This past Team USA roster was filled with NBA rising stars who weren’t able to bring back any medals from their FIBA World Cup participation in Manila, Philippines. Even though they did show some promise during the first matches, they ended up losing three out of their last four games and finished fourth.
Many NBA players have felt the need to redeem U.S. basketball’s reputation and are already talking about joining the Olympic roster for Paris 2024. Insider Shams Charania was the first to announce that LeBron James wanted to assemble a group of stars who would compete in France next year, as various other players have declared the same interest.
One of those players who wants in, and reportedly texted the Lakers superstar to join, is Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma. At the start of the week, the Washington star openly criticized Steve Kerr’s choice for the World Cup roster on his X account.
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“USA basketball better get some NBA stars that know how to play a role. Anybody can be impressive when they have the ball, but can they be equally effective when defending and spending some time in the corner?” Kuzma wrote.
Basketball reporter Jake Fischer also gave an interesting take to explain Team USA’s recent failure, questioning why the roster selection did not go through a healthy filter.
“There was no veteran with senior national team experience. There were no trials or auditions with players being cut after scrimmages, such as with Canada’s training camp,” he said.
As for Carmelo Anthony, a FIBA ambassador for this past international competition, suggested that Team USA should consider bringing back their NBA superstars to these kinds of tournaments, as they must compete with the ‘cream of the crop’.
“I would love to send the cream of the crop out there every year to compete at the highest level. But we have to respect those guys that are here too. Those guys are professional players. You can’t send the powerhouses every time. If we talk about the development, we’re developing those guys to be able to compete around the world. We take our losses with our wins, and we move on,” Anthony assured.
Right after the World Cup elimination, coach Steve Kerr explained how other nations are catching up with U.S. basketball
Head coach Steve Kerr was devastated by his squad’s defeat against Germany, the eventual champions, and explained the defeat by saying that the level of other men’s basketball national teams shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore.
“The game has been globalized over the last 30 years. These games are difficult. This is not 1992 anymore,” he said. “Players are better all over the world. Teams are better. It’s not easy to win the World Cup or the Olympics,” the coach answered when asked about the United States’ inability to conquer the title in recent years.
As for other basketball experts, former player JJ Redick does believe that some U.S. athletes didn’t reach the expectations and shouldn’t get another chance.
“I think we need to reframe the entire conversation. But most importantly, we need to stop with the FIBA, NBA, this guy… ‘Oh, he’s got exposed.’ What the fuck? Fine. He got exposed in FIBA. It doesn’t mean Brandon Ingram isn’t an All-NBA type player,” he said on his own podcast.
The rest of the roster who represented the United States this summer included Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Austin Reaves, Mikal Bridges, Bobby Portis, Walker Kessler, Cam Johnson, Jaren Jackson Jr, Josh Hart, and Paolo Banchero.