hill Rumors
When asked if he had any relationship with Popovich, Hill laughed and said, “No.” Hill said he doesn’t lament San Antonio’s success under Popovich. “If it was that hard [to deal with] I wouldn’t live here,” he said. “It’s not hard for me. I know what happened. It’s been interesting to watch the team grow. The great thing about the Spurs is they have a great team but they have really great people. It’s all come to fruition right now.” But when asked about those years, when the Spurs were in transition with an aging Robinson and before Duncan emerged as a possibility, Hill wishes things had turned out differently. “I didn’t have any idea [Popovich wanted to coach], I had an idea after the second year [in 1995-96] and two teams called and asked for permission to talk to me and they wouldn’t give them permission,” he said. “I had a pretty strong feeling at that point if he had a chance to fire me, he was going to. I probably should have just resigned and got out of here. I stayed and he got the job. I’m sure he had that in mind all along.”
Seventeen years later, Popovich is a likely Hall of Fame coach with four NBA titles and one win from his fifth. Hill has lived in San Antonio for the past 11 years and has spent several years coaching in China, Taiwan, and Japan. “It’s part of life — [Popovich] always wanted to be the head coach, I just didn’t recognize it quick enough,” Hill said. “Listen, the last two games they have played against Miami have been just phenomenal. They have kicked Miami’s butt from one baseline to the other baseline, every facet of basketball, they’ve dominated. They’ve done it as a team and that’s a credit to the players. “When you play that well, you have to give them credit. They deserve it. What you’re witnessing with this team is real.”
Santa Cruz (Calif.) Warriors coach Casey Hill and staff are fully integrated and invested in the mission of the parent club, the Golden State Warriors. Hill, son of former NBA head coach Bob Hill, was promoted after two seasons as a Santa Cruz assistant. “The foundation of what we’re doing (in Santa Cruz) has a lot to do with what Golden State is doing,” said Hill, 30, who reports to Kirk Lacob, the Santa Cruz Warriors general manager and son of Golden State owner Joe Lacob. “I really paid attention during (Golden State) training camp. I got all their (offensive) actions, and we’re using all their terminology, using their actions. I feel I’m obligated to do that, because: A) It’s Golden State that’s running it. It’s their team, and this thing needs to be implemented where we’re developing players. … And, B) It’s my obligation to make it kind of a synergic kind of relationship where they send a player to us, he understands the system to us right away. Or if we send a player to them, he’s got a really good base knowledge of what they have set.”
Cartwright is the second former NBA head coach to be put in charge of a team in Japan’s professional league. Bob Hill, who coached Cartwright in 1986-87, guided the now-defunct Tokyo Apache during the 2010-11 campaign. Cartwright says he’ll be with Osaka until the end of the season and then decide what he’ll do next. “You never know,” Cartwright said. “If you had told me in January that I would be over here I would have said you are crazy. I am a basketball coach, I know that, so I’ll be coaching somewhere.”
At the beginning of September, Nakase attended a coaching clinic at the team’s practice site. She almost didn’t go, thinking it sounded too basic for someone with her experience. But Bob Hill was in her head again. Never turn down an invitation to step foot inside an NBA facility. So Nakase went to the clinic, convincing herself that good things happen when you least expect it. The clinic was pretty much Coaching 101. The man running it, however, was Dave Severns, the Clippers’ director of player personnel. He quickly noticed Nakase’s aptitude and made her his partner in demonstrating drills. She, in turn, chatted him up during every break in the action. By night’s end, Nakase had Severns’ email address and an open invitation to drop him a line. In years past, Nakase might have waited a few days to reach out to someone like Severns, being careful not to seem too eager. But when she got home from the clinic, she sent him a note and boldly requested to watch Clippers star Blake Griffin work out the next day. Severns responded immediately: Come on over.
Two decades later, Nakase is the first female head coach in Japan’s men’s pro basketball history. She was named the Saitama Broncos sideline supervisor after Dean Murray was relieved of his coaching duties on Nov. 24. Now she wants to begin taking Japanese lessons in order to become an effective communicator on and off the court. “Eight of the players speak Japanese only, and I don’t speak Japanese at all,” the 31-year-old admitted during a Foreign Sportswriters Association of Japan meeting on Monday. Despite having a translator available during games, “I instantly want to talk to one of the players immediately, making a switch or something in the game.” When she replaced Murray, Nakase, a native of Huntington Beach, California, experienced a night that many first-time parents can relate to. “There wasn’t any sleep,” Nakase said, describing her life-changing job opportunity. “The first person I called was my dad and I’m like, ‘Dad, guess what’s happening?’ And he was just as shocked as I was. And I’m like, ‘What do you think.’ His best advice to me was, ‘Natalie, just don’t be afraid to fail.’ ”