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US males’s basketball begins Olympic prep with 4-day coaching camp. So far as selecting a beginning lineup? Good luck.

LAS VEGAS — There’s something that Kobe Bryant once said that has stuck with U.S. men’s Olympic basketball coach Steve Kerr and seems especially important now. It was about how other nations have made big strides in basketball, how the gap between the rest of the world and the U.S. is closing and how that’s

LAS VEGAS — There’s something that Kobe Bryant once said that has stuck with U.S. men’s Olympic basketball coach Steve Kerr and seems especially important now. It was about how other nations have made big strides in basketball, how the gap between the rest of the world and the U.S. is closing and how that’s

LAS VEGAS — There’s one thing that Kobe Bryant as soon as mentioned that has caught with U.S. males’s Olympic basketball coach Steve Kerr and appears particularly essential now.

It was about how different nations have made huge strides in basketball, how the hole between the remainder of the world and the U.S. is closing and the way that’s been an ideal factor for the NBA. And Bryant’s response, paraphrased, was mainly, “so what?”

His level: If everybody else is getting higher, then the U.S. higher discover methods to do the identical.

“Possibly we’ll present that one to the blokes,” Kerr mentioned. “I like that. And it must be our perspective this summer season.”

After months of planning, it’s time for the U.S. Olympic workforce — one that can go to the Paris Video games later this month searching for a fifth consecutive gold medal — to take the ground. The primary apply for the squad is Saturday, the beginning of a four-day coaching camp earlier than its exhibition opener in opposition to Canada on Wednesday.

Gamers started arriving Thursday in Las Vegas; Stephen Curry was the primary to examine in for camp, maybe underscoring how anxious he’s for what will probably be his first Olympics. The 12 gamers have all recognized one another for years, however the job of changing into a workforce begins in earnest Saturday.

“I really feel prefer it begins when it will get there, as a result of that’s once you actually see one another eye-to-eye,” mentioned Bam Adebayo, who’s searching for his second gold medal after profitable one on the Tokyo Video games three years in the past. “You’ve these conversations, you have got these many conversations inside what we’re going by means of, what we’re attempting to do. And that’s when it’s time to actually be trustworthy about what we need to do.”

That half is simple: Win gold.

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The how-to-do-it half, that’s the important thing.

Final yr introduced one other humbling World Cup expertise for the U.S.; after ending seventh in 2019, the People have been fourth at Manila. However the argument — or justification, for lack of a greater phrase — for these stumbles was that the U.S. wasn’t sending the very best roster to these tournaments. Getting the large names like Kevin Durant and LeBron James for the Olympics, that’s one factor. Getting them for the World Cup and asking them to characterize their nation in back-to-back summers, that’s one thing else.

Tyrese Haliburton and Anthony Edwards have been on that World Cup workforce final summer season and have been picked for this Olympic workforce as effectively.

“Clearly, final yr we didn’t do what we wished to do,” Haliburton mentioned. “And that was irritating as a result of any time you get to characterize USA Basketball, the expectation is to win. And we weren’t in a position to do this.”

This workforce was put along with a really totally different ending in thoughts. James is again on the Olympic workforce for the primary time since 2012 and searching for a 3rd gold, Durant goes for what can be a males’s Olympic report fourth basketball gold, and 5 different gamers — Adebayo, Devin Booker, Jrue Vacation, Jayson Tatum and Anthony Davis — every have one. The primary-time Olympians are Haliburton, Edwards, Curry, Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid, somebody who the U.S. satisfied to play regardless of a powerful push by France for the Philadelphia star to characterize the host nation in Paris.

So far as selecting a beginning lineup, good luck.

“It’s a very good downside to have,” Kerr mentioned. “I’m guessing that every one 12 gamers on this roster will probably be within the Corridor of Fame sometime. So, how do you decide 5 out of 12? The thought is, you discover mixtures that click on, and you discover two-way lineups that may be efficient at each ends. Our huge job in Las Vegas is to search out five-man mixtures that match and to only ask all 12 guys to totally decide to the objective of profitable a gold medal it doesn’t matter what it seems like, irrespective of who’s taking part in.”

The People play their first exhibition in opposition to Canada in Las Vegas, then have video games at Abu Dhabi (in opposition to Australia and Serbia) and London (in opposition to South Sudan and Germany) earlier than the Paris Video games begin. The U.S. opens Olympic play July 28 in opposition to Serbia and also will have group video games in opposition to South Sudan and the winner of Sunday’s qualifier in Puerto Rico — both Mexico, Lithuania, Italy or Puerto Rico.

“We’ve received 39 days or so to get locked in to go get this gold medal, 12 wonderful, gifted guys prepared to return collectively for one objective,” Curry mentioned when he arrived to examine in for camp. “I’m hyped for all of it.”

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