Logan's Logic

By: 
Logan Karels

    Mass dropouts by numerous big name NBA stars has left Team USA’s 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup roster more exposed than it has been in the past two decades. The world’s superpower of basketball appears more vulnerable and beatable than ever before.
    New Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker is the only player remaining out of the 11 Americans named to All-NBA teams who hasn’t withdrawn from the roster. Currently, Walker is the most celebrated Team USA member remaining. He is joined by one other All-Star in Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks.
    Players withdrawing has always been commonplace leading up to international competitions. Reasons may include injuries, contract issues or just needing a break after a long, grueling season.
    Why is this happening? Well, all-star guard CJ McCullom of the Portland Trailblazers recently went on ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast and provided a bit of insight into the reasonings players had for withdrawing.
    McCullom provided a variety of possible explanations including the infamous “load management” term. He offered a rather blunt take about how players around the league feel about the squad. “I think other guys looked at it like, ‘Why would I want to potentially be the face of what could be a losing roster?” he said.
    McCullom also alluded to workload and usage as more reasons why players have been withdrawing from Team USA. Players don’t want to overwork themselves during the summer at the World Cup and then have to come home and immediately prepare for the upcoming NBA season. The chance of injury risks increases the more stress players put on their bodies.
    Team USA is typically the favorite in any international tournament it enters as our country is home to the world’s best basketball players. But this year is different and Team USA is not the only squad with a sense of uncertainty. Other top contenders such as Canada, Spain, the Dominican Republic and Australia will also be without some of their best NBA players.
    Foreign teams have quite a different dynamic compared to Team USA. While the American squad relies on raw talent to win games, foreign teams rely on on-court chemistry. Their top players typically commit to their respective national teams for the majority of their careers. This gives the teams the advantage of many years of building on-court chemistry with their teammates.
    The Americans will look to their veteran head coach, Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, to lead them. The five-time NBA champion took over for long-time Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Popovich is joined by the Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, and Villanova men’s basketball coach Jay Wright as assistants.
    Gone are the days of the “Redeem Team” which featured superstars like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant. USA basketball is entering the next phase of international basketball and passing the torch to the next generation of American basketball players.

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