Jordi Fernandez has been on different coaching staffs around the NBA for almost 15 years now, starting in Cleveland back in 2009. Today, he’s an assistant for the Kings and was chosen to lead Canada in the recent FIBA World Cup, replacing an established veteran like Nick Nurse. The trainer guided the North American country to their first-ever FIBA medal, earning the competition’s third place.
Fernandez was also one of the finalists for the Toronto Raptors head coaching job, but they ended up hiring Darko Rajakovic a couple of months ago. However, the 40-year-old recently admitted in an interview that he hopes to get the opportunity soon.
In spite of his desire, he was clear that nothing can replace the experience of making history together with the Canadian national team.
How Jordi Fernandez is earning respect as the next great NBA head coaching candidate with Team Canada https://t.co/Bot0yKe0ZB
— Robert Helineva (@RHelineva) September 10, 2023
“I’m excited to learn, to do new things and have different challenges in my life, that is important. Other than that, I’m not even obsessed with it,” he said to Mundo Deportivo this week.
“I’d really like to be an NBA head coach, and I trust that it will happen, but I wouldn’t change this World Cup experience and the opportunity to coach at the Olympics for anything in the world,” Fernandez expressed. “That’s what really excites me because that’s what will happen. The rest, it doesn’t make much sense to think about things that you don’t know if they will happen.”
The 40-year-old trainer was especially proud of the style of play performed by his Canadian players during the international competition, saying it was more similar to European teams than U.S. basketball.
“We have a style of play that had to be different due to our physical capabilities and qualities. We are not a European team, nor are we the United States, we have our own identity,” he said.
Fernandez praised Gilgeous-Alexander and explained why the star was able to thrive with the squad around him
There is no doubt that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was not only the Canada’s main man, but arguable the most consistent player in the FIBA tournament. The Oklahoma City guard averaged 24.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals throughout the competition.
“You have to help players him a little so that they adapt to the FIBA game with some time,” Fernandez said about the Thunder star. “He is very intelligent, and once he adapted, he had a spectacular performance. All the credit is his. A player like that makes you a better coach.”
As many experts wondered if Shai would be able to adapt to the FIBA rule book, he demonstrated his talent transcended expectations. His head coach believes that the Canadian roster was so versatile that they were able to build a support system around him.
“It’s true that we have players who can run the court after stealing the ball, and few can play on offense at this pace,” Fernandez explained. “We generated good shots, I think we were number 1 or 2 in offensive efficiency in the entire tournament. People can say whatever they want about game systems or having a 20-second play to generate a shot. In the end, we created many quality shots and then made them because good shots are easier to make.”