When Team USA announced their final roster for the FIBA World Cup, people were vastly disappointed, as most of their stars decided to drop out and young players decided to step up to represent their nation.
Following their close win vs. Turkey, people started blasting these rising stars, as they were used to seeing Team USA demolish their opposition by 20+ plus on every outing. Suffice to say, this team does not look nearly as unbeatable as their predecessors.
So, speculation started to grow about how this team fare in the NBA. Would they make the playoffs? How would their record look if they had to play against NBA competition? So, let’s take an in-depth look at their roster and determine how they’d stack up against their colleagues.
Bench: Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Joe Harris, Khris Middleton, Mason Plumlee, Brook Lopez
If you put all of these players together, you’d get 36 win shares in a full season.
Still, even though people refuse to see it, their bench has a lot of depth. If you want to get stops, you have a top-tier defender in Marcus Smart. Jaylen Brown, Khris Middleton, and Mason Plumlee are all good defenders as well.
If you need shooting, Derrick White, Joe Harris, and Brook Lopez shot 33%, 47%, and 36% from deep, and all of them are more than capable of creating their own shot off the dribble.
Team USA has a bench full of athletic players that can push the pace and run the break, create for others, and pull up from distance.
Starting Five: Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Harrison Barnes, Myles Turner
This starting five may not look as intimidating as the former USA teams, but let’s be fair for a second when judging them.
Collectively, we’re talking about an All-Star player and the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics, the guy that put the Utah Jazz back on the map, some of the league’s best rising stars, a hard-working veteran and former NBA Champion, and the league’s leader in blocked shots.
Also, if you took them away from their respective teams, they’d likely fare a lot worse than they did last season, as you could tell from their combined 27.3 win shares from last year. But, would they make the playoffs?
Projected Record: 48-34
A 48-win season would be enough to barely make the playoffs in the Western Conference last year, but, if you took away all of these guys from their respective teams, they could make a push for the 7th seed in the West.
We can all agree that the Nuggets, Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, Blazers, and Warriors are all better teams than team USA, so they’d likely end up right above of the Jazz who would struggle without their leading scorer. Still, they’d be looking at a first-round exit in the playoffs.
The East, meanwhile, has been historically softer when it comes to making it to the playoffs, so a 48-win season is a lock to land at least the 5th seed in the Conference, as you could tell from the last 5 or 6 seasons.
Team USA would still be behind the Sixers, Raptors, Bucks, and Nets, but they’d be significantly better than the Pacers. As a matter of fact, they could even upset the Nets without Durant and make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs.