Team USA just recorded their worst-ever finish in a major international tournament. The 2019 edition of the FIBA World Cup finished last Sunday, with the Americans finishing seventh after falling to France in the last-8 round of the tournament.
It’s well known all the withdrawals they suffered before the tournament, but even though they didn’t take their biggest stars to China, Team USA was considered as favorites to win the tournament, something they couldn’t pull off. It was a talented group of players, but they couldn’t live up to expectations.
Many fans have wondered why they had such a bad performance in China. USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo had sharp words for the stars who stepped down, but he didn’t stop there trying to explain this whole situation. In fact, Colangelo believes injuries played a major role in the team’s collapse in the World Cup.
Colangelo explained, via Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
“I believe that if we didn’t have those injuries, we would have won,” said Colangelo. “The injuries were just too much to absorb.”
Kyle Kuzma got down with an ankle injury that kept him off the roster. Jayson Tatum missed the final six games with his own ankle injury. Marcus Smart was banged up and missed time throughout the event, so maybe Colangelo has a point here.
However, even if they had these three players, it didn’t look like Team USA had everything to win the gold. They were defeated by Australia in a warm-up game before the tournament, and Turkey almost stole the W from them in the first round of the tournament. Things went worse when France left them out of the competition before Serbia outplayed them in the 5th-spot game.
It all comes down to the type of roster they took to China and the figures that remained in America. If all the players that decided not to play this summer join the team for the 2020 Olympics, we’ll confirm that not even injuries can’t take them down.