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Kyle Kuzma expects Team USA to be ‘the hunted’ at World Cup stage

Kyle Kuzma, Team USA, World Cup, Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has learned a lot during a two-week process in training camp with Team USA, aware that despite the recent dropouts from their commitment to this gold medal chase, the Americans will still be the team in every country’s crosshairs.

“For us, we’re going to be the hunted. That’s how it is every single year playing USA Basketball,” Kuzma told the USAB site. “This country is the cream of the crop for basketball. So, we have to realize that every single night, every single game, we’re going to be the hunted. So, we have to play like that.”

Team USA got a big wakeup call on Wednesday, when the Select Team was able to double them up in a scrimmage (36-17), one of two losses a team comprised of Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum, among others.

While the Americans still boast a talent advantage over the rest of the world, they are by far the most inexperienced team at the international stage, with only one player likely returning in this year’s roster in Harrison Barnes — the only remnant of the gold-medal-winning 2016 Rio Olympics team.

Kuzma and company will have to work on the chemistry in every minute of practice, hoping to go into the FIBA 2019 World Cup at the end of the month with a decent synergy between he and his teammates.

Head coach Gregg Popovich still has to cut another three players before getting to the final 12-man roster, likely to choose players that work well and cohesively together going into this upcoming challenge.