USA Basketball is about to have its worst finish ever in a major international tournament, either 7th or 8th in this World Cup after consecutive losses to France and Serbia.
There are reasons for the disappointing result, but all starts and ends with who did and did not show up. The guys who did show up are taking some heat for the USA’s poor result, but on Thursday center Myles Turner — who has been the team’s best center but was overwhelmed by Rudy Gobert against France — stuck up for the guys who showed up.
That last bit is the key — these guys showed up and tried their best. Give them some credit. They didn’t put club/personal concerns ahead of country. They sacrificed a chunk of their off-season to represent their nation when others wouldn’t, and that deserves some respect.
Also, Turner is right — don’t question the effort these guys put in. The USA players didn’t mail it in, they didn’t coast. The simple fact of modern international basketball is that the gap between the USA and the rest of the world is not that large anymore, and if we don’t send our best — if top players back out because this is just the World Cup, or because of timing — we will see more results like this. There is little margin for error for the USA anymore.
This version of Team USA could not afford Kemba Walker to have an off shooting game, or for Khris Middleton to blend into the background, or for the players to get away from tempo and ball movement far too often. But they showed up and they tried, and that should give them an advantage when it comes to making the 2020 Tokyo Olympic squad.