The United States men’s national team suffered an early exit in the 2019 FIBA World Cup after89-79 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
With the loss, the United States has been eliminated and needless to say, it was not the result that most wanted to see. Utah Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell led the way with 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting while grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists in the loss. However, Mitchell, Marcus Smart (11 points) and Kemba Walker (10 points) were the only Americans that finished in double figures.
In addition, the United States shot just 44.6 percent from the field and were out-rebounded, 44-28. France was led by a 22-point effort from Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier as he knocked down five 3s. The Americans also had no answer for Mitchell’s Jazz teammate, Rudy Gobert, who put together a dominant performance of 21 points and 16 rebounds.
One of Fournier’s teammates, Nikola Vucevic, had time to weigh in on France’s strong performance. Vucevic joked that Fournier isn’t going to let his teammates forget about his showing in Wednesday’s elimination game.
One of the glaring storylines throughout the summer has been that the bulk of NBA stars didn’t elect to participate in the FIBA World Cup. The biggest name on the roster was Walker with players like LeBron James, James Harden, Stephen Curry and more deciding to focus on the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season.
It’s certainly a valid claim not to heap all of the blame on the roster that was assembled. Most of the league’s high-profile talent elected to turn down the offer and not commit their summer to play for their country. The talent that did participate gave an honest effort and some of the younger talent did show how bright their futures are.
Walker was one of the biggest names that was on the United States roster, but he did struggle in Wednesday’s quarterfinal loss. The Boston Celtics star guard connected on just two of his nine shots while failing to register a single assist in 25 minutes on the floor.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is a future Hall of Famer and one of the brightest basketball minds that the sport has to offer. But Popovich can only deal with the talent that he has on his roster.
Despite his accolades, that didn’t stop fans from asking for Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski to return and coach the team.
The United States would’ve faced Argentina in the semifinals if they would’ve been victorious on Wednesday. It’s certainly not the result that many Americans hoped for, but it seems that the general reaction is that the talent may not have been as fruitful on the United States side of things.