Popovich: “The match against Spain will be very useful to us”

The veteran coach Gregg
Popovich, of the San Antonio Spurs, who will make his Olympic debut as head of the national team of state
United, recognized that the friendly match that they are going to play this Sunday against Spain, is the most “important” of the preparation cycle for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.

Popovich, which was one of those who within USA Basketball asked to include Spain In the group of teams that arrived in Las Vegas (Nevada) to play the preparation games, he considers the current world champions as the “maximum” expression of foreign basketball, for which he professes great respect.

After suffering the second loss to Australia 83-91, previously they had also lost to Nigeria (87-90), Popovich He openly confronted a journalist when he questioned the poor game that the United States team had played against a rival, who on paper was much inferior.

“What he just said is disrespecting foreign basketball, which is of great quality,” he said. Popovich. “Our rivals have a great level and they showed it in the field by being better because in the end we did not do the necessary things to win.”

Versus Spain, Popovich You will have the opportunity to face the team that you consider to be the most complete in foreign basketball due to its great defense, good ball handling, excellent scorers and a great technical team.

“I have no doubts about the great quality of players we have in the group we have selected, but we still need to show that the work we have done during the preparation in Las Vegas to identify ourselves as a team has been positive ”, he commented Popovich. “Versus Spain we will have a unique opportunity to demonstrate it on the field ”.

Popovich, who admitted the “frustration” of having to dismiss the escort Bradley Beal, of the Washington Wizards, upon contracting covid-19, said that the arrival of Keldom Johnson and that of the pivot JaVale Mcgee by the voluntary retirement of power forward Kevin Love, they would reinforce the squad even more.

“Two players arrive, the first one (Johnson) has worked with us all the time in training so the understanding is complete with the rest of the teammates, and McGee has a great capacity for understanding and adaptation.”

Mcgee is a player that Popovich’s assistant coach Steve knows very well Kerr, of the Golden State Warriors, where he had it for two seasons, and he was always an important force in the inside game, as well as having a great team mentality.

Popovich considers that the key to achieving victory against Spain It will be the good team play that they play, as it happened against Argentina, but above all to maintain constant defensive pressure and not lose concentration at any time.

“We are going to face the world champion team with players from the class of the brothers Gasoline and a Ricky blond who knows better than anyone how to move and direct the players when they are in possession of the ball ”, he valued Popovich. “I am sure that the duel in front of Spain It will be of great use to us in all aspects ”.

Popovich stressed that after the match of Spain, the time they have to prepare when they arrive in Japan will be minimal, so they will have to make the most of Sunday’s match, which will be more than a friendly for the team’s operation.

The delegation of USA plan to travel to Tokyo, next Monday, on a charter flight, and their Olympic debut will be on July 25 when they face the French team.

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