"Just a really knowledgeable guy, a people person, very mature. A sad day to have somebody lose a job like that," Popovich said, according to Raul Dominguez of The Associated Press. "Now, we all know it's a volatile environment and that type of thing, but you don't want to miss on people like him."
Popovich added: "It's like missing on a really good player in the draft or evaluating somebody wrongly. He's the kind of guy you can build a culture around."
The NBA's longest-tenured coach then took a subtle dig at the Hawks for making what some perceive as a rushed decision.
"There's got to be leadership enough that understands it takes time, and continuity is important, and that is not always available in our league as far as management and ownership are concerned," Popovich said. "A little bit more understanding about how a program gets built for success over the long run would have served this situation well.
"Unfortunately, it was a negative for Lloyd, but he will be hired and he will lead a program very soon, I'm sure."
The Hawks, who've been hampered by injuries this season, sit at 14-20 after beginning the campaign 4-1.