Serbia’s Coach Affirms Kyle Anderson’s Need for Time to Adapt to FIBA Competition

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HONG KONG — Serbia coach Svetislav Pesic witnessed his team execute a strong defensive performance.

They not only enjoyed a 105-63 victory over China; they also prevented the latter’s NBA pro in Kyle Anderson – also known as Li Kaier – from scoring in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Eagles successfully prevented Li from making a single basket during his 25 minutes and 49 seconds on the floor. The 29-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves forward failed to convert a single field goal out of nine attempts.

His contributions included four rebounds, four assists, and one steal.

“The most important thing for me is individual responsibility, especially in defense.

“Like tonight, our target was Anderson, to see how the player or the team reacts when given a special assignment. We displayed excellent defense in an official game in China and tonight,” said Pesic.

Despite witnessing the Eagles provoke such a disappointing performance from Li, the former FC Barcelona coach remained adamant that Li would eventually break out in this FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Every player needs time to adjust to new surroundings, and Pesic felt that this was the case with the former UCLA Bruin.

FIBA-WC-CHN-vs.-SRB-Kyle-Anderson-3334-1 Serbia coach says Kyle Anderson needs time to adjust to FIBA 2023 FIBA World Cup Basketball News  - philippine sports news

“An excellent player. A very smart player,” said the 73-year-old mentor.

“This is a new situation for him — the first time playing FIBA basketball. The gaps on the court in FIBA basketball are smaller than in the NBA.

“He has excellent ball handling for his size. He has good court vision. He’s not just a scorer; he’s someone who plays as a second point guard,” he continued.

Before Serbia had the chance to speak during the press conference, their counterparts from China addressed the media first. Team Dragon’s coach Sasha Djordjevic refused to criticize Li publicly when asked about his failure to convert a basket.

Every player and coach in the FIBA Basketball World Cup knows that their performances and in-game decisions are under intense scrutiny. However, drawing conclusions after just the first game would be harsh.

“I think from day to day, Li Kaier will find his rhythm and learn how to play FIBA basketball,” said Pesic.

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