After suffering their second-straight loss, Team USA took the post-game mic defeated and frustrated -- and it showed during the press conference.
In one exchange that has since gone viral, coach Gregg Popovich went at a reporter for suggesting that Team USA should be blowing out teams like Australia and Nigeria as they prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
“You asked the same sort of question last time where you assumed things that are not true. ” Pop said before being interrupted by the reporter. “Can I finish? Can I finish my statement? Are you going to let me finish my statement or not?
When you make statements about, in the past, just blowing out these other teams – number one, you give no respect to the other teams,” Pop added. “I talked to you the last time about the same thing, we’ve had very close games against four of five countries in all these tournaments. So, the good teams do not get blown out. There are certain games that might happen in one of these tournaments like the World Championships or the Olympics where somebody gets blown out but in general, nobody is blowing anybody out for the good teams. So when you make a statement like that, you assume that’s what’s going on. And, that’s incorrect.”
Popovich does make a solid point about the level of respect we need to show other teams. While Team USA has dominated Olympic basketball in the past, other countries have given us a run for our money, and they should never be underestimated.
It's also worth noting that the real Olympics haven't yet started. While we still have enough great players to be favored in these games, many of the guys who will join the club later (Khris Middleton, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday) have not yet suited up.
Perhaps, before anyone hits the panic button, we should wait for the exhibition period to be over.