U.S. basketball team coach Steve Kerr addressed a press conference on Thursday, stating that his side is determined to respond at the 2023 FIBA World Cup after their underperformance four years ago.
The five-time World Cup Champion had a setback at the 2019 edition in China, finishing only in seventh place. However, Kerr believes they have gleaned valuable lessons from that experience.
“We had a tough World Cup in 2019 in China, we were well aware how competitive the FIBA teams were going into that tournament, just like we know this time around,” said the Golden State Warriors coach.
“So the only thing you can do from an experience is to learn and try to figure out what you can do better the next time, we have tried to do that in preparation for this year’s World Cup,” he added.
The 2023 FIBA World Cup, co-hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, features 32 teams spanning eight groups. The United States, in Group C with New Zealand, Greece, and Jordan, will commence their campaign against New Zealand on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We assigned different coaches to each team, Mark Few has been scouting them, so he is giving us really good information on them and some of the things we did in practice for based on how New Zealand play, so we’re getting ready for them, we have great respect for them, they are very well coached, they play very hard, they look for quick shots, you have to be well prepared to beat them,” Kerr detailed.
Having displayed impressive form under Kerr’s leadership, the team secured five consecutive wins in their warm-up games, including notable victories against Spain and Germany.
“We really had a good stretch of five games. It’s important for us to feel the FIBA game,” Kerr commented. “The most important thing is to get used to FIBA rules and to learn to play together. Amidst of doing that, we played some tough teams who are going to be a major factor in the World Cup. We have confidence but we also took some blows. Both Spain and Germany really gave us all we could handle and that experience will help us figure out how good teams are now.”
Player Jalen Brunson echoed the sentiment of progression and emphasized the significance of collective play.
“Every time we step out on the court it’s about how can we be better than we were yesterday, that’s been our mindset, we have a lot of guys who come from different situations and play different styles of basketball but here, egos are left at the door,” the New York Knicks star expressed.