The storyline of team USA’s disappointing loss in the quarterfinals to Serbia has dominated the FIBA World Cup headlines. Team USA will not take home the gold medal and will not medal finishing the tournament placing seventh.
There are discussions and debates going on who should shoulder the blame for Team USA’s disappointing performance. There have been two main questions asked.
What role did the top players not participating in the World Cup play?
What does this World Cup performance mean to the future of USA men’s basketball?
The answer to the first question is a resounding Yes! Anytime players like Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, James Harden, LeBron James, Paul George, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Dame Lillard, Kyrie Irving, and etc. do not participate that plays a significant role.
With the game of basketball being a global sport now the obvious question is what did people expect to happen if the top players in the world elected not to participate?
If you go down rosters of the teams participating in the World Cup you quickly see MVP candidates, All NBA team members, NBA award winners, and starters for NBA teams.
There are talented players from all over the world now, and if the top US players are not going to play the US will suffer more losses in future competitions.
The games were already closely contested when the top US players played. There was only a matter of time before the US lost without their top talent participating.
The international game is a very different game from the NBA. The rules are different, the length of the court is shorter, the game is a forty minute game versus a forty-eight minute NBA game, and lastly the way the game is refereed is totally different.
The defender can be much more physical especially on the perimeter, which is a huge adjustment for NBA players who are used to get those foul calls. Also you can institute a zone defense in international play. While, in the NBA you cannot, because of the three-second in the lane rule.
As far as the future is concerned for USA basketball there is going to have to be a level of acceptance that this scenario could happen again if the top players do not participate.
The days of the Dream Team is a distant memory. Future teams are going to have to come in ready to work, practice hard, and be willing to play self less basketball.
Preferably it would be great if a solid core guys would commit to playing like many other players do for their respective countries. This would help build chemistry and cohesion that could carry over to the games.
That is going to be tough with many of top players playing deep into the NBA playoffs and in case of some guys even the NBA finals. Also the World Cup and the Olympics are now back to back. So the top players would be asked to commit to playing for the US in consecutive summers.
This is not realistic, and this puts all the pressure on Team USA Basketball Director Jerry Colangelo to be able to communicate with the players. A system has to be put in place where some of the top players may play in the World Cup, and others would participate in the Olympics.
As it stands now this is a tall order to expect player to play and entire NBA season and post season, and expect them to play in an international tournament.
Especially with the NBA season less than a month away after that. These players compete for NBA championships, and let’s face the fact they earn huge salaries, which makes them beholding to their NBA teams making their commitment to team USA even tougher.
Everyone needs to calm down, and just except this was not a fluke. The game of basketball is now global and that is not going to change.
The players coming from overseas are only going to continue to improve. This means team USA is going to have to step their game up.
If you are a fan and lover of the game you should be excited. There is great basketball being played in these world competitions, which means we will be treated to great basketball year an around.