Home Sports Key Takeaway: Team USA loses in FIBA ​​World Cup semifinals to Germany

Key Takeaway: Team USA loses in FIBA ​​World Cup semifinals to Germany

Key Takeaway: Team USA loses in FIBA ​​World Cup semifinals to Germany

MANILA, Philippines – This is the third World Cup I’ve covered and the third time Team USA has failed to win the gold medal. These previous teams faced learning curves as well as issues with focus, preparation and experience.

This was not the case during this World Cup. The U.S. team, which lost to Germany 113-111 in Friday’s semifinals, generally focused well. The players had exceptional camaraderie. They had solid support. Most of them excelled in their roles, were willing to accept smaller ones than those on their respective NBA teams, or changed on the fly.

This team didn’t have a character flaw, it had a physical one – they just weren’t big enough.

There is much to say and write about the underlying reasons. In short, America stopped producing as many great centers. Many very good American big men prefer to play less physical roles like power forward or on the perimeter.

Besides, that’s how Victor Wembanyama, who represents France, wants to play too. It’s a modern evolution of the game; it is not a sin.

But in these international tournaments, the big names who want to play in the trenches prosper against the Americans. And most of them come from Europe. The United States played four European teams in a row and was dominated by three of them: Montenegro, Lithuania and Germany. They’ve allowed 53 offensive rebounds in those three games and, brace yourself for this stat, 64 second-chance points.

By the way, one of Germany’s top players, Maxi Kleber, isn’t playing following Dennis Schroder’s comments about Kleber’s absence at Eurobasket 2022 (for which Schroder has since apologized), but that’s a another story. If Kleber were American, he would have been a candidate to play for Team USA.

If the United States had played Serbia on Sunday for the gold medal, it would have been in trouble in that match, too. They start 7-foot center Nikola Milutinov, who was a first-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 2015, along with a host of other size players. And the Serbs don’t have the best center in the world, Nikola Jokic.

This issue constitutes the greatest challenge to the supremacy of American basketball since the Dream Team. This is not a new problem, but it is a real problem. And unless the U.S. brings in its high-end, older talent – Stephen Curry hasn’t played for Team USA since 2010, LeBron James since 2012, Kevin Durant skipped the last two World Cups – the burden of meeting this challenge is increasing.


2:30 p.m.

Stephen A.: USA’s lack of depth revealed in FIBA

Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Clark explain Germany’s elimination of Team USA in the FIBA ​​World Cup semifinals.

More takeaways from Team USA’s loss to Germany

• Much is made of the U.S. team’s chemical disadvantage against European teams that play together every summer for years. In general, this is true.

Team USA coach Steve Kerr was asked what could be done to alleviate this problem.

“I don’t know how you would do that,” Kerr said. “If you want to ask the same 10 guys to play every summer, I think that’s very unrealistic. I love being part of American basketball. I think our players really enjoy it too. And part of the “Okay, you pass the baton.”

It should be noted that in the case of Germany, it is practically a year ahead of the Americans. Six of the players played at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics under a different coach and finished eighth. The core of this team played at Eurobasket 2022 last summer and played well, winning the bronze medal.

They came to this tournament and had a carryover effect. They have all committed to participating in the Paris Olympics next year and will be strong contenders for this three-year plan.

It’s not a decade, it’s three years. Canadians are doing the same thing and they are making progress. That’s what Jerry Colangelo demanded when he took over USA Basketball nearly 20 years ago, but the organization pulled out because it’s very difficult to get players to make such a commitment. Food for thought.

• In 2006, Team USA suffered a miserable loss to Greece in the World Cup and was devastated. Two days later, the players got back up and faced Argentina, then the reigning Olympic champions.

In a brilliant performance, Team USA played perhaps their best game of the summer and won the bronze medal. Two years later, this team formed the basis of the Redeem team that won the gold medal in Beijing. Then USA Basketball didn’t lose for over a decade.

Therefore, the bronze medal game against Canada on Sunday (ESPN+, 4:30 a.m. ET) will be meaningless.


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