Team USA finished its tour of the FIBA World Cup on Saturday by defeating Poland. The victory earned them a seventh-place finish, Team USA's worst ever in a World Cup or Olympics. But this isn't the worst for the Americans - the team was even left off the All-Star Five or the honors team.
The American team was unfortunately overshadowed by international players. On Sunday, Spain earned for themselves the most coveted gold, with Marc Gasol and Ricky Rubio making it to the All-World Cup Team, alongside Luis Scola of Argentina, Serbia's Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Even Fournier of France. But Team USA's failure wasn't really a surprise, considering they did not progress deep into the tournament. Kemba Walker, the team's leading scorer, was merely ranked 28th among all players.
No Americans on the all-World Cup team: Bogdanovic (Serbia), Fournier (France), Rubio (Spain), Gasol (Spain), and Scola (Argentina). Rubio named tournament MVP — Joe Vardon (@joevardon) September 15, 2019
The closest scorer next to Kimba was Donovan Mitchell, who made it to rank 44, followed by Harrison Barnes at 60th. The three players were the only Americans who averaged two digits in the entire tournament.
Gregg Popovich, Team USA's head coach, did all that he could, but the Americans still failed to outshine other performers. The roster was banged up toward the end, and many stars refused to participate, but still, Team USA could have performed better. Some fans commented on how the Americans did not play even close to their true potential.
But this isn't an attack to those selected; each member of the team is skillful in his own right. They were great in the international tournament, and their respective teams performed way better than the American team at FIBA.
However, we can all agree that Team USA indeed went far south at the FIBA World Cup.
Meanwhile, FIBA is considering to adjust travel demands on teams at the next World Cup. Apparently, the tournament in China has been bombarded by complaints about the distances participating countries had to cover without much time to prepare for games.
They were arguments concerning Argentina and Spain's win, who was able to rest for two days before their games, while those who didn't make it to the semifinals, such as France and Italy, only had one day.
"After having experienced it, on paper sometimes it looks perfect," FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said. "Then you see the imperfect aspects of it. These are the things we're ready to improve in the future."