Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol doesn’t feel bad for Team USA despite the absence of their top players.
In an interview with ESPN, Gasol — who’s representing Spain in the FIBA World Cup — shared that other countries are also missing players for the FIBA World Cup in China. For one, Spain will be without the likes of Nikola Mirotic, Serge Ibaka and Pau Gasol.
For the Spanish center, Team USA remains talented despite the absence of the NBA stars. While they remain vulnerable now more than ever, USA Basketball still boasts plenty of talents — players who are honing their craft on basketball’s biggest stage.
“I think all teams miss people. Obviously, Team USA has so many great names that it’s different for them but also, they have a lot of talent coming up. There’s always a time of transition for teams, maybe for them it’s been all at once but at some point, there’s always that point of transition. I don’t feel bad for them because they still have a whole bunch of talent coming up”, Gasol told ESPN, via Stefan Djordjevic of Eurohoops.net.
“We miss (Nikola) Mirotic, (Serge) Ibaka, Pau (Gasol), Sergio Rodriguez, (Alex) Abrines… We miss a whole bunch of guys. To me, it’s all excuses if you want to make them. With the void of some players comes an opportunity for other players to step up.”
Team USA named their final roster recently, but it was more like they were forced to choose the players who were left. Kyle Kuzma was the final cut from the 13 players left from training camp, but the Los Angeles Lakers star just pulled out because of an ankle injury.
Gregg Popovich and Co. have a tough task ahead, and while they are not as indestructible as they were in the past years, they remain the favorites with all the talent they have.