Unlike previous Team USA iterations, the current squad lacks established megastars. The absence of players from the 2021 Olympic gold medal-winning team means that no one on the current roster has senior national team experience. With only three NBA All-Stars from last season, Team USA is not the clear-cut favorite. However, their focus is on finding ways to win games collectively, embracing the strengths of each player.
Coach Kerr and USA Basketball executive director Grant Hill have designed a team that emphasizes agility, flexibility, and speed. The roster prioritizes length, toughness, and ball movement. Kerr commits to lineups that maximize speed and uses players like Mikal Bridges and Anthony Edwards for their wingspan advantages. The team aims to keep the ball and bodies in constant motion, creating opportunities by outmaneuvering opponents.
Team USA recognizes the challenges they face in the FIBA World Cup. They are not the top-ranked team according to FIBA’s ranking system, trailing behind Spain. However, one advantage they have is the lack of travel during the tournament, unlike other contenders. This stability allows them to focus on their opponents, such as New Zealand, Jordan, and Greece, who do not have current NBA players on their rosters. The team’s margin for error may be thin, but they remain confident in their abilities.
FIBA play has a rich history of upsets, with various factors coming into play. The shorter game duration, different ball characteristics, and uplifting effect of playing for one’s country often level the playing field. These factors make every game competitive and increase the chances of surprises throughout the tournament.
Despite the lack of established superstars, Team USA is united and determined to succeed. The players embrace their roles and understand the importance of teamwork. Kerr is impressed with their commitment, work ethic, and the energy they bring to every practice. The team’s hunger to perform at their best fuels their confidence in their abilities.
Team USA’s journey in the FIBA World Cup is filled with challenges and opportunities. While they may not have the star power of previous teams, they compensate with a nimble and fast playing style that emphasizes collective effort. The team recognizes the potential for upsets in FIBA play and remains determined to overcome any obstacles they encounter. With their focus on teamwork and their hunger for success, Team USA is poised to make a strong impression on the international stage.
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