By Aris Barkas/ email@example.com
MANILA, Philippines – For a second straight FIBA World Cup the USA couldn’t get a medal and coach Steve Kerr, who was also there in 2019 as an assistant to coach Gregg Popovich, didn’t need any kind of wake-up call about the rest of the world catching up.
When he was asked about that, he calmly reminded everyone of the current World Order: “I didn’t need any reminder. I was on the coaching staff in 2019. It’s tough. Those teams in FIBA are well-coached, and they have continuity”.
As he put it simply: “We are passed that, these teams are really good”.
Speaking about the game, he added: “Congrats to Canada, they played a great game. I feel bad for my guys. They are an amazing group, tough to try to hang in there without three guys, but we did everything possible. Mikal had an amazing shot but we didn’t have more gas. And with Canada shooting like this we couldn’t win”.
And the bad thing about the USA is that it’s not easy for them to act like other national teams and build real continuity, as Kerr once more admitted: “It’s hard to build continuity because we have so much turnover from year to year. We have to focus on what’s winning a FIBA game. The NBA is very different from FIBA and some things will be good and vice versa. There’s a lot to learn for sure”.
“Yes, it hurts”
Mikal Bridges almost saved the day with an amazing three-pointer after missing a free throw on purpose and getting the rebound.
“Coach told me to miss, trying to miss it the right way”, he said, “I had a clean lane and got the rebound’.
However, in the big picture, this didn’t mean much and Bridges admitted that this was not “just” a loss:” We didn’t get enough stops. We were out of rhythm. Yes, it hurts”.
And despite the feeling of losing a bronze medal game, Bridges will never say no to Team USA: “I think I will never say no, it’s an honor every time. No matter the result, I wouldn’t trade those six weeks. The biggest thing is the relationship we built. That’s what I take away from this”.