Patty Mills

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76ers’ Brett Brown to coach Australia at Tokyo Olympics

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown will guide the Australian men’s team at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Basketball Australia said Wednesday he will succeed Andrej Lemanis, who coached the Boomers to the semifinals at the 2016 Olympics – the team’s best Olympic result – and this year’s World Cup. The governing body did not say how long Brown will coach Australia.

Australia is one of seven men’s teams to have already qualified for Tokyo. Its roster could include Philadelphia star Ben Simmons. Australia also has several other NBA players, including Utah’s Joe Ingles and Dante Exum, Cleveland’s Matthew Dellavedova and San Antonio’s Patty Mills.

Brown coached the Australian team from 2009 to 2012 and was an assistant from 1995 to 2003, including the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

“We’re going to the 2020 Olympics to win a gold medal,” Brown said in a Basketball Australia statement. “This is our mission and my message to our team.”

He said when the opportunity arose to again coach the Boomers, “I was reminded of my deep history with Australia and Australian basketball.”

“I felt a duty to try and help in any way that I could,” he added. “The spirit of the country and the athletes of the country exemplify on a day-to-day basis the passion that is Australian sport … I’m very excited to be a part of that again.”

Report: 76ers’ Brett Brown to coach Australia in 2020 Olympics

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The Australian men’s basketball national team has never medaled in the Olympics or the FIBA World Cup.

There have been several close calls. The Boomers finished fourth in the 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2016 Olympics and 2019 World Cup. The latest setback led to some colorful language.

Already qualified for the 2020 Olympics, Australia will turn back to 76ers coach Brett Brown to get over the hump.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Australia has plenty of talent – Aron Baynes, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova. Maybe Brown can lure Philadelphia star Ben Simmons, who withdrew from this year’s World Cup.

Brown coached Simmons’ father in Australia. That time Down Under set up Brown, who was born and raised in Maine, to get this job.

Australia beats Czech Republic, clinching 2020 Olympic berths for Spain and France

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Australia is headed to the FIBA World Cup semifinals.

Spain and France are headed to the 2020 Olympics.

Australia’s 82-70 win over Czech Republic in the World Cup quarterfinals Wednesday set the semifinals for that event: France-Argentina and Spain-Australia. As the top two European finishers, Spain and France have also clinched berths in the 2020 Olympics.

The top teams in the World Cup from each region advance to the Olympics, and now all those are determined. The host also automatically qualifies, which means eight of 12 teams headed to Tokyo are finalized:

  • Argentina (Americas)
  • United States (Americas)
  • Spain (Europe)
  • France (Europe)
  • Australia (Oceania)
  • Nigeria (Africa)
  • Iran (Asia)
  • Japan (host)

The final four spots will be determined through Olympic qualifying tournaments next summer.

Patty Mills led Australia with 24 points against Czech Republic.

Australia, France, Argentina and Spain are all clicking entering the World Cup semifinals. With Team USA’s loss, the final four looks wide open.

Utah’s Joe Ingles was one assist short of first triple-double in FIBA World Cup history

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Nobody. Not LeBron James or Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. No player has ever had a triple-double in a FIBA World Cup game. Remember the games are shorter (40 minutes, same length as college, not 48 like the NBA), and in the case of the USA the team is so deep no player tends to get 30+ minutes a night to rack up stats.

Utah’s Joe Ingles almost pulled it off against Senegal.

In a game that was tighter than expected, Ingles finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.

Ingles handled the news in an Ingles way.

The Spurs Patty Mills had 22 points for Australia in the 81-68 win for Australia that was closer most of the way than expected.

Team USA plays down loss to Australia: ‘The real thing doesn’t start until China’

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It was the first time Team USA has lost an international game since 2006 — 78 straight wins. That seemed like a big deal.

It absolutely was huge for the 52,000 in attendance in Melbourne, where Australia was the one that upset the USA. This was validation for a strong basketball country and program — remember in the 2016 Olympics they lost by just 10 to a USA team with Kevin Durant, and it took a late push from Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony to secure that win — that has never quite gotten the huge win on the international stage.

But after the loss, members of Team USA chalked it up as a learning experience. Coach Gregg Popovich said that, and the players followed suit. Quotes via Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

Kemba Walker: “Teams lose. We are just going to take this loss and build from it, that’s all we can do is continue to try our best to get better. The real thing doesn’t start until China, so we’ve got one more game. We’re going to head to Sydney and focus on Canada and from that point out the real thing starts. That’s all we are worried about, just continuing to get better, continuing to learn each other.”

Donovan Mitchell: “To be honest, this game doesn’t mean anything. Obviously it hurts to lose, but I look at this and we look at this as more of a learning experience as opposed to we just lost. That’s the mindset. If you think of this as a loss, you start to get carried away with all that.”

Technically, all of that is true. If the USA goes on to win gold at the World Cup, this will be but a blip on the radar.

But the loss also showed just far Team USA is away from that goal and how much work there is to do. Watch the game and what stood out — besides Patty Mills getting red hot and dropping 30, with 13 of that in the fourth quarter — was the difference in cohesion and chemistry. The core of this Australian squad has been playing together for a decade, and with Andrew Bogut as the offensive fulcrum (and Joe Ingles playing that role some) guys were cutting, moving with purpose, and seemingly always in the right place to get an open look or layup.

The Americans are trying to build chemistry on the fly and it comes and goes. Particularly on the defensive end. Team USA members lose guys on cuts, don’t help the helper consistently, and for stretches look like a team just thrown together. Especially under pressure, when the ball movement stops and there is too much one-on-one on offense.

This American squad still has the talent to overwhelm and beat most of the world. However, with some of the USA’s top talent staying home, there are a handful of teams out there — Serbia, Spain, Australia, France — with the talent to hang, and then it becomes about chemistry and execution. Team USA was beaten badly in those hard-to-quantify categories by Australia. The American’s margin for error is much smaller in this World Cup.

Maybe the loss galvanizes Team USA in a way nothing else could. Maybe. And the players are right that things don’t really matter for the USA until the games in China.

But Team USA still has a lot to prove.