When Mike Krzyzewski decided to return to USA Basketball and coach Team USA through the 2016 Olympics in Rio, there were going to be changes to his coaching staff. Mike D’Antoni asked out because he has got his hands full in Los Angeles, and Nate McMillan wanted out as well as he tries to return to the NBA.
To replace them, Coach K has gone defensive.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and the Pelican’s head coach Monty Williams will join the staff of Team USA, reports the Associated Press. Both are known as defensive specialists, which is a smart move. Coach K has wisely tried to exploit the USA’s superior athleticism with an aggressive defensive system then telling his guys to get out and run. These coaches are good fits with that.
Plus they both bring a strong work ethic — does anyone doubt Tom Thibodeau has already spent 10 hours in the film room breaking down Angola’s offensive tendencies?
This is a three-year commitment for the coaches. That means they will be in Vegas in mid-July to work out some of the younger stars in the league — Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins and 18 or so others — that USA Basketball is considering for future tournaments. From there it is on to the World Championships next summer, a possible qualifying tournament in 2015 (if the USA doesn’t win the World Championship they would have to qualify for the games still), then the Olympics in 2016.