Warning Signs Were Prominent Prior to Team USA Defeats
Team USA suffered its second straight defeat on Wednesday Night losing to Serbia in the FIBA World Cup. The U.S. national team suffered a shocking loss Tuesday night to France in the quarterfinals. The loss Wednesday night meant the team would not finish higher than seventh after going 5-0 in the preliminaries.
France defeated Team USA by the score of 89-79 in the quarterfinals. France featured NBA players Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert. The two combined to score 43 points.
Wednesday night Serbia held a 25 point lead on the United States in the first quarter. Team USA’s comeback fell short losing for the first time to Serbia 94-89. The possibility the Americans were unfocused after losing to France is noticeable.
Consecutive Streak Snapped
Team USA won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competition with NBA players before Tuesday’s defeat.
The highly-publicized makeup of this team because many top tier players declined to participate. Team USA still featured the likes of Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell. Both players performances in the tournament were bright spots for the team.
Team USA Faces New Reality
The problem for the Americans is the room for error has dramatically diminished. Many countries now feature at least one NBA player, and some of the better teams feature a multitude of NBA players. Team USA’s advantage over the last decade is just clearly having a team more talented than their opponent. This tournament became a referendum that this is no longer the case, especially if the Americans can not entice all of their stars to play.
The United States did not receive this many declines since the 2006 world championships the last time the USA suffered defeat. No player that participated in 2016 Olympics participated in this tournament.
The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is next year will look to recruit their very best to ensure a better outcome. Head coach Gregg Popovich and managing director Jerry Colangelo have something to sell players on the importance of their participation for the country.
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