Team USA suffered yet another shock defeat as they prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After coming up short to Nigeria, USA ended up falling to Australia as well. Gregg Popovich's side has come under fire for these losses, given that the United States boasts the greatest talent roster in basketball across the world. But some believe that the deck is stacked against Team USA.
One of these people is former NBA Champion, James White. White, who won a title under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, took to Twitter after Team USA's loss to Australia to share his thoughts about the game. He believes that FIBA has constructed the rule book in an attempt to reduce the disparity between the US and the rest of the world.
"The Fiba rules are designed for less athletic teams to be able to catch up to the NBA talent. It’s never going be as easy as people think it’s going be. And you can’t play the same type of basketball you do in the NBA."
However, White didn't let Team USA entirely off the hook, noting that they need to perform better. But his larger point gathered around Team USA not having enough time to develop chemistry together. Whereas a national team like Australia has gotten the chance to play together more, and have a better understanding amongst their players.
Some fans subscribe to this school of thought. But, many fans and analysts have also argued for the longest time that the NBA doesn't encourage defense in the league. The rules and officiating in the NBA favor attacking play because fluid attacking play will garner more attention and fan interaction. Defense isn't easy on the eyes, and therefore, is less of a priority for a league that is rapidly expanding its fanbase across the rest of the world.
Perhaps Team USA can use these losses to understand where they're going wrong and fix their issues ahead of the 2020 Olympics. From what we've seen from them so far, it won't be an easy road for them.