Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, fellow NBA coach Nate McMillan and college coach Jay Wright have been chosen as USA Basketball assistant coaches under the national team’s new head coach, Gregg Popovich, according to two people familiar with USAB’s selections.
Golden State’s Kerr, Indiana’s McMillan and Villanova’s Wright will bring significant experience — and a measure of star power — to Popovich’s bench in their roles as assistants for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China as well as the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, according to the people, who were not authorized to discuss the appointments publicly.
The United States hasn’t formally qualified for the 2019 World Cup but is in a strong position. Led by its qualifying coach, Jeff Van Gundy, and featuring a rotating roster of players primarily from the NBA’s G League, Team USA is 7-1 with just four qualifiers remaining. One or two more wins should clinch a spot in China.
Popovich, entering his 22nd full season as coach of the San Antonio Spurs, is succeeding Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski as head coach of the men’s senior national team after Krzyzewski’s wildly successful run from 2006-16, with a record of 88-1. Team USA won five major championships under Krzyzewski: Olympic gold in 2008, 2012 and 2016 and FIBA World Cup titles in 2010 and 2014.
Kerr, 53, has been close to Popovich since he played for him in San Antonio. Kerr has won three championships in his first four seasons as head coach of the Warriors.
McMillan, 54, was a USAB assistant under Krzyzewski from 2006-12 and led the Pacers to a 48-34 record last season that made Indiana the surprise of the Eastern Conference.
Wright, 56, has coached Villanova to two national championships in the past three seasons, establishing himself as the hottest coach in the college game.