The loss marked the United States first loss in the FIBA World Cup since 2006 when it lost to Greece in the semifinals, and ended its hopes of winning a third consecutive FIBA gold medal — and sixth consecutive international gold medal. With the loss, the U.S. will fail to get a medal for only the second time in the last 10 editions of the tournament, though they were at least able to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
The Pistons agreed to terms with Joe Johnson on a partially guaranteed one-year contract after his successful Big3 season. Johnson was named MVP in the third year of the league, and his signing with the Pistons provides hope for other players to get another NBA chance. The FIBA World Cup also was an opening for players to return to the NBA who had been considered too old or ineffective. If Argentina beats Spain in Sundays final, former NBA forward Luis Scola is likely to be named tournament MVP. Scola is 39 and has not played in the NBA since a 36-game stint with the Nets in 2016-17. But if a player like Scola is able to dominate an international competition filled with NBA players, including 12 NBA players on Team USA, he should perhaps get another NBA opportunity. International basketball is different than the NBA, but Scola had 28 points and 13 rebounds in the semifinals against a French team with the best defensive player in the NBA in Rudy Gobert. Gobert, who dominated in the quarterfinal win over the US, scored just 3 points on 1-for-4 shooting against Argentina. Players such as Vince Carter have proven there is life after 40 for NBA players, and perhaps Scola, who has shown no signs of retiring, could get another opportunity for a contender. Scola played 10 NBA seasons, five with the Rockets, and was a productive player. Maybe fewer games, better conditioning, and the desire to return to the NBA have him turning back the clock . . . Meanwhile, Scolas Argentina teammate Facundo Campazzo continues to flourish in the World Cup, fueling speculation that he will soon emerge on NBA radars. Campazzo gave Kyrie Irving fits when they matched up in the 2016 Olympics, and the point guard contributed 16 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds in the semifinal win over France. Campazzo is contractually obligated to Real Madrid for the next two seasons, but he told the Globe in 2016 that he aspires to play in the NBA.
Things went from bad to worse on Thursday, when Team USA failed to even earn a spot in the fifth-place game. The Americans loss to Serbia knocked them out of the top six in a major international competition for the first time since they started using NBA players in 1992. They managed to defeat Poland for seventh place on Saturday, but the damage was already done. Team USA just had its worst international showing ever.
Sam Quinn joined CBS sports as a basketball writer in 2019. Prior to that, he wrote for 247Sports and Bleacher Report. He is a New York native and NYU graduate who also has roots in Florida and California. Full Bio
Having a representative on the all-tournament team after finishing seventh in the FIBA World Cup is probably nothing to write home about. But Team USA being left off the honors team, or the All-Star Five, entirely is just salt being rubbed in the wound.
No Americans on the all-World Cup team: Bogdanovic (Serbia), Fournier (France), Rubio (Spain), Gasol (Spain), and Scola (Argentina). Rubio named tournament MVP
Indeed, the international players stole the show at the World Cup. In the wake of Spain claiming gold on Sunday, Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol made the All-World Cup Team along with Frances Evan Fournier, Serbias Bogdan Bogdanovic and Argentinas Luis Scola.
Coach Gregg Popovich’s team had quite the scare against a Turkey team that took them to overtime. After rattling off three straight wins and playing stifling defense during the group stage, Team USA was totally outplayed by France in the quarterfinals.
This is not much of a surprise, considering Team USA did not advance deep into the tournament and their leading scorer was Kemba Walker (14.4 points per game) who ranked just 28th among all players.
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The next-closest scorer was Donovan Mitchell, who was 44th at 13.3 points per game. Harrison Barnes at 60th (11.6 points per game) rounded out the only three Americans who averaged double digits in the tournament.
Despite head coach Gregg Popovichs best efforts, theres no way to sugarcoat just how poorly Team USA performed. Sure, many stars opted against participating and the roster was banged up toward the end, but that all-tournament team would look much different had the Americans played even close to their potential.
Nothing against the selections; all of them are or were previously serviceable NBA players. They excelled in the international tournament and their respective teams gelled much better than Team USA.
But this is just another indication of just how far south the FIBA World Cup went for the red, white and blue.