Team USA thumped by group of G-League, overseas players in scrimmage
Team USA will enter FIBA World Cup competition later this month as overwhelming favorites to bring home gold, no matter who Gregg Popovich and company ultimately decide to take to China. The eye-popping result of a scrimmage between the 17-man roster competing to be on the national team and a group of fringe NBA players, though, certainly won’t quiet concerns about the Americans’ relative lack of top-tier talent compared to years past.
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, Team USA was beaten 36-17 on Wednesday by a squad coached by Jeff Van Gundy that featured not a single NBA rotation player.
A scrappy squad of players featuring some who played in @FIBAWC qualifying for @usabasketball and are being coached again this week by Jeff Van Gundy just took it to the USAB senior national team in a scrimmage open at the end to the media. Final score: 36-17
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 14, 2019
Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell noted that not even the Americans’ closing five of Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, P.J. Tucker, and Brook Lopez could stem the tide brought by former NBA players Travis and David Wear, Justin Anderson, Chasson Randle, and more.
A collection of G-League/overseas players beat Team USA (closing line up of K. Walker, D. Mitchell, H. Barnes, PJ Tucker and B. Lopez handily in a scrimmage just now to close USA practice. Great effort from the unheralded group.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) August 14, 2019
It’s worth mentioning that the winning side has a history of thriving in international competition. Many of the players coached by Van Gundy on Wednesday in Los Angeles wore red, white, and blue in FIBA World Cup qualifying play in December, January, and February.
But it’s also undeniable that Team USA will send its least-talented roster to international competition in years, regardless of who ultimately makes the cut. James Harden, Anthony Davis, and Damian Lillard were the would-be head-liners who first pulled out of consideration for the World Cup, beginning a slew of defections that included Bradley Beal, C.J. McCollum, Eric Gordon, and more.
The FIBA World Cup begins on August 31.