US Olympic Basketball: Favorites to Coach the 2016 Team in Rio De Janeiro

Shawn BrubakerContributor IIAugust 13, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JUNE 02:  Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs reacts in the first half while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on June 2, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Coach Mike Krzyzewski has once again led the United States' basketball team to Olympic gold. He seems poised to ride off into the sunset as one of the true legends of U.S. basketball.

That means the U.S. team will need a new coach in 2016. Two coaches in particular stick out as candidates.


Doc Rivers

If there is any coach that knows how to handle a group of superstars, it's Doc Rivers.

The coach of the original big three, Rivers knows a thing or two about handling big personalities. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce would be a lot for any coach to handle, but adding Rajon Rondo to the mix would be enough to drive any coach crazy.

Rivers not only helped these big personalities work together, but he led them to an NBA Championship and multiple playoff appearances.

Under Rivers, the Celtics have been competitive for a long time, and they look to continue their excellence for at least a few more years.

With Rivers at the helm, there is no reason to believe the Celtics will falter as one of the NBA's top teams.

That consistent excellence is something the U.S. team could use. Rivers would handle the U.S. team's many superstars effectively, helping some players take on new roles while managing the many personalities on the team.

What made Coach K so special was his ability to get the world's best players to take on roles that kept them out of the spotlight. In these games, for instance, LeBron James was willing to pass on the role of main scorer to Kevin Durant, and the team benefited greatly from it.

Rivers is one of the few men in the NBA who share Coach K's ability to get superstars to buy in to a new role. That makes him a solid choice for the new coach.


Gregg Popovich

Maybe the only coach with more success at team-building than Rivers is the Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich.

Popovich began his coaching career with the Spurs with two of the most talented big men in the league in Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Both were superstars, but the way the two played off one another made them even bigger than the sum of their parts.

Now, the Spurs are a much faster, run-and-gun style team that uses Tony Parker's and Manu Ginobli's quickness and offensive presence to dictate the tempo of the game. The ability to balance Parker, Ginobli and Duncan have kept the Spurs among the NBA's top teams for years.

Popovich has rarely worked with the most talented roster in the NBA, but he excels at crafting solid teams, making the group much more than the sum of its players.

A U.S. team coached by Popovich would be guaranteed to be team-first, disciplined and tough.

Perhaps the main criticism of this year's team was that they were a shoot-first, pass later kind of team. For sure, this year's team jacked up a lot of threes instead of trying to find a better look.

Under Popovich, that would change quickly. Sure, the team would still shoot the three-ball regularly, but the team would also spread the ball around more, looking for a better shot.

All in all, Popovich's ability to get star players to buy in to the team mirrors that of Coach K, making him a great choice to be the future coach of the national team.