Gregg Popovich is a five-time NBA champion, one of the greatest coaches the NBA has ever seen. The Spurs coach has over 1,300 wins in the NBA. Coaching NBA greats like Tim Duncan and David Robinson. In 2015, it was announced that after the Rio Olympics, coach Popovich would replace Mike Krzyzewski as the USA team head coach. Unfortunately, since then, the men's national team has not lived up to its expectations.
France ends 25-game Olympic win streak
A 25-game winning streak for the U.S. ended on Sunday when France closed the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run to win 83-76 in the first game of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This loss came after the USA could not defeat Nigeria and Australia in the exhibition games before the Olympics. Because of this, fans were worried that their national team would fail to win the gold medal for the first time since 2004. Nevertheless, the heavy criticism started after losing to France on Sunday, and the one that got the blame for recent performances is coach Gregg Popovich.
"I've always said Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest NBA coaches in history but he's also one of the worst international coaches. … I'm not going to write Team USA off completely. But I might be surprised if they win the gold, more so than if they lose it."Chris Broussard on Twitter
Gregg Popovich also received criticism from former NBA player Kendrick Perkins. The 2008 NBA champion questioned how Popovich used Durant after NBA star Luka Doncic dropped 48 for his country.
Road to Tokyo 2020
Popovich and Team USA have lost three of the last four games since they began to prepare for the 2020 Olympics. The team has lost three players over virus-related concerns on the way to Tokyo. Nevertheless, that should not be an excuse. The fans and the media still expect the USA to win the gold medal. Especially after their World Cup disappointment in 2019. The Americans failed to qualify for the semifinals after a 79-89 loss to France.
With the USA players frustrated with Popovich's system, it will be interesting to see how the legendary NBA coach will overcome the criticism from media, fans, and players. Team USA will face Iran on Wednesday for a chance to redeem themselves and silence the critics, for now.