Imagine traveling across the globe for 17 hours just to see your favorite teams get beat.
All I can say is poor LSK.
With that said, that 7-11 shot as well as the scene where he high-fived Jaren Jackson Jr. got me thinking of how less intimidating was it to play against Team USA and Canada.
Well, at least Canada has a more pronounced frontline – despite what you think about Kelly Olynyk and Dwight Powell.
Positionless basketball is hurting Team USA right now and I don’t think they can rely on sheer talents anymore.
Intimidation is the key.
If the Dream Team or the Redeem Team for that matter would play in the FIBA World Cup, not just in 2023... but in all instances of the World Cup... they will ace it because they are playing with their idols. The difference between having a Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson or Kobe Bryant or Lebron James is that they are ambassadors. Even if they are the teams to beat, they are still regarded as hardcourt heroes.
And no offense to Bobby Portis, Walker Kessler, Cameron Johnson, and even Austin Reaves, Brandon Ingram, and Mikal Bridges for that matter but these players will not intimidate the European players because of how in sync they are with each other, the assurance that they will have the biggest players on the court, and how easy is it for them to transition to FIBA rules.
When Germany won the World Cup, they faced a tough team in Serbia. With that said, they only have Bogdan Bogdanovic as their most accomplished NBA player with Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic begging off. Meanwhile, Germany has seven returning players from the 2019 FIBA World Cup and even if Maxi Kleber failed to make the trip, he was replaced by the Wagner Bros – Moritz and Franz. Much like every team in the world, not limited to the United States and the Philippines, team chemistry will always be an issue.
With that said, I don’t think Team USA’s bounce-back is as easy at the moment.
The Redeem Team 2.0 in Paris will face a lot of obstacles – one of which is their inability to get away from the NBA game. You can send all the old reliables but at the end of the day, they still won’t have a center – unless they risk Anthony Davis or Joel Embiid – two players with historical injury scares.
The NBA can easily implement a rule change to set it up for FIBA’s standards. Shortening the three-point line will make it easy for the teams to implement the zone defense. But will the fans accept it? The move eliminates two of the fun parts of the NBA experience – highlight jams and halfcourt triples. There is a reason why DeMar DeRozan is not that big of a star because of his trademark mid-range jumpers.
And you can also add the physical plays and the dribbling violations here as well.
Will the American fans accept this?
Also, can they ask their seven-footers to stop taking three-point shots? I mean... poor Demarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Jahlil Okafor, Kenneth Faried, and even Ben Simmons for that matter because they got their gameplays ruined because of what the league dictated. I bet they would have killed to have an inside presence like Okafor. In the Tokyo Olympiad, Okafor averaged 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15 minutes of action for Nigeria. Unfortunately for Okafor, Nigeria failed to get past the African qualifiers and he’s currently playing in Spain at the moment on the verge of completing his basketball odyssey.
In the 2014 edition where Team USA convincingly won the tournament, they were represented by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Derrick Rose but their third-best leading scorer is Kenneth F'N Faried. The Manimal averaged 12.2 points and 7.7 rebounds in 9 games and almost 22 minutes of action. I don't know if these are garbage time points but with the way Team USA manhandled their opponents, I bet these garbage minutes mean for their opponents (and I guess the quotient system for classification purposes.) Drummond played limited minutes in the tourney but the team also had Davis, Cousins, Rudy Gay, Mason Plumlee, and Faried to give the team a variety of bigs to compete against the Jokics of the world.
Now that I think about it, this is why Andray Blatche was great for Gilas Pilipinas. At the time the Philippines got him, positionless basketball was at its peak and despite throwing those insane three-point shooting swerves, he had the intimidation factor and he was almost unstoppable on the inside.
I mean, try posting him up or try stopping his post-up moves.
Who in Team USA could even do what he did?
Right now, most USA fans are pissed because their main gripe is that they invented the sport so they should always win it. It’s like Koreans to taekwondo and Japan to Judo. If Lebron rallied his buddies from the get-go, they wouldn’t be in this kind of predicament at the moment.
Yes, the gold medals are shiny but the only reason why the United States is on top of the overall FIBA World Cup historical medal table is that Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union aren’t a thing anymore.
The Americans are treating the Olympics as their band-aid for opening a World Cup gash but they really need to concentrate their forces more in the World Cup. For a lot of people (I mean the rich ones), the World Cup is an easier destination to visit. While yeah, the next World Cup is going to be played in Doha, Qatar but I’m sure they will provide the same experience as they did with the FIFA version.
Going back to LSK, he basically planed to the Philippines to see his favorite teams brought back to earth.
If Team USA won’t take the FIBA World Cup seriously, I think the disappointment is going to be an every-four-year thing.