On Thursday, Team USA takes on Japan. It should be an easy game but we’ve heard that before this year.
With the US moving to small ball and questions, not to mention criticisms, swirling, we don’t want to pile on. We’ve always had immense respect for the US coach Gregg Popovich and we don’t want to join everyone second-guessing him. He got a tough job and it got tougher as guys left. And he has excellent assistants, including Steve Kerr.
That said, the move to small ball kind of intrigued us and made us think if you have to do that, aside from Kerr, who’s really good at it? Who has a history of working with small teams, who really understands pressure defense and who isn’t particularly busy lately?
Who would kill for an important job and see it as a real chance for redemption?
Ladies and gentlemen, if for any reason Gregg Popovich either can’t finish or decides not to, there’s one guy who Basketball USA should call right away and that guy is Rick Pitino.
Aside from the fact that his style is up tempo and relies on pressure and transition baskets, all of which address international weaknesses, Pitino just spent a year competing in Europe and won a championship. He knows what to do.
Out of all the potentially available coaches, there is no one who is better suited, has better experience or a bigger need to succeed with this team than Pitino. You literally couldn’t dream up a better situation for both program and coach. They’d be ideally matched.