Team USA’s Steve Kerr says long-term program of same 10 guys ‘very unrealistic’
MANILA, Philippines–Team USA’s semifinal defeat to Germany in the Fiba World Cup once again raised the question of whether the current setup of relying on talent alone and little preparation time over a long-term program still works.
Coach Steve Kerr, however, seems to feel otherwise even if the Americans have fallen short of winning it all in the last two editions of the World Cup, this time hoping to end their Manila sojourn with a consolation prize.
“I’m not sure how you would do that if you wanna ask the same 10 guys to play every summer,” said Kerr. “I think that’s very unrealistic.”
Filipino fans were expecting a clash between Team USA and Canada for the gold on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena. They got their wish, albeit in a meet-up for third between squads filled with NBA talent after Canada lost earlier to Serbia.
Instead, it will be an all-European final between teams built on an effective system and continuity.
Kerr admitted how the gap between the Americans and the rest of the world continues to close since the dominance of “The Dream Team” in the 1992 Olympics.
The previous editions Team USA sent to both the World Cup and Olympics have seen lesser star figures opting to don the Stars and Stripes for various reasons and resulting in a setup that would bring those who could fit the system of whoever holds the keys.
This year saw the hiring of Kerr and the infusion of mostly role players and promising stars like fan favorite Austin Reaves, Anthony Edwards, Paolo Banchero and Tyrese Haliburton.
It did produce four wins to open the campaign before concerns of its lack of frontline and ability to deal with physicality surfaced in a defeat to Lithuania.
Those problems once again showed in the setback, and now USA Basketball is about to start the process of finding the right mix for its quest to keep the gold in the Paris Olympics.
“I love being part of USA Basketball, I think our players really enjoy it as well and part of the deal with USAB is you pass the baton on to the next coaching staff, the next group of players and it’s different than most countries,” Kerr said.
“But we’re unique in that we have a deep talent pool and a lot of worthy players and I think those players and coaches all deserve to have the honor of wearing this USA jersey,” he added.