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San Antonio Spurs: Media disgraceful after USA's 0-2 start

Gregg Popovich - Nigeria v United States
Gregg Popovich - Nigeria v United States / Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich - Australia v United States / Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It's far too early to count out San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Team USA

Contrary to the statements coming from several TV analysts, the increasingly better international competition is good for the game of basketball. Teams like Nigeria and Australia are becoming increasingly motivated to show out against powerhouse teams like the US, and as Mark Stein put it, "exhibition games against [the US] always count for the other team." This is going to make for a better viewing experience for fans of all countries and a more rewarding experience for the eventual winners.

Sooner or later, the US Men's National Team was going to begin experiencing growing pains, particularly in early exhibition matches that ultimately don't count toward winning an Olympic medal. Getting through these growing pains and adapting to the heightened level of competition will take more than good coaching.

Even if it's true that the coaching can use some improvement, though, it's far too early to tell how good or bad the Men's National Team really is. As the team stands, they are still missing several key contributors in Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Devin Booker, who are all currently playing in the NBA Finals. Furthermore, the team's players are still adjusting to FIBA officiating.

In their first two games against Nigeria and Australia, the team relied too heavily on isolation scoring on the offensive end and did not seem nearly engaged enough on the other end of the floor. The US is lacking efficient facilitating outside of Damian Lillard and Draymond Green, and in both games, the other team totaled more assists and rebounds.

Ultimately though, for every team, exhibition games are supposed to be about making adjustments, figuring out what works, and what doesn't work on the court. Despite still lacking a few great players that are currently in the NBA Finals, thankfully, it's very evident that the team made some adjustments for their game against Argentina. The team had better ball movement, out-rebounded Argentina, worked a lot harder on defense, and was able to secure the blowout victory that fans are more accustomed to.

Frankly, many sports journalists and many of TV's most prominent voices in sports entertainment should be ashamed of how they've conducted themselves so far after Olympic exhibition games. I urge Spurs fans and Team USA fans to remain patient, allow the team to make some mistakes early on, and wait until closer to the Olympics to be concerned about how they're playing.

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In the end, each country that the US Men's National Team will be facing should demand their respect on the court as Coach Pop says they should. The US and its stars will undeniably face a challenge ahead, but if they can come out victorious, the reward will be as good as it's ever been.

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