A few days ago, we covered Bam Adebayo talking about his Team USA exit. After so many players withdrew from Team USA to prepare for the NBA season, Adebayo showed up but was dismissed from the team, losing a spot to Mason Plumlee, Brook Lopez, and Myles Turner. If you missed it, here’s how Bam commented on it.
“He [Pop] said I wasn’t ready. Everybody has their opinions, so I guess it was his opinion I wasn’t ready.”Bam Adebayo, The Miami Herald
Tim Reynolds followed up on this with coach Popovich and he owned up to his mistake. Pop said Bam wasn’t showing this level of performance in camp and that at the time, it indeed did seem he wasn’t ready. What Pop said next shows us why he’s been one of the greatest coaches of all time.
“Now that you see him during the season, I’ve shaken my head several times. That’s not the guy that we saw during the tryout. Maybe that was my fault. Maybe I should have done it differently so his skills could come out.”Gregg Popovich, via Tim Reynolds
Pop not only owned up to his mistake but immediately went to his methods and what he can learn to put players in a position to succeed. A lot of times, especially after they succeed, coaches adopt a “my way or the highway” approach. Pop is showing that even in this stage of his career, he’s willing to learn and change.
One other thing Pop noticed is that Adebayo seemed to have deferred a bit to other guys on the team. He was the new guy, late addition – “not supposed to be there.” Pop said he believes Adebayo would have a lot more confidence that he belongs at that level.
It will be surprising if he doesn’t get an invitation to Team USA camp for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Bam will definitely have a lot more confidence, and we can be sure Pop will give him the attention he deserves.