As one of the major importers of the NBA, Gregg Popovich is well aware of the threats Australia faces when it prepares to visit the country for the first time.
The five-fold NBA title-winning coach leads the United States to China & # 39; s World Cup from August 31, but no sooner than a double-header against the Boomers in Melbourne.
He will be walking on the sidelines there for a long time Patty Mills trying to get someone over his old friend in a match that the San Antonio Spurs coach admits will be strange.
"He is a pain in the neck that you know, tries to intimidate me, laughs at me and tells me how they will fool us," thought Popovich about Mills.
"I don't know (whether I like to play against him), he will try to beat us, right?
"He is a brilliant player and a great person in our program and was so important to the national team in Australia.
"He is one of those special people that we all fall in love with."
Popovich assured Boomers' guard in 2012 after a first three-year stint in Portland, while the colossal Australian center Aron Baynes was in its infancy in his NBA career when the couple won a title with the Spurs in 2014.
Popovich will shorten his team to 12 to visit Australia for matches against the Boomers and Canada, with James Harden, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry and Donovan Mitchell among the American stars who were named in the first 20-person team on Tuesday.
He hopes that they adopt a bit of the Australian approach, to a Boomers side he says it will be an "important factor" in China.
"I am so impressed by our transparency … it is as if every Australian plays the way you want to see every player play as a coach," he said about coaching Australians.
"They are in love with the game, in love with each other and they do it for the right reasons.
"That makes them such a & # 39; n tough opponent."
He said All-Star Ben Simmons& # 39; addition to the side would only be a & # 39; add momentum & # 39; to their indictment for a young international medal.
"It's fantastic that he plays … the better the competition, the better the games, the more important each game becomes and the more you value winning," Popovich said.
"It is clear that Ben has an enormous amount of talent, and shows how important he and all his partners think about this and how they want to be successful and come together."
. (tagsToTranslate) BKB Aust (t) Australia (t) Gregg Popovich (t) Boomers (t) World Cup (t) (t) NBL (t) NBA