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USA Basketball coaches suddenly have extra time to prepare for Olympics

Mar 17, 2012, 7:29 PM EDT

Krzyzewski & Kobe Bryant Getty Images

Jim Boeheim should be nervous. Let’s just say, I’m not betting on Syracuse next week.

It’s been a tough week for three of the four coaches that will lead Team USA this summer in the 2012 Olympics in London — Mike Krzyzewski, Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan.

Head coach Krzyzewski’s Duke Blue Devils screwed up President Barack Obama’s bracket and many others by losing to 15-seed Lehigh in the first round. (Obama is better off than most though, he had Duke losing to Baylor in the sweet 16.)

Assistant coach D’Antoni was fired/resigned from the Knicks last week (both sides called it “mutual”) after he demanded New York management try to get him players that fit his system and they said they were sticking with Carmelo Anthony. D’Antoni got the worst part of the rebuilding effort in New York but when they got talent he couldn’t fit it into his system — and Anthony never really bought in.

The friction there has some wondering in Anthony might miss the Olympics. Don’t bet on it. For one, Nike wants him there. For another, he is consistently one of the better international performers for Team USA — his wing game fits very well in FIBA ball where he gets good looks or room to attack. And with Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and others on the team he doesn’t dare demand 25 shots a game.

USA assistant coach Nate McMillan was fired by the Portland Trail Blazers as they completely blew up their roster and started to try to rebuild with cap space and picks last week. The Blazers had fallen apart this season and McMillan took the fall for that, even though this team hasn’t had a GM for more than a season and the owner’s whims are part of the problem.

Coach K, D’Antoni and McMillan may need the extra time thrust upon them. Because of the lockout and the relatively early Olympics (starting July 27) the roster for Team USA will be set before the NBA season ends, before a training camp and tryout. And they have a lot of hard choices to make.

Jim Boeheim — the fourth coach on the staff — may be joining them soon enough.

  1. eastcoastblows - Mar 17, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Duke sucking is good for America.

  2. mtheparrothead - Mar 17, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Please tell me more about Obama. I don’t get enough. Information on what he’s doing.

  3. phx1311 - Mar 17, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    Its really funny when you think about it. Two fired coaches and one who lost in the first round to a 15 seed coaching team usa well here’s hoping to better success in the Olympics!!!

  4. glink123 - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    really? Nike wants Anthony in the Olympics? So as a country, it’s no longer about sending our best athletes to represent us as the Games, it’s about which corporation has the biggest contract with which player?

  5. bearsstillsuck - Mar 18, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    Corporations are people too. Apparently. Our modern day capitalist society is awesome.

  6. moseskkim - Mar 18, 2012 at 4:15 AM

    As much as coaching is valuable, I’m sorry but team USA is absolutely beastly. I’m probably wrong but I got cp3, dwade, Kobe, Lebron, Dwight as the starting 5. We got a world of talent on the bench drose, durant, Westbrook, lamarcus, love etc. I’m not saying its gonna be easy, but the importance of good coaching is a bit overrated in my opinion. That’s like the top 15 in the whole world on the same team. That’s like a fantasy draft but u get to pick 1-15 and then it’s the next teams turn to pick 1. USA should win with or without good coaching.

    • borderline1988 - Mar 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Except they lost in 2000 and 2004.

      You can have the best players in the world, but teamwork is crucial, especially in the international game. USA has the best, most skilled athletes, but the paint gets clogged in the international game, and mid-range shooting becomes much more important. And Wade, Lebron, Kobe, Dwight and CP3 are not the best mid-range shooters. European teams – if it’s one thing you can guarantee about them, it’s that all 5 of their starters can consistently knock down midrange jumpers.

      I actually think you are well off the mark. It’s ALL ABOUT the coaching. If the coaches can convince their stars to play the team game and sacrifice their egos for a few weeks, USA will undoubtedly win. Otherwise, the 2004 disaster will happen all over again.

      • noirad - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        I am pretty sure they won in 2000 though.

      • Zammael - Mar 18, 2012 at 6:14 PM

        I’m pretty sure he meant 2002 World Championships with Coach Karl that gagged and finished 6th or something. The 2004 USA team was coached by Larry Brown and lead by Iverson & Duncan. Brown kept Anthony, LeBron & Wade chained to the bench while teams swarmed Duncan with double teams and dared Iverson to hit from the perimeter consistently.

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