"I am an assistant coach here and was a head coach there, so that's a whole different dynamic," Finch said. "But the readiness to play so many different styles on top of each other is something we deal with here in the NBA. That's similar. The more you coach, the more situations you're in, the more familiar you become with everything that comes up down the road. That's the biggest benefit."
Even though the international game varies greatly from the NBA version, Brown and Finch said they were able to bring some ideas home to try with the Spurs and Rockets. The Spurs have long been leaders in incorporating international components into the domestic game, so they never hesitated when Brown was approached about leading the Australians.
"The experience that he got over there doing that is great for him," Popovich said. "It's certainly added something to our program. There are things we picked up that he did during the Olympics that we've added to our offense and that kind of thing. It's been a real plus."
The Spurs (45-13) have the best record in the NBA and have added two of Brown's best players from the national team — point guard Patty Mills and big man Aron Baynes — to a roster teeming with worldly talent.
The Rockets (31-27) are in eighth place in the West and have been one of the surprises of the league this season, with Finch helping an accomplished staff get a roster with several new faces to mesh as quickly as possible. It's a similar experience to what he did with Team GB, and one that he believes is preparing him to get a head coaching job one day.
"I'm very ambitious in wanting to be a head coach when my time comes," he said.
Popovich is convinced that Brown is ready, though he thinks his loyal assistant was ready even before he took over Team Australia.
"He should get his own gig somewhere," Popovich said. "That's for sure."
Sometimes it can be difficult for an assistant who has been in one place for as long as Brown has to get his resume to the top of the pile. Maybe his Olympic work is what he needed to push him over the top.
"It does whet your appetite," Brown said. "You also realize that it's two entirely different jobs, being an assistant coach and being a head coach. That's the competitive edge, the competitive spirit, the pride of trying to do a good job and the challenge of putting a program together."
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