Team USA experienced a shocking setback at the FIBA World Cup this summer, failing to medal despite high expectations. The disappointment led to intense discussions about why the usually dominant American international team fell short. Among those voicing their opinions, former Los Angeles Lakers NBA champion Kyle Kuzma offered a perspective that stood out.
Kuzma took to Twitter to share his insights, sparking a unique angle on the issue. While concerns about the American FIBA roster’s relative lack of star power and youth were not new, Kuzma’s take brought fresh insights to the forefront. Traditionally, Team USA prioritizes assembling All-NBA talent for international events, such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where stars like Kevin Durant and Bam Adebayo secured the expected gold medal.
However, this year’s World Cup witnessed several stars declining invitations, citing rest or disinterest in international competition. This left Team USA with a roster that many compared to a high school JV team when considering the nation’s available talent pool. For Anthony Edwards, Jaren Jackson Jr., Austin Reaves, and others, the outcome was nothing short of a failure for a country accustomed to dominating on the court.
The loss at the World Cup may serve as a wake-up call, potentially inspiring a resurgence of NBA’s best players rallying for international redemption, reminiscent of the 2008 Redeem Team and the legendary 1992 Dream Team. Nevertheless, the impact of this loss is expected to linger with the current roster for a considerable time.