USA Basketball Rumors
Here, Thibodeau is in his element. Last April, the ink barely dry on his deal, Thibodeau gathered the team in Minnesota. “Get in shape,” Thibodeau told them, according to several players, “and get ready.” In July, the T’wolves gathered in Las Vegas during the NBA’s summer league. Team building. “Building relationships is important,” Thibodeau said. Before he joined USA Basketball in Rio de Janeiro, he encouraged the players to return to Minnesota early to work out together. Defense, of course, is Thibodeau’s hallmark. The Bulls jumped from 10th in defensive efficiency to first in Thibodeau’s first season — and never finished outside the top five after. The T’wolves ranked 28th in defensive efficiency last season, an improvement from 30th the year before.
The NBA and USA Basketball have partnered to develop a first-ever set of youth basketball guidelines to enhance the way children, parents and coaches experience the game, emphasizing the importance of player health and wellness, the NBA announced Monday. The recommended playing and rest guidelines — which have been endorsed by a handful of organizations such as AAU, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Adidas, Nike, Under Armour and the NCAA — were established over the past six months by three working groups (health and wellness, playing standards and curriculum and instruction) made up of coaches, administrators, former players (including retired NBA champions Shane Battier and Bruce Bowen) and leading medical experts from around the world.
“I have made the sacrifice that I want to do whatever it takes to win, so it’s one of the reasons why I didn’t go to the Olympics this summer,” Harden told The Vertical. “It was one of the toughest decisions that I’ve ever made in my life. For my legacy here in Houston and in the NBA, I thought it was important.”
Despite the United States’ gold medal win, Kawhi Leonard said he harbors no regrets about skipping the Rio Olympics. Leonard said a “lot of things,” including the birth of his daughter, factored into his decision. “I caught a couple of quarters here and there (on TV),” he said. Leonard said he hopes to have another shot at the Olympics. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich replaced Mike Krzyzewski as the U.S. basketball coach after the 2016 Games.
ESPN’s Ethan Strauss talked about an interesting interaction between D’Angelo Russell and Gregg Popovich at USA Basketball practice this summer: “I heard that D’Angelo Russell had to get lit into by Popovich because in running a drill again and again Popovich would tell him and correct him and players generally will listen to that and will listen to the correction and D’Angelo Russell just kept doing the same thing over and over again as if he wasn’t told anything.”
Tim MacMahon: Harrison Barnes on his limited Team USA role: “It was one of those situations where you have to sacrifice. Obviously when you make the Olympic team, you want to show what you can do on the world’s biggest stage. At the same time, winning gold took precedent. We didn’t want to be the team that either lost the win streak or didn’t come home with the gold. Those are the things that we as a team said we were going to put everything to the side and focus on that, and we came through.”