USA Basketball announced the assistant coaches that will assist head coach Greg Popovich in his quest to continue Team USA’s dominance in International competition.
Steve Kerr (head coach Golden State Warriors), Nate McMillan (head coach Indiana Pacers) and Jay Wright (head coach Villanova Wildcats) were named to the staff.
Each coach brings something different.
Being an NBA head coach sometimes is a thankless job when it comes to getting credit unless it’s perceived that you did something innovative. Kerr didn’t do anything of the such. What he did was proved that if the Warriors’ roster opened up and passed the ball more, they would basically be unstoppable. Guess what… they’re unstoppable.
Ball movement is key in any FIBA based competition. Many of the better international teams use the Horn Set as their base to get screening and movement. In Team USA’s case they don’t have to do that. Their ability to push the ball at an efficient rate gets the defense in a scrambling mode allowing things to open up.
With Kerr’s philosophy, Team USA will be able to do this even more allowing them to get three pointers from all the hot points on the court along with opening driving lanes.
Coach McMillan’s teams are known for their toughness on both ends but especially on the defensive end. Per NBA.com, Victor Oladipo and Thaddeus Young were third and fourth, respectively, in deflections last season. They were also first and third in Contested 3 Pt shots.
Both categories are essential in the International game. With the movement the better teams in the world use, Team USA will need to be locked in on the defensive end of the court. McMillan’s defensive philosophy has played well in the NBA and it should on this level also.
Like Kerr and Popovich, Jay Wright brings a championship pedigree to the staff. Wright’s Villanova Wildcats have won two of the last three national championships. His offensive philosophy has been effective against man and zone. It’s always important to have a college coach on staff to help teach how to deal with team’s who zone.
Also, if Team USA wanted to implement some 1-2-2 pressure, who better to teach it? Wright’s Wildcat teams have used the 1-2-2 effectively. It slows teams down. It turns them over both dead ball and live ball. It’s unclear is Team USA will use it but it’s there if they need it.