pcloudy.png
Monday August 19th, 2019 8:14AM
5:38AM ( 2 hours ago ) Weather Alert

For Popovich, finding a team quickly will be a challenge

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LAS VEGAS (AP) — USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich typically has a month of NBA training camp and a half-dozen or so preseason games before he picks a San Antonio team, and then gets a few more months of the regular-season grind to mold those Spurs into playoff shape.

These aren't the Spurs.

These are not typical times, either.

USA Basketball will finalize its World Cup team on Aug. 17 — meaning training camp, which started Monday, lasts less than two weeks. That also means there's a real urgency in this camp in Las Vegas, since Popovich and his staff won't have much time to decide who will fill the 12 spots on the roster that will head to China in search of a third consecutive World Cup title.

"We're looking for guys who are competitive, who can handle the discipline it's going to take to get this done, play a team game and basically fall in love with each other and have that empathy so that they feel responsible to each other and depend upon each other," Popovich said. "That obviously means you don't need the greatest amount of talent in the world.

"Too little talent is not a good thing, but we don't have that problem."

The biggest U.S. names — LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden and so on — aren't playing World Cup. There are four current All-NBA players expected in the tournament, and three of them will be aiming to beat the U.S. Nikola Jokic will lead gold-medal hopeful Serbia, NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing for Greece, and Rudy Gobert is playing for France.

The only American All-NBA guy in the mix is Kemba Walker, who knows team building over the next few days is vital.

"On the court is pretty easy. I think we'll get that," Walker said. "Off the court is where we need to figure out, where we need to spend more time and communicate more, just have fun with each other. Like Pop said, just love each other. That's the way it has to be, because it has to translate to on-the-court if we want to do something special with this team."

Even though the U.S. roster lacks the biggest stars, there's already a clear sense of competition.

Popovich brought in the select team — the younger NBA players who were invited to Las Vegas this week to push the national-teamers and potentially compete for their jobs — into practice Tuesday, and players said the intensity of play immediately ramped skyward. There's no grace period for players to ease into camp, not with stakes this high.

"They came to play," Miami center Bam Adebayo said. "I give them respect."

It's already clear that Popovich, entering his first tournament as the U.S. coach, doesn't want the 12 best players. He wants the 12 best-fitting ones.

So the roster is still anyone's guess.

Everything that happens on the practice floor and in scrimmages will matter in terms of evaluation, of course. But there's also the off-the-court bonds that Popovich will be wanting to see, the ones forged over dinners and meetings and conversations. When the U.S. plane leaves Los Angeles for Australia next Saturday, bonds that might not currently exist will have to be firmly in place.

"It's about how the group fits together," Popovich said. "You know, 12 All-Stars probably aren't going to work great unless you have the right mix of point guards and defenders, big guys who can spread the court and shoot it. It's how they fit together. It's about being competitive, who the most team-oriented guys, who are the most dedicated guys. This is a long journey and it takes a hell of a commitment."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ohio Republicans again faced with calls to enact gun reforms
Prompted to act by the bloodshed in Dayton, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine proposes a package of measures he says will address mass shootings, while gun-control supporters remain skeptical
7:13PM ( 4 minutes ago )
After years of waiting, medical marijuana sold in Louisiana
A Marine veteran struggling with PTSD and a woman fighting cancer became some of the first people to purchase medical marijuana in Louisiana on Tuesday, as the state became the first in the Deep South to dispense therapeutic cannabis
7:09PM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: Cops: El Paso shooter surrendered with hands up
Police in El Paso, Texas, say the man charged in a weekend mass shooting that left 22 dead surrendered with his hands up to an officer on a motorcycle before he was taken into custody
7:04PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
For Popovich, finding a team quickly will be a challenge
For USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich, the first challenge will be to find the right players who fit together
6:35PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Mariners' Tim Beckham suspended 80 games for PED violation
Seattle Mariners infielder Tim Beckham has been suspended 80 games as part of baseball's joint drug agreement after testing positive for banned substance
2:13PM ( 5 hours ago )
Redskins to offer gambling-focused preseason telecast
Washington Redskins to become first NFL team to have gambling-focused telecast of their games, offering cash prizes to viewers who correctly predict in-game outcomes during preseason
1:54PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Sports
AP source: Carter returning to Hawks for 22nd NBA season
AP source: Vince Carter returning to the Atlanta Hawks for his record 22nd season in the NBA
6:37PM ( 1 day ago )
Popovich, finally, gets his turn at leading USA Basketball
Camp Pop: USA Basketball gathers to begin World Cup preparations under coach Gregg Popovich
6:28PM ( 1 day ago )
10 things to know about the FIBA World Cup
10 things to know about the FIBA World Cup _ formerly known as basketball's world championships
2:29PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
AP source: Warriors, Green agree on 4-year, $100M extension
Person with knowledge of situation tells AP that Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors agree on $100 million, four-year extension
3:01PM ( 3 days ago )
Saints' Brees describes "kinship" with Pelicans' Williamson
Saints quarterback Drew Brees doesn't see himself and Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson as an odd couple from different generations and different sports
7:05PM ( 5 days ago )
Garber's 20 years as MLS commissioner time of huge growth
Don Garber's 20th anniversary as Major League Soccer's commissioner is Sunday, and the league's challenge these days is growth and not survival, an upward trajectory that will be boosted when the U.S. co-hosts the World Cup in 2026
5:11PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Ohio Republicans again faced with calls to enact gun reforms
Prompted to act by the bloodshed in Dayton, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine proposes a package of measures he says will address mass shootings, while gun-control supporters remain skeptical
7:13PM ( 4 minutes ago )
After years of waiting, medical marijuana sold in Louisiana
A Marine veteran struggling with PTSD and a woman fighting cancer became some of the first people to purchase medical marijuana in Louisiana on Tuesday, as the state became the first in the Deep South to dispense therapeutic cannabis
7:09PM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: Cops: El Paso shooter surrendered with hands up
Police in El Paso, Texas, say the man charged in a weekend mass shooting that left 22 dead surrendered with his hands up to an officer on a motorcycle before he was taken into custody
7:04PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Gun reform urged in Ohio as Texas Democrats shun Trump visit
After mass shootings, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has called for expanded gun laws as some Democrats are calling for President Donald Trump to stay away from El Paso
6:59PM ( 18 minutes ago )
FBI: California gunman had list of possible targets
The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the mass shooting at a California food festival after it discovered a "target list" compiled by the gunman whose relatives apologized Tuesday and said they were "horrified" by his actions
6:57PM ( 20 minutes ago )