This U.S Team Isn’t Good Enough

One of my controversial takes I only make in a futile attempt to gain attention is the USA FIBA team would be better off if Donovan Mitchell had no part in it whatsoever. When the U.S fails to win gold at the upcoming World Cup in September the fingers won’t be pointed at the shoot-first guard taking ill-advised shots. It’ll likely be pointed at the Shamrock faction of the red, white and blue squad. On Twitter they received the brunt of the blame for losing to a bunch of Australian Boomers even though the four Celtics players (Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) combined to make 14 of their 28 shot attempts for 42 points, compiled 7 assists and 9 rebounds while the rest shot just 41 percent off of 39 attempts for 52 points, fewer assists and more turnovers.

But now is not the time to play victim. We need to have a serious conversation is Greg Popovich succumbing to dementia like Joe Biden. In what world does it make sense to start Mitchell, Smart, Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes and Myles Turner together? Was Walker late to practice and Popovich wanted to punish him? USA Olympic basketball is usually a hodgepodge of accomplishment players tossed together regardless of fit with the assurance the talent will win out. It’s safe to assume this squad doesn’t enjoy the same luxury. There is no Kevin Durant or LeBron to turn to when nothing is working. Popovich will have to coach his butt off to ensure this team doesn’t suffer an early exit. We lost to a team of Boomers solely due to our inexperience.

The list of players who have made the team is jarring. Even with all the dropouts the litter of eligible players was still promising. Bam Adebayo, John Collins, Marvin Bagley, Thaddeus Young, Jonathon Isaac and Jarrett Allen all tried out and didn’t make it past the scrimmage stage were passed over for the likes of Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee? If you wanted a rebounder why didn’t you give that job to someone with more of a spring in their step? I can forgive Lopez making the team. On his best nights he can stretch the floor, play solid defense, and the Olympic game isn’t like the pro-style we see in the NBA. Bigs like Andrew Bogut and Enes Kanter feel more at home than they do in the States’. But what does Plumlee bring to the table besides me wanting to kill myself?

If it were up to me, I’d start Walker, play Middleton, Tatum and Brown together to have some length on the perimeter and raise my defensive ceiling, plus have a ton of spot-up threats, and Myles Turner as my center. I wouldn’t use Mitchell anymore than as a spark plug off the bench, give him no more than a couple of minutes. If I need a slasher I’m turning to Joe Harris. If I need some grit I’m giving Marcus Smart the longest leash of everyone on the team. Walker needs to be the straw that stirs the drink. Popovich needs to experiment with a lot of small-ball. I wish Young was still on this team because he’s more versatile than Barnes.

Author: sailboatstudios

Hack. Amateur. Professional quitter.

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