Report: The requirements to replace Gregg Popovich as USA Basketball coach
After some hiccups, USA men’s basketball won gold at the Tokyo Olympics with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich at the helm. Popovich is now done with Team USA, and new USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill has to choose a replacement.
Hill told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he’s hoping to pick a new coach before the 2021-22 NBA season starts in about a month. There are a number of good candidates to choose from, including options from Pop’s staff in Tokyo. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Indiana Pacers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright were all Olympic assistants in 2021.
Spears reports “a current NBA coach with previous USA Basketball experience would likely be hired as the next coach of the team.” Other coaches who fit this bill are Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan, Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams, New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Spears also tosses out Jeff Van Gundy as a candidate. Van Gundy hasn’t coached in the NBA in a while, but he has coached USA Basketball during qualifying play in recent years. While it seems unlikely that Van Gundy gets the job, it wouldn’t be totally out there.
Kerr seems like a decent bet given his success in the NBA and the fact that he was Popovich’s assistant in Tokyo. It would be a rather seamless transition, and perhaps that would help convince Stephen Curry to play in the 2024 Olympics.