As NBA stars drop, Team USA no longer 2019 FIBA World Cup favorites

This NBA off season of player empowerment didn’t just have an shocking amount of NBA superstars changing jerseys, but is seemingly having an impact on Team USA. Not only are many of the players swapping teams for the next season, but many of these same players are dropping out of the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

We won’t see players like Anthony Davis, James Harden, Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson at the international Olympic qualifying tournament but in just the last couple weeks, several NBA players withdrew their names from the team roster including Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, CJ McCollum, Tobias Harris, and Eric Gordon.

This is already on top of several NBA Superstars that withdrew earlier in the process such as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Paul George, and Kyrie Irving. Former players from the last FIBA tournament Russell Westbrook, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Blake Griffin also withdrew earlier. This is on top of the players that couldn’t play due to injury including Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Kyle Lowry hasn’t withdrawn, but underwent surgery recently, he may not ultimately be on the roster when the tournament begins August 31st.

Some of the bigger names that are still on the roster are still impressive, but don’t have the same name recognition: Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Love, and Khris Middleton are the biggest stars remaining with Kemba and Middleton the only two on the FIBA World Cup roster to make the All-Star game last season. Here’s the 15 players currently on Team USA’s roster that and are in consideration for the upcoming World Cup of Basketball.

FIBA World Cup Team USA
Player Previous Exp.
Andre Drummond 2014 World Cup
Brook Lopez None
Donovan Mitchell None
Harrison Barnes 2016 Olympics
Jaylen Brown None
Jayson Tatum None
Julius Randle None
Kemba Walker None
Kevin Love 2016 Olympics
Khris Middleton None
Kyle Lowry 2016 Olympics
Kyle Kuzma None
Marcus Smart Nona
Myles Turner None
Paul Millsap None
P.J. Tucker None
Thaddeus Young None

No USA Cake Walk Into 2020 Olympics

It’s not rare for the big name NBA players to drop out of international competitions, but for whatever reason, 2019 has been a year where an unusual amount of players withdrawing.

As expected with replacements and second choices, those players aren’t nearly at the same level or caliber. No offense to Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, but they don’t bring as much to the table as any of the initial selected players.

What that means is that Team USA will definitely be challenged in the 2019 World Cup and the defending champions of the last two World Cups most-likely will not come into the tournament as the favorites as we previously predicted.

This is just an issue for the FIBA World Cup, but because the top teams in the tournament will automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo – that may be in jeopardy if this team doesn’t gel.

This team is still very talented and still will be considered one of the favorites in the World Cup despite missing LeBron, Harden, Curry, Anthony Davis, Kyrie, Durant, Paul George and Zion Williamson, but Team USA will certainly suffer in many aspects and face challenges.

Largely, the two glaring challenges that will impact Team USA the most is outside shooting especially with the recent withdrawals from Harden, Beal, McCollum, Harris and Gordon. That leaves Middleton and Kuzma as Team USA’s best shooters. The other factor will be the lack of experience of having previously competed on the Senior National Team in international tournaments.

Of which 11 of the 15 players on the list haven’t played on the Senior National Team. If Lowry misses the tournament, this team will have only Harrison Barnes as a player that was on the last team that has NBA players competing — the 2016 Olympics.

1 Comment

  • Levelle Otis

    This reminds me of 2010 when USA brought a roster mostly of unknown players. KD, D-Rose and others were so young but they still won. The fact is we have so much depth because of the deepest talent in the world. Then probably one of the best coaches in the world

Leave a Reply