San Antonio Spurs and Team USA coach Gregg Popovich has a tight relationship with Boomer Patty Mills.
San Antonio Spurs and Team USA coach Gregg Popovich has a tight relationship with Boomer Patty Mills.

Popovich: Boomers have talent to bounce Team USA

US coach Gregg Popovich has declared Australia a genuine threat to Team USA in an upcoming series to be played in Melbourne - as well as the FIBA World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Team USA is this week expected to provide a sneak preview of the squad it will bring to Melbourne, including NBA ­superstars Kevin Durant, James Harden, Paul George and Anthony Davis.

USA Basketball has approved advertising, which also includes an image of Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowery, for the August series.

But no matter who Team USA brings to Marvel Stadium for the two match series, Popovich said the Aussie Boomers were every chance of causing an upset.

"They're well disciplined, they're talented, they're seasoned," Popovich said.

"They have an excellent ­opportunity to be very, very successful. They can win it just as easily as anybody."

Asked if he thought the Boomers could challenge Team USA for gold at the World Cup and 2020 Olympics, he replied: "Absolutely".

 

A five-time championship coach with the San Antonio Spurs and three-time NBA coach of the year, Popovich singled out Boomers leader Andrej Lemanis.

Patty Mills will be crucial to the Boomers’ prospects in Melbourne.
Patty Mills will be crucial to the Boomers’ prospects in Melbourne.

And he said San Antonio Spurs star Patty Mills would be a "primary" player for the Boomers in all three tournaments.

Team USA will not officially announce the 12-man World Cup squad until August, following a selection camp in Las Vegas.

Team USA-approved images to be released this week to advertise the Melbourne ­series also include Aussie NBA stars Mills, Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes.

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons has been left out of the advertising while he navigates the NBA playoffs and a lucrative new contract.

But it is hoped the Victorian born and bred guard-forward will play and be given until an August 2 Boomers selection camp in Melbourne to decide whether to don the green and gold.

Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (right) and Rockets guard James Harden could face off in Australia. Picture: AP
Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles (right) and Rockets guard James Harden could face off in Australia. Picture: AP

The potential of Golden State Warriors star Durant, and MVP candidates Harden and George playing before Australian crowds of up to 55,000 will have basketball fans salivating.

Popovich said the sheer size of the crowds was incredible.

"When I found out about that, I was just shocked at the number of people that will be there," he said.

"NBA players are used to playing in front of big crowds, but that's a humungous crowd, really large. It will be an amazing experience, and I think it will be a lot of fun."

More than 92,000 tickets have been sold for the August 22 and 24 showdowns.

News Corp Australia


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