There’s no such thing as a stunning loss for Team USA anymore. Basketball is more of a global game than it has ever been...look no further than Luka, Giannis and Jokić.
Dončić just dazzled with 48 points hours after the US’s latest loss to France, The Greek Freak is obviously now a champion and the Finals MVP and The Joker is the reigning regular season Most Valuable Player.
Throw in Joel Embiid and nearly half of the top-ten players in the NBA are not American born, with most of the best bigs being of international descent.
That’s not to say this USA squad doesn’t remain the most talented team top to bottom. It is. And it’s on Gregg Popovich, whose record at the helm is under question, and Kevin Durant, the clear top guy on the roster, to figure things out to avoid an embarrassing exit.
But anyone who still thought we could just slap a group together, roll the ball out and win clearly hasn’t been paying attention.
Sure the L to Evan Fournier and France was the first in Olympic competition since 2004, but the U.S. is fresh off finishing seventh in the last FIBA Basketball World Cup and what happened in ‘04 led to USA Basketball having to overhaul its entire approach. And even the superstar-laden Redeem Team needed one of Kobe Bryant’s most iconic performances to win the gold medal over Spain. These international teams have NBA players and continuity, the days of domination are over.
So there’s a reason when discussing the game’s top baller, people now ask, who is the best player in the world?