Jay Wright Rumors
Brian Windhorst on candidates to coach Team USA: I would say Steve Kerr, who’s been an assistant the last few years, Erik Spoelstra, who did some work with the team earlier this summer with coaching, selecting, and I think Monty Williams will present himself as a strong candidate as well, if he wants the job going forward. Also, there is an advantage of having a college coach, because he’s sort of a neutral party. And they if they took that route, you might see Jay Wright.
This has nothing to do with the proliferation of international talent that’s been causing Team USA trouble or a delayed NBA Finals that prohibited one-quarter of the Olympic team from joining in until just before the first game. Popovich’s famous wine-soaked dinners have been, at best, subdued at the Tokyo Games by restrictions related to COVID-19. “I feel like it’s not the same, you know, having been with Pop at the (World Cup),” said Jay Wright, a Team USA assistant and Villanova head coach. “We are locked in here, so I can tell you it’s not the same. (Chief of staff) Sean Ford is working hard at it, but it’s not the same. I’m feeling for Pop, but he’s handled it well.”
Jay Wright will join Popovich, the head coach, and fellow assistants Kerr and Lloyd Pierce, the former Atlanta Hawks head coach and 76ers assistant, on the sidelines for Team USA when it starts play at the Tokyo Olympics on July 25. He is to leave for Las Vegas on July 3 for the start of preseason workouts three days later. “It’s a really challenging coaching opportunity because they’re not coaching their own guys, so it’s really interesting to watch them handle each situation,” Wright, who will be coaching in his first Olympics, said Wednesday.
Wright was part of the coaching staff in 2018 when Team USA participated in the FIBA World Cup. That was his introduction to “learning Pop’s terminology, learning Pop’s structure for practice and team meetings and staff meetings and all the logistics.” “Steve played for him, and he picked it up a little faster,” Wright said. “Lloyd being in the NBA, he picked it up a little faster. They have a lot of common NBA terminology that’s different than college. So that was, for me, a great experience learning all that terminology. I’m actually reviewing it before we meet again in Las Vegas.”
Wright said flexibility is a key in the case of Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, who may have to meet the team in Tokyo if the Suns make the NBA Finals. The same is true with two Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern finals, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
Not only had Bridges ended up high on the Suns’ draft board, but also McDonough recognized that he would be among the last of the players available who the front office had assessed with a high-to-mid lottery grade. The gap between Bridges and the players who would be available to Phoenix at No. 16 made the general manager push to try to swing a trade for him. “A number of things about him stood out,” McDonough said. “He’s really intelligent. He’s got off-the-chart character, work ethic. Everybody at Villanova raves about him. He’s a winner as a human being and as a player. He had a tremendous amount of success at Villanova. We saw how much he improved playing at Villanova for Jay Wright… We were looking for —I don’t want to pigeonhole Mikal — with a 3-and-D wing but somebody who could do that plus other things.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Class: Players: Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Chris Webber, Ben Wallace; Coaches: Rick Adelman, Jay Wright, Bill Russell. WNBA: Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson. International Committee: Toni Kukoc