The 2019 FIBA World Cup will feature great teams trying to win the gold medal, but the defending champions don’t look as dangerous as they were five years ago. Team USA has seen a total of 14 NBA superstars skipping the tournament, forcing USA Basketball to call different players to defend their country.
Everybody is trying to understand what’s going on with this situation, and Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum tried to explain that during an appearance on Adrian Wojnarowski’s ‘The Woj Pod’.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 6, 2019
“I think other guys looked at it like: ‘Why would I go and potentially be the face of a losing roster?’ Or the workload part. If we all play, the workload is less — 20-25 minutes, you get blowouts, you’re moving on. A lot of guys don’t play, your minutes might go up, your usage might go up, and that affects your summer as you go into March when that crash comes.”
“January is where that crash comes before the All-Star break and then after the All-Star break, guys start to break down in March and April. Those extra miles and summertime hours.”
“I’ve led the league in miles or close to it every year, I don’t want to run around in Australia or China and then come back and have to get ready for the season when I can be strategically planning my workload,” he said.
What CJ said makes total sense. If players decide to withdraw from the tournament, the team gets weaker and that puts more pressure on the rest of the squad, so why any of these guys would go out there and risk their health and reputation at an international level when they’re about to enter a huge NBA season?
Team USA has gone through this before and it wasn’t until they crashed awfully in international tournaments that the stars who were supposed to lead them decided to come back.
The team looks good ahead of the World Cup, though, but now the rest of the countries have bigger hopes to dethrone the Americans with their weakened roster.