With the opening ceremony over, the Olympics can finally begin. One year after its initial launch date and against the backdrop of Covid-19. For basketball, the competition starts from Sunday, in particular with a poster between the United States and France, at 2 p.m.
The US team arrived in Japan during the week, not having the optimal preparation, between the Covid-19 infections of some of its players, two unfortunate defeats in a friendly match or the absence of a list of three NBA finalists.
But, as of tomorrow, the workforce will be full and serious things can begin for Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant and others. And is there a better entry point than to be reunited with France, the team that eliminated Team USA at the 2019 World Cup?
« I remember France played very well جيد ’” Steve Kerr explained on this topic, In the columns of The Athletic. « That day, they scored several important points at the end of the acquisition. We struggled to score points, and their defense was good. They did the right things at the end of the game. We weren’t the most successful, but we know their team very well. »
Seven of the twelve Frenchmen participated in the 2019 World Cup
Assistant Gregg Popovich in Tokyo understands that, unlike the US, France’s group hasn’t changed much compared to 2019.
Watch again in the presence of Rudi Joubert, Yvan Fournier, Nicolas Batum, Nando de Colo, Frank Ntelikina, Andrew Albisi and others Vincent Poirier. This means that seven of the twelve players who make up the tri-color team are in Japan.
« This is the interesting thing about international competitions: our team is constantly changing, but the others are the same. Steve Kerr adds. ” It’s quite a challenge, continuity is already there for them. »
And even if France has also not experienced optimal preparation in recent weeks, it is nonetheless formidable at the highest level. Especially as Team USA additionally faces a merger of Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who won’t arrive until tomorrow in Tokyo.
Ten hours by plane to integrate the new arrivals
Fortunately, having Jeff Van Gundy on board between Seattle and Tokyo will allow the last three NBA finalists not to land on the field on Sunday. On the occasion of this inaugural meeting, they could all begin, if we are to believe Steve Kerr’s words…
« Hope it’s Jeff [Van Gundy] He will be able to share some of our playing principles, both offensive and defensive “The warriors boss hands over.” We’ll play the next day [de leur arrivée], so it will be very fast. These are unique circumstances, because these three players have not trained with us for a second and will suddenly be introduced into the starting lineup. We wouldn’t have much variety in our game, that would be impossible. We wouldn’t send our systems to them, they had other things to think about. »
Another ingredient that should also be as best as possible: JaVale McGee. Due to the recent withdrawal of Kevin Love, who was deemed by Greg Popovich as “the perfect player to take on Rudy Gobert,” the three-time NBA champion is the one who will be called in to snag the overall triple defender as much as possible, along with Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo.
The Nuggets Center, who dreamed of imitating his mother by winning Olympic gold in Japan, was a logical solution in the eyes of Steve Kerr, as it really was in the eyes of Greg Popovich. Even if his choice came as a surprise, given the availability of Julius Randle.
« We talked about it two years ago during the World Cup ‘, honors Golden State coach, who was under him Jeval McGee between 2016 and 2018. We thought it might be a good match for us. He’s one of the fastest indoor leagues in the league, he has a good hand and can easily get high passes to score. He can take advantage of FIBA rules and be efficient. We are glad to have him with us. »
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