Smart, one of the best defenders in the NBA, says Team USA has to play high-level defense since it lacks superstar scorers.
“We don’t have guys like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and those guys to come bail us out on the offensive end,” Smart said, via Mass Live. “So our defense is going to be real important for us, especially on nights when our shots aren’t falling.”
Team USA opens up group play against the Czech Republic when the FIBA World Cup starts on Sept. 1. The roster is made up of Kemba Walker, Derrick White, Marcus Smart, Joe Harris, Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Harrison Barnes, Brook Lopez, Mason Plumlee and Myles Turner.
USA has won the FIBA World Cup the last two times. Smart, Turner and White are the three best defenders on Team USA. They will be asked to set the tone on defense and make things difficult for other countries.
On offense, Walker, Mitchell and Tatum will likely lead the charge for Team USA. But like Smart says, the Americans have to focus on getting stops first so their offense comes easier. After all, it's easier to score in transition after getting a stop compared to taking the ball out of bounds after allowing a bucket.