Popovic begins training with the US basketball team
Greg Popovich knows he doesn’t need to spend a lot of time teaching Olympic basketball.
Your top priority is to make them a team.
The process is officially underway and the first training took place on Tuesday in Las Vegas with the goal of the Olympics kicking off in less than three weeks. Popovic’s message at the team’s first meeting on Monday night and at first training on Tuesday was simple and similar: He wants to build the team fast knowing that many of the teams they’ll face in the competition have players who have played together for years.
“We must take advantage of their abilities, their strengths, and play together, and play for each other, with one mind,” Popovic declared.
This Olympic Games is Popovic’s first at the helm. He led the US national team at the 2019 Basketball World Cup in China, reunited the team after calling up scores, and some who committed to playing in the end said not always. The result was seventh place, the worst men’s basketball ever in a major international competition.
This campus is different. He has the NBA Finals player of the year, Kevin Durant. Also for players with NBA championship rings like Durant, Draymond Green and Kevin Love said, the list will grow when the NBA Finals are over, as three Olympians fight for the title series between Milwaukee and Phoenix.
“They are great players of good faith, so they are not here to develop their individual playing style,” Popovic said. “They’re here to mate, to team up, fall in love ASAP, and love it like foreign teams.”
The players arrived in Las Vegas on Monday, were flown to their hotel to settle in and had their first coronavirus test. Then they attended the team meeting in the evening. Nine of the 12 members of the Olympic team have arrived in Las Vegas, except for three, to say Chris Middleton and Guru Holiday, of the Bucks, and Devin Booker, of The Suns, because they are in the NBA Final.
Popovic greeted them warmly and began to talk about the challenge that awaits the American team.
“We know what to do,” said pivotal Pam Adebayo.
The practice started on Tuesday and will continue through the weekend. The United States plays their first international friendly against Nigeria on Saturday, and the players will spend the next few weeks together – which is exactly Popovic’s wish.