Fall from grace; Team USA finishes 7th at FIBA World Cup

Tony Roberts & Quincy jones, Contributors

The United States Men’s National  Basketball Team’s 58-game winning streak in non-exhibition games ended on Sept 11, with an 89-79 loss to France in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals. The defeat has also ended the USA’s streak of five-straight major tournament titles and their chances of medaling in the tournament.

The team then followed their loss versus France with a loss versus Serbia in a classification game. That loss included being down 25 points to in the first quarter.

A win versus Poland helped the United States capture seventh place.

Team USA has shown a chink in their armor of dominance. In past tournaments, the U.S. has dominated other countries by at least 40 points because of their abundance of star power.

In this year’s tournament, the U.S team lacks size in the paint ,and the team doesn’t have the offensive talent to negate this flaw.  

Team USA can not afford to play small-ball against elite international competition as the Tokyo Olympics come closer. Harrison Barnes and Jaylen Brown as vital points in the frontcourt as proven in this tournament, but need bigger players to help.

Their opposition would be too much to overcome, especially considering the fact that these players are also in the NBA: Rudy Gobert, Marc Gasol, Luis Scola, Aron Baynes, and Andrew Bogut. 

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “Other countries don’t fear Team USA.” These countries have no reason to do so since they don’t have to face players such as Lebron James, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant. 

Most of these players decided to opt-out of playing in the World Cup so they can preserve their physical and mental wellbeings. 

James Harden and Anthony Davis decided not to play because they did not want to risk having tired legs during the playoffs. De’Aaron Fox decided to step down, so he could create team chemistry with his team ahead of the season. 

 For these reasons, this year’s U.S. Men’s National Team consists of younger and less talented players.

The U.S. men’s basketball team hasn’t looked this rough in a tournament since they won the Bronze medal at Athens in 2004.

The team showed glimpses of greatness defensively before their loss to France. Team USA was ranked first defensively out of all the teams coming into the tournament.

However, the team has dropped two straight games, a first for Team USA featuring NBA players since 2002 per Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report.

Team USA needs to recoup and develop ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.