USA basketball announced on Friday that Gregg Popovich will replace Mike Kryzyzewski as the head coach of USA Basketball when Kryzyzewski steps down after the 2016 Olympics. It’s a shame to see Kryzyzewski leaving the helm, as he led the U.S. to gold medals in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, the 2008 & 2012 Olympics, the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and the 2014 FIBA World Cup, posting a 75-1 record in that time. But Jerry Colangelo (the Chairman of USA Basketball) and co. will replace Kryzyzewski, a top five all-time basketball coach with another top five all-time basketball coach: San Antonio Spurs head coach, Gregg Popovich.
Kryzyzewski’s run with USA Basketball isn’t over just yet. He’ll still coach the team in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He’s brought the United States back to its former and rightful position as the top basketball nation in the world.
The appointment of Popovich is a smart and interesting one. For one thing, Popovich might </span><a style=”line-height: 1.5″ href=”http://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/236512/Gregg-Popovich-Expects-To-Retire-In-Under-Five-Seasons”>not be coaching in the NBA for much longer</a><span style=”line-height: 1.5″>. He’s said before that when Tim Duncan retires, that will be the end for him as well. Whether that plan is still the same we don’t know, but Popovich has been at it a long time—since 1996, to be exact—and no one knows how much longer he’ll remain a head coach.</span>
Popovich brings a ton of knowledge and shrewdness to the sideline. He’s long been a forward-thinking and revolutionary NBA mind, introducing and popularizing certain strategies and ploys long before they become mainstream. Just imagine watching the best players the United States has to offer—Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, the list goes on—crushing teams with Popovich’s patented pass-and-space offense. It will be a joy to watch.
What really makes this appointment fun is Popovich’s history and experience with international players. Popovich and the Spurs front office are the Godfathers of drafting and developing <a href=”http://blog.mysanantonio.com/spursnation/2013/10/29/spurs-break-their-own-record-for-foreign-players/”>international talent</a>. Popovich will now be coaching against many of his own current or former players, as many of them star on their respective national teams. In many ways, this makes Popovich an ideal candidate for this position. For one thing, his vast knowledge of international players could help the U.S. squad from a strategy standpoint (although they probably don’t need it). More importantly, Popovich has served as a symbol and ambassador of international basketball for years. Much of what he does stands for integration of people from around the world through a ubiquitous love: basketball. And that’s what the Olympics are all about.