The FIBA World Cup occurs every four years during the summer. Players are chosen to represent their countries in a tournament-style of play. Team USA is usually stacked with NBA players who are all-stars and some of the leagues best players. The FIBA world cup is in China this year, and the competition looks to be stacked. Many other NBA players are representing their countries in this year’s tournament. Players such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Marc Gasol are representing their home countries. This year has gone really different for Team USA as they have seen players turn down the invitation to play and even withdrawing from the team.
Team USA Loses
Players are invited to participate in the training camp, and from there they play a scrimmage against other players this year it was against players from the G-League and overseas players. Team USA is supposed to be a really stacked, but they lost in a 10-minute scrimmage to the G League and overseas players 36-17. This was not the only game the team lost the 78 game win streak was snapped. Team USA took a heartbreaking four-point loss to Australia 98-94. First loss for a roster of NBA players since the 2006 world cup. San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills torched Team USA scoring 30 points and coming back from 10 down to start the fourth quarter. USA coach Gregg Popovich said the team has had some changes, so they have found the right fit yet. “Some of it is expected with a new group that’s trying to learn about each other and learn a system,” ‘So it’s not surprising. ” The team has had some too many close calls wins like their one-point win against Turkey.
The Changing Roster
Players are allowed to decline the invitation to participate in the training camp and then eventually play in the tournament. The NBA season takes a toll on players, so it is understood why they eventually decline to play in the competition. Players such as Lebron James and Stephen Curry were invited but declined. Players also make the decision to withdraw from the roster due to injuries, especially after what happened to Paul George. It is a possibility that players want to get ready for next season. Zion Williamson turned down his invitation due to his injury sustained in the summer league. Players such as De’ Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, and P.J Tucker all dropped out after the final roster was announced. Kyle Kuzma was made the final roster but got injured. Just recently Jayson Tatum sprained his ankle but will remain on the roster. C.J. McCollum thinks that players are dropping out of the tournament because this team is vulnerable to experience an embarrassing loss. The good thing about this changing roster is that it gives players a chance to polish their skill set by playing with a group of different players. Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown will be on the same team next season, so this experience will give them a chance to play together before next season.
Team USA’s roster is not exactly up to par as compared to previous years, but the team still has a chance to win gold. Every player on the roster plays in the NBA their skill set should not go unnoticed they are talented enough to leave their mark in the tournament.