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Jacque Vaughn moves up the bench, goes from rotation afterthought to assistant coach

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Jacque Vaughn made a career out of backing up the backup and stepping in as a stopgap during times of crisis. He averaged just 9.8 points and 5.5 assists per 36 minutes for his career, which are both less than exemplary marks to say the least.

Regardless, Vaughn will take that pedigree (if we can call it that) with him as he joins the San Antonio Spurs, the team with which he spent his final three NBA seasons, as an assistant coach. From Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News:

On paper, Vaughn replaces video coordinator James Borrego, who left after seven seasons to join new coach Monty Williams’ staff in New Orleans. In truth, Vaughn will fill a role on Popovich’s bench that didn’t exist last season.

Tony Parker’s former backup is now an extra assistant coach.

“We didn’t really have a spot for him -- I just made it up,” Popovich said. “That’s how badly we wanted him. We didn’t want to lose him to someone else.”

Vaughn may not have been an especially productive player, but having an accomplished NBA playing career isn’t a prerequisite for coaching success. Gregg Popovich clearly thinks enough of Vaughn’s basketball know-how to add him as a member of his staff, and Pop is not a basketball mind I’d like to make a habit out of disagreeing with.

When Popovich, who made the Spurs one of the most successful sports franchises of the decade in part due to his knack for surrounding himself with intelligent coaches and managers, tells me that Vaughn is worth a spot on his bench, I’ll nod along.