Finger: For Gregg Popovich, forgetting was first step to rebuilding

Perfection wasn’t the standard, because that would have been unfair. But during the course of six years with Gregg Popovich, LaMarcus Aldridge came to realize that perfection always was going to be the goal, even if the old coach wound up pulling his hair out trying to achieve it.

Losing made Popovich sick. Mistakes, even in victories, drove him up the wall. Now, with all of his most reliable veterans having moved on to retirement or contending teams, he was volunteering for a near-certain deluge of defeats, and an onslaught of errors, and a season destined to be not only imperfect but sometimes uncompetitive.

So one day last summer, Aldridge got his longtime taskmaster on the telephone, and made sure he knew what he was getting into.

“Pop,” Aldridge said, “how are you going to do it?”

As usual, Popovich had a plan. Though it might have been difficult for Aldridge, or for anyone else, to believe at the time, the 72-year-old coach was ready to recalibrate both his outlook and his expectations.

The first step?

Intentionally forgetting a few things.

“You have to put away what was,” Popovich said, “and what could have been had we kept everyone together.”

Against all odds, it seems like he’s done that. Three months and 46 games into a season he’s openly acknowledged is about teaching and rebuilding, Popovich continues to accentuate the bright side of every loss, and to rave about the…

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