live Infotainment Factory: US View: America react to World Cup 'embarrassment'

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

US View: America react to World Cup 'embarrassment'


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In the fallout from the USA's stunning elimination from the FIBA World Cup, there was reflection of what went wrong and what was learned from the result.

France defeated the reigning champions in China 89-79 to reach the semi-finals where they will next meet Argentina for a spot in the final. Australia's Boomers will take on the 2006 champions Spain in the other semi.

Before their loss to France, USA won 58-straight games in international tournaments, and while there was shock at the result, mostly the reaction was one of quiet contemplation, putting together the clues that showed the writing was always on the wall.

Team USA's defeat was a grim reality check for the proud basketball nation that sent in a team without their biggest names, and still commanded respect as the tournament favourite. Even as guys like LeBron James, Steph Curry, James Harden, and 14 other NBA stars pulled out in the lead-up to the event, choosing to focus on the 82-game seasons in front of them instead of their national team duties, USA were considered the team to beat, going for their third-straight World Cup title.

Now that they've fallen short, naturally the team that the USA did end up sending to China copped the brunt of criticism.

https://twitter.com/usabasketball/status/1171770197721649154

"The better team won. But the best team was at home," AP's Tim Reynolds wrote.

"Of the 35 players originally picked last year by USA Basketball for its roster pool this summer, four made it to China. The group that ultimately got assembled for this mission was a bunch of guys not even on the radar screens when this selection process began.

"They played hard. But there's no medal for playing hard."

"The loss is embarrassing for the U.S., but it's not a surprise," wrote Sean Gregory from TIME.

"France took the World Cup seriously, as four of its NBA players, including reigning two-time NBA defensive player of year Rudy Gobert, were in the starting lineup.

"This is America's earliest exit from an international tournament since the 2002 World Championship, which was a low point in the country's hoops history.

"But in an era of "load management" — an industry term that fans who loathe skipped games might refer to as "too much damn rest" — a watered-down roster is predictable."

https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine/status/1171769535130558464

"Team USA looked like a low seed trying with all its might to upset a top seed in March, not the most powerful basketball nation in the world trying to win gold in summer," Brian Windhorst wrote on ESPN.

"The Americans were playing unorthodox lineups to try to deal with the best player on the floor, who was on the other team. They were undersized at almost every position and forced to substitute to try to win possessions with energy instead of execution. When they got badly behind, they relied on hero ball, hoping percentages wouldn't correct.

"Their attempts were admirable and possibly even doable had everything aligned just right. But that is the reality of a Cinderella, not a champion. That's just the truth."

Marcus Smart of USA reacts during FIBA World Cup

"Team USA had more NBA starters than stars, and it showed," Wall Street Journal's Ben Choen said in his piece entitled 'Team USA lost to France, and it wasn't a fluke'.

"The Americans were still the favourites, but there had never been less of a talent gap between them and the rest of the planet.

"The glaring weaknesses of Team USA revealed themselves at the worst possible time. They didn't have someone like Durant, James or Kobe Bryant to bend the game to his will, and they didn't have the shooting to compensate for not having size. With their margin for error already minuscule, Team USA went 4-of-11 from the free-throw line and 1-of-5 from the 3-point line in the fourth quarter, and they went from down 10 to up seven to down 10 again as the buzzer sounded.

"NBA basketball and FIBA basketball are like spinach and kale. They look similar. But they taste and feel completely different. And one is beginning to leave a bitter taste for the Americans."

Donovan Mitchell was the standout for the USA, with 29 points, but he couldn't do it alone, and lacked the support he needed. The obvious problems with chemistry in the side so haphazardly tossed together was also a major talking point.

https://twitter.com/SIChrisMannix/status/1171769585613365248

"With Mitchell having one the great international games in USA history, we saw [Kemba] Walker try to take over and fail. I'm not saying the loss is on Walker only. [Khris] Middleton shot 2-of-7. Myles Turner only played 10 minutes with foul trouble," Charles Curtis from USA Today wrote

"And from a larger perspective, this team lacked the star power and chemistry that other squads like France and Argentina, which shockingly beat Nikola Jokic and Serbia without names like Manu Ginobili had."

https://twitter.com/MrMichaelLee/status/1171773996628623361

"Don't send our best or second best, this is what you get," tweeted the Athletic's Michael Lee.

After the game USA coach Gregg Popovich was not willing to pile on the NBA stars that chose not to play in the FIBA World Cup.

''Doesn't matter who is on the team, and I couldn't be more proud of these 12 guys who sacrificed their summer to come here, having never played with each other before,'' Popovich said.

''They put themselves in the arena and competed, and they deserve credit for that, just like France deserves credit for winning. It's not about, 'Well, the United States didn't have their other guys.'

''There's no such thing as other guys. These are the guys that were here, and they did a great job, and I'm very proud of them.''

Donovan Mitchell of USA in action against Evan Fournier #10 of France

But Mitchell, himself one of the second-team selections, put a flicker of heat on, without completely blaming those who chose not to play in China.

"If [they] didn't want to come here, that's on them. They didn't want to play? They didn't want to play," Mitchell said.

"I know how I feel, I know how those guys feel, that's where my head's at. We have 12 guys who came here to compete for America, just like every other country. It sucks that some of our country people don't feel that way about it, but we don't care. We wanted to compete and we did."

Head Coach Gregg Popovich of USA talk with his player during FIBA World Cup

The Celtics took some wisecracks on social media from USA fans, with a majority of their big names in the national team.

"Celtics fans, might understandably feel slightly concerned following the United States' elimination from the World Cup, considering the fact that four of Boston's key contributors were on Team USA's roster," CBS Sport's Michael Kaskey-Blomain said.

"Jayson Tatum missed a bulk of the tournament nursing an ankle injury, which isn't ideal heading into the season, while Kemba Walker looked overwhelmed at times as the focal point of Team USA's offense - a role that will be similar in Boston. While Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were productive, neither jumped out in a way to indicate that they were on the verge of a breakout season."

https://twitter.com/robinlundberg/status/1171779046042218497https://twitter.com/celticsblog/status/1171776374245339136https://twitter.com/Trevor_Lane/status/1171773596550586368

There was also the realisation that as good as the USA is, world basketball was thriving and a number of teams with NBA stars of their own - including Greece, Australia, Serbia, and France - would not be easy-beats.

"We found out that the rest of the world, they're actually not to be trifled with," ESPN's Pablo Torre said on High Noon podcast.

"The United States men's national basketball team arrived at this FIBA World Cup fearing Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece and, most of all, Nikola Jokic of Serbia. It turns out that the Americans, on top of their roster limitations, should have been worried most about Rudy Gobert of France," Marc Stein wrote for New York Times.

"Gobert and Evan Fournier, France's inside-outside combination from the NBA, combined to torment the United States virtually from start to finish."

The Athletic's Michael Lee even floated the theory that FIBA wanted the USA to lose to "level the playing field".

https://twitter.com/MrMichaelLee/status/1171861261463805954

But regardless if these reactions from the US, there will be changes made after the team's embarrassing result at the World Cup where the only "silver lining" was that they qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the process of reaching the quarterfinals. And the Olympics obviously holds a greater significance to USA's basketball big names than the World Cup.

"The U.S. will clearly have to make some major tweaks to the roster before the Olympics get underway," CBS Sport's Michael Kaskey-Blomain said.

"Expect plenty of other big U.S. names to find the time [to be at the Olympics] that just didn't seem to be there this summer," AP's Reynolds wrote.

"There's no need to tear apart USA Basketball just yet. The Americans deserve a chance to right themselves for the Olympics. If they lose in Tokyo? Then there's no time for rest. It's time to start sending America's dozen very best players to the Olympics. Only a true Dream Team could save the USA," wrote TIME's Gregory.

https://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat/status/1171769678626217984

In the fallout from the USA's stunning elimination from the FIBA World Cup, there was reflection of what went wrong and what was learned from the result.

France defeated the reigning champions in China 89-79 to reach the semi-finals where they will next meet Argentina for a spot in the final. Australia's Boomers will take on the 2006 champions Spain in the other semi.

Before their loss to France, USA won 58-straight games in international tournaments, and while there was shock at the result, mostly the reaction was one of quiet contemplation, putting together the clues that showed the writing was always on the wall.

Team USA's defeat was a grim reality check for the proud basketball nation that sent in a team without their biggest names, and still commanded respect as the tournament favourite. Even as guys like LeBron James, Steph Curry, James Harden, and 14 other NBA stars pulled out in the lead-up to the event, choosing to focus on the 82-game seasons in front of them instead of their national team duties, USA were considered the team to beat, going for their third-straight World Cup title.

Now that they've fallen short, naturally the team that the USA did end up sending to China copped the brunt of criticism.

https://twitter.com/usabasketball/status/1171770197721649154

"The better team won. But the best team was at home," AP's Tim Reynolds wrote.

"Of the 35 players originally picked last year by USA Basketball for its roster pool this summer, four made it to China. The group that ultimately got assembled for this mission was a bunch of guys not even on the radar screens when this selection process began.

"They played hard. But there's no medal for playing hard."

"The loss is embarrassing for the U.S., but it's not a surprise," wrote Sean Gregory from TIME.

"France took the World Cup seriously, as four of its NBA players, including reigning two-time NBA defensive player of year Rudy Gobert, were in the starting lineup.

"This is America's earliest exit from an international tournament since the 2002 World Championship, which was a low point in the country's hoops history.

"But in an era of "load management" — an industry term that fans who loathe skipped games might refer to as "too much damn rest" — a watered-down roster is predictable."

https://twitter.com/TheSteinLine/status/1171769535130558464

"Team USA looked like a low seed trying with all its might to upset a top seed in March, not the most powerful basketball nation in the world trying to win gold in summer," Brian Windhorst wrote on ESPN.

"The Americans were playing unorthodox lineups to try to deal with the best player on the floor, who was on the other team. They were undersized at almost every position and forced to substitute to try to win possessions with energy instead of execution. When they got badly behind, they relied on hero ball, hoping percentages wouldn't correct.

"Their attempts were admirable and possibly even doable had everything aligned just right. But that is the reality of a Cinderella, not a champion. That's just the truth."

Marcus Smart of USA reacts during FIBA World Cup

"Team USA had more NBA starters than stars, and it showed," Wall Street Journal's Ben Choen said in his piece entitled 'Team USA lost to France, and it wasn't a fluke'.

"The Americans were still the favourites, but there had never been less of a talent gap between them and the rest of the planet.

"The glaring weaknesses of Team USA revealed themselves at the worst possible time. They didn't have someone like Durant, James or Kobe Bryant to bend the game to his will, and they didn't have the shooting to compensate for not having size. With their margin for error already minuscule, Team USA went 4-of-11 from the free-throw line and 1-of-5 from the 3-point line in the fourth quarter, and they went from down 10 to up seven to down 10 again as the buzzer sounded.

"NBA basketball and FIBA basketball are like spinach and kale. They look similar. But they taste and feel completely different. And one is beginning to leave a bitter taste for the Americans."

Donovan Mitchell was the standout for the USA, with 29 points, but he couldn't do it alone, and lacked the support he needed. The obvious problems with chemistry in the side so haphazardly tossed together was also a major talking point.

https://twitter.com/SIChrisMannix/status/1171769585613365248

"With Mitchell having one the great international games in USA history, we saw [Kemba] Walker try to take over and fail. I'm not saying the loss is on Walker only. [Khris] Middleton shot 2-of-7. Myles Turner only played 10 minutes with foul trouble," Charles Curtis from USA Today wrote

"And from a larger perspective, this team lacked the star power and chemistry that other squads like France and Argentina, which shockingly beat Nikola Jokic and Serbia without names like Manu Ginobili had."

https://twitter.com/MrMichaelLee/status/1171773996628623361

"Don't send our best or second best, this is what you get," tweeted the Athletic's Michael Lee.

After the game USA coach Gregg Popovich was not willing to pile on the NBA stars that chose not to play in the FIBA World Cup.

''Doesn't matter who is on the team, and I couldn't be more proud of these 12 guys who sacrificed their summer to come here, having never played with each other before,'' Popovich said.

''They put themselves in the arena and competed, and they deserve credit for that, just like France deserves credit for winning. It's not about, 'Well, the United States didn't have their other guys.'

''There's no such thing as other guys. These are the guys that were here, and they did a great job, and I'm very proud of them.''

Donovan Mitchell of USA in action against Evan Fournier #10 of France

But Mitchell, himself one of the second-team selections, put a flicker of heat on, without completely blaming those who chose not to play in China.

"If [they] didn't want to come here, that's on them. They didn't want to play? They didn't want to play," Mitchell said.

"I know how I feel, I know how those guys feel, that's where my head's at. We have 12 guys who came here to compete for America, just like every other country. It sucks that some of our country people don't feel that way about it, but we don't care. We wanted to compete and we did."

Head Coach Gregg Popovich of USA talk with his player during FIBA World Cup

The Celtics took some wisecracks on social media from USA fans, with a majority of their big names in the national team.

"Celtics fans, might understandably feel slightly concerned following the United States' elimination from the World Cup, considering the fact that four of Boston's key contributors were on Team USA's roster," CBS Sport's Michael Kaskey-Blomain said.

"Jayson Tatum missed a bulk of the tournament nursing an ankle injury, which isn't ideal heading into the season, while Kemba Walker looked overwhelmed at times as the focal point of Team USA's offense - a role that will be similar in Boston. While Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were productive, neither jumped out in a way to indicate that they were on the verge of a breakout season."

https://twitter.com/robinlundberg/status/1171779046042218497https://twitter.com/celticsblog/status/1171776374245339136https://twitter.com/Trevor_Lane/status/1171773596550586368

There was also the realisation that as good as the USA is, world basketball was thriving and a number of teams with NBA stars of their own - including Greece, Australia, Serbia, and France - would not be easy-beats.

"We found out that the rest of the world, they're actually not to be trifled with," ESPN's Pablo Torre said on High Noon podcast.

"The United States men's national basketball team arrived at this FIBA World Cup fearing Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece and, most of all, Nikola Jokic of Serbia. It turns out that the Americans, on top of their roster limitations, should have been worried most about Rudy Gobert of France," Marc Stein wrote for New York Times.

"Gobert and Evan Fournier, France's inside-outside combination from the NBA, combined to torment the United States virtually from start to finish."

The Athletic's Michael Lee even floated the theory that FIBA wanted the USA to lose to "level the playing field".

https://twitter.com/MrMichaelLee/status/1171861261463805954

But regardless if these reactions from the US, there will be changes made after the team's embarrassing result at the World Cup where the only "silver lining" was that they qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the process of reaching the quarterfinals. And the Olympics obviously holds a greater significance to USA's basketball big names than the World Cup.

"The U.S. will clearly have to make some major tweaks to the roster before the Olympics get underway," CBS Sport's Michael Kaskey-Blomain said.

"Expect plenty of other big U.S. names to find the time [to be at the Olympics] that just didn't seem to be there this summer," AP's Reynolds wrote.

"There's no need to tear apart USA Basketball just yet. The Americans deserve a chance to right themselves for the Olympics. If they lose in Tokyo? Then there's no time for rest. It's time to start sending America's dozen very best players to the Olympics. Only a true Dream Team could save the USA," wrote TIME's Gregory.

https://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat/status/1171769678626217984 https://ift.tt/2NTGK81
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