This USA basketball team is bad. After back to back losses to Nigeria and Australia, they would be lucky to medal, let alone win gold. Well what’s the issue? Is it coaching? Defense? Is the world finally catching up the U.S. in basketball? Yes. But how can we fix it?
1. Bring in an Interior Defender
Yes, this team is missing some guys who will be key for the Olympic run (Booker, Middleton, and Holiday) due to the Finals. And yes, this team is very talented. However, with all that considered, the interior defense will still struggle. Adebayo is a versatile defender, and Green has been great on the defensive end throughout his career. Outside of them though, this team will struggle on the inside. Bringing in a guy like Julius Randle to help shoulder the defensive load and provide some scoring off the bench will help immensely. Hell, bring in Dennis Rodman, he’ll bring some intensity (and weirdness) to that side of the ball. Plus, his buddy Kim might bribe some officials to help Rodman get a ring.
2. Where is Carmelo?
Carmelo Anthony is arguably the greatest player in Team USA basketball history, being the leader in points, rebounds, and games played. While he won’t help with the defensive end, this team will greatly benefit from his veteran leadership. He also wouldn’t be okay with the shame of not winning gold again.
3. Fire Gregg Popovich
Professionals started playing for Team USA in 1992:— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 13, 2021
July 21, 1992-July 9, 2021: 10,581 days, 2 exhibition losses
July 10-July 12, 2021: 3 days, 2 exhibition losses pic.twitter.com/nS7iGQ3KRl
Yes, he is one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. And yes, he was an assistant under Coach K. But, Pop has not proven to be a good coach for Team USA. From 1992 to 2019, the U.S. had a 140-9 record (93.9 winning percentage). That includes the 2004 Bronze Medal team, which Popovich was an assistant for. This also includes one loss during the 2019 Pan American games, and two losses in the 2019 World Cup, where America placed seventh. Pop was the head coach for both teams. With a win percentage of 69.2, Popovich is not living up the Team USA Basketball pedigree.
4. Hire Don Nelson
Don Nelson is 81, and doesn’t have an extensive resume when it comes to international coaching. However, he is a winner. In his lone tournament, the 1994 FIBA World Championship, Don Nelson’s team went 8-0 and won the tournament. But that’s not why he should be brought on…
As I said, Team USA Basketball has a defense problem. So did the Warriors in the early 90’s, and Don Nelson made them the highest scoring, most fun team in NBA history. Seeing guys like Durant, Lillard, and Tatum run the Run TMC offense would be electric and will make Team USA basketball win gold by a comfortable margin.