Although that set the standard for USA Basketball, the program began to fall behind other countries.
The Tall Blacks will play Greece, Brazil and Montenegro at the 2019 FIBA World Cup. He was on hand in Shenzhen, China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup draw, which resulted in the US landing in Group 3 with Czech Republic, Japan and Turkey.
USA Basketball, who are on a quest for an unprecedented third consecutive FIBA World Cup championship, still doesn't know which players will be wearing the red, white and blue this summer in China.
"I think about that all the time", Popovich said. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the 2nd Round and will be placed into a new group with the two top teams from a separate group.
Each team plays against the other three teams in their group once.
The top two from each group will go into the second round in China.
For the first time ever the top seven teams from the FIBA Basketball World Cup will earn direct qualification to the Olympics.
SuppliedShea Ili on the drive for the Tall Blacks
Gilas Pilipinas, which needed to win its last two assignments and a Korea victory over Lebanon to push through, is making its second straight appearance in the World Cup.
Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Turkey and Venezuela are in Pot 4 while Germany, Czech, Poland and Iran are in Pot 5.
The other four will reach Tokyo through qualifying tournaments over the next year.
"You might say we have been better in those situations, when no one expects us to do well, we love to be in the fight as an underdog".
"It's a greater sense of honour to be playing for your country", Bryant said. Japan, Jordan, Tunisia and the last African team to qualify, Ivory Coast make up teams in Pot 8. "When you start out the game, you hear your national anthem being played, you see everybody in the arena with their flags representing their country and color, it's just such a great honor to be a part of that".
Group F teams will play in Nanjing, Group G in Shenzhen while Dongguan is the preferred city for Group H teams. Second-round games will be played from Sept. 6-9, quarterfinal matchups are on Sept. 10-11, the semifinals are on Sept. 13 and the championship game is in Beijing on Sept. 15.
The highest ranked team from Oceania at the World Cup will book a berth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.