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Afp

NBA Hawks coach Pierce joins USA national team staff

By AFP
media Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce was named Monday as an assistant coach on the defending champion United States team for this year's Basketball World Cup in China GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Lloyd Pierce, coach of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, was named Monday as an assistant coach on the United States national team, a replacement for departing Indiana Pacers coach Nate McMillan.

Pierce will work on the staff of US coach Gregg Popovich, who guides the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, directing NBA players in this year's Basketball World Cup in China and next year's Tokyo Olympics if they qualify.

Other assistants include Steve Kerr, coach of the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, and Jay Wright, who coached Villanova University to the US college crown in 2016 and 2018.

"It's an honor to receive this opportunity to represent our country and to work with such great coaches and staff," Pierce said.

McMillan resigned due to scheduling conflicts, according to USA Basketball.

The US national team, two-time defending World Cup champions, will begin a training camp on August 5 in Las Vegas ahead of the 32-team event August 31-September 15. The Americans' first-round foes in Shanghai include Japan, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

Among the NBA players to be considered for the US lineup in China are Golden State's Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson; Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Paul George; Houston's James Harden and New Orleans star Anthony Davis.

Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers has said he will not play in the World Cup but could join the US squad next year in Japan.

Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball's men's national team managing director since 2005, knew Pierce during his stint from 2013-2018 as an assistant for the Philadelphia 76ers after prior stops in Cleveland, Golden State and Memphis.

"He has demonstrated the ability in particular to be an outstanding defensive coach," Colangelo said. "We're fortunate to have someone of his abilities. I think he's really a good addition."

Pierce, 42, guided the Hawks to a 29-53 record in his first season as an NBA head coach. With the 76ers, he oversaw a squad that led the NBA in defensive shooting percentage (.434).

 
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