Team USA’s loss to France in their first game of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo has sent shockwaves through the sports world. But it appears to have also exposed some growing frustrations between the players and head coach Gregg Popovich.
According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the players are supposedly frustrated by Popovich’s insistence on running the offense he runs with the San Antonio Spurs. Popovich is similarly frustrated by his own coaching record since taking over the team.
“To be clear, Popovich is horrified by his own record coaching this team,” Vardon wrote. “He dwells on it and hates the losing. The players are frustrated, too, grumbling on their way back to the locker room about ‘running the San Antonio offense’ when apparently they feel like there are better ideas. Pop has said, because of the truncated nature of Team USA’s training camp, the offense would be based on ‘concepts’ instead of set plays.”
Team USA lost 83-76 to France in their first game of the Olympics. It was the first loss the U.S. had suffered at the Olympics since the 2004 Olympic Semifinals.
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) July 25, 2021
Gregg Popovich has yet to make his mark on Team USA since taking over as head coach after the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Team USA finished seventh in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. But while many blamed the lack of talent on the roster for that shortcoming, Popovich has had far fewer excuses this time.
In the history of basketball at the Summer Olympics, Team USA has never failed to medal in an Olympics that they’ve participated in.
Team USA now have two must-win games to right the ship. They play Iran on Wednesday, followed by the Czech Republic on Saturday.
Can Gregg Popovich lead Team USA into the knockout round.