Photo from Team USA Basketball
Team USA Looks GOOD So Far
We all had our doubts. We all had our worries. But Team USA has continued to do what Team USA usually does: win.
The 2019 World Cup team made headlines throughout the summer after losing big time stars like Damian Lillard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, and many others from their lineup. What remained was a motley crew of rising stars and under-the-radar players, most of whom had never played at the international level before. This concerned USA fans who were afraid that the young team would be too inexperienced to tackle well-developed teams like Spain and Greece.
If you forgot who is even on Team USA right now, you can find it here.
Their concerns were verified when a viral video showed the USA starters losing 31-19 in a pickup game against the USA World Cup qualifying team, comprised of mostly G-League and USA natives who play in other countries. The team just looked flat out bad. It was no wonder so many people were concerned about Team USA’s chances against some of the world’s best players.
Team USA has looked great in their first four World Cup games. They’re off to a 4-0 start and defeated a Giannis-led Greece and a fiercely competitive Turkey.
The team’s leading scorer and obvious best player has been Kemba Walker. Walker, currently averaging 14.3 PPG with a 40% 3P%, has been the key offensive cog in the USA’s system. Walker has also been able to prove his abilities as a leader, leading the team in APG (6.3) and getting in good minutes with future teammates Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart.
Joining him in the top 3 for scoring are Harrison Barnes (11.8 PPG) and Donovan Mitchell (11.3 PPG). Barnes, who was a member of the 2016 Olympics team, has shown his experience and has used it to his advantage. His ability to expose some of the weaknesses of international players has been incredibly beneficial for Team USA. Mitchell on the other hand, has continued to prove that he is one of USA’s most exciting young players. He’s gathered quite a highlight reel already in China and will look to add to it in the next few games. In addition, USA has been incredibly effective on defense and is out-rebounding opponents by almost 10 boards per game. It’s hard to lose when you put up those kinds of numbers.
Although Team USA barely survived against Turkey (93-92 in OT), they still showed flashes of being a gold medal worthy team. They have a lot more to prove before we can call them an easy favorite, but if they keep this up, that may be true very soon.