A 25-game Olympic winning streak ended for the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball Team on Sunday when Gregg Popovich’s group fell to France 83-76.
France ultimately closed the outing on a 16-2 run, showing the sort of grit and resolve that has been sorely lacking from the American side.
This is becoming something of a pattern.
Beginning with France’s victory over the U.S. in the Basketball World Cup quarterfinals at China in 2019, Americans are 3-5 in their last eight outings with NBA players on the roster.
It has gotten to the point now where American NBA players are openly mocking the team sent to Japan.
And the perpetual losing is starting to wear on everyone involved.
According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, various players on Team USA are beginning to get tired of Popovich and his coaching style.
“To be clear, Popovich is horrified by his own record coaching this team,” he wrote.
“He dwells on it and hates the losing. The players are frustrated, too, grumbling on their way back to the locker room about ‘running the San Antonio offense’ when apparently they feel like there are better ideas. Pop has said, because of the truncated nature of Team USA’s training camp, the offense would be based on ‘concepts’ instead of set plays.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
Fortunately for the Americans, they can advance to the knockout stage of the Olympics with wins over Iran and the Czech Republic — and they are heavily favorite in both games. That said, even if the U.S. does prevail in those outings, it’s hard to see how they beat some of the more formidable groups in these games based on the way they’ve been playing.
Kevin Durant recently diagnosed rather bluntly what ails Team USA, but figuring out the problem and fixing it are two different things.
If the American side ultimately gets it together and wins gold, ultimately all of this will be moot and eventually forgotten. If they don’t, however, this will serve as a real stain on the legacies of Popovich and all the star players involved.