US players reportedly frustrated with Gregg Popovich ‘running San Antonio offense’

US loses first Olympic game since 2004

(Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s been a rough start for the US men’s Olympic basketball team in Tokyo and a new report indicates some players may be getting frustrated with the style of offense that head coach Gregg Popovich has implemented for the tournament.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported Sunday that some players showed a bit of their displeasure as they made their way to the locker room on Sunday after Team USA’s 83-76 opening loss to France.

“The players are frustrated, too, grumbling on their way back to the locker room about ‘running the San Antonio offense’ when apparently they feel like there are better ideas. Pop has said, because of the truncated nature of Team USA’s training camp, the offense would be based on ‘concepts’ instead of set plays.”

It was Team USA’s first loss in the Olympics since 2004 when the Americans won the Bronze Medal after a total of three losses at the games. The US had been unbeaten in Olympic play since then.

Even with the loss, Team USA remains the odds on favorite to win the Gold Medal in Tokyo, but it’s no longer a lock as it has been in previous Olympics.

Team USA has struggled since Popovich took the head coaching position. They finished 7th in the World Championships in 2018, albeit with a scaled-down NBA roster, and have now lost three of five games with this current roster, which is largely made up of NBA All-Stars.

Team USA will play Iran on Wednesday. The Americans just need to finish in second place in the group to automatically qualify for the knockout rounds.

Get the Olympics schedule and latest results here

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RJ Marquez has been at KSAT since 2010. He's covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area, and is the lead reporter for KSAT Explains. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms. You can see RJ regularly on KSAT Explains and Good Morning San Antonio. He also writes a weekly Spurs newsletter.