The U.S. men’s national basketball team’s 2020 Olympic team was expected to be deprived of much star power in comparison to the last few years.
Coming off a quarantined NBA season to end the 2019-’20 season followed by a condensed 2020-’21 campaign, the stars were expected to pass.
What wasn’t expected is the team struggling regardless of who made the team.
Although they’re only exhibitions, the team lost consecutive games to Nigeria and Australia. Making people question everything about the team from its makeup to the coaching and everything else in between.
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On the latest episode of Talkin’ Blazers, former Blazer Channing Frye and former college head coach Fran Fraschilla gave their takes on the team.
“I think the construction of this team has been poop,” Frye said.
Frye would go on to explain by saying it’s because the team doesn’t have a true point guard or players who are really fit for the international game. The team has guys who are great scorers and are known for their isolation games.
The team was missing a shot blocker and someone listed as 7-feet tall. Both were resolved after JaVale Mcgee was added to the team after Kevin Love and Bradley Beal were replaced.
Another issue Frye had was although the team has great scorers, their shooting seems to be non-existent.
“You can’t play the international game with non-shooters,” Frye said. “With this team, it’s going to get real nasty. International teams won’t let you play one-on-one. To ask a lot of the makeup of this team to pass and cut is tough. Nobody does that anymore. They have no real point guard.”
The point guard duties of the team will be bestowed upon Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday. Lillard is one of the better shooters in the league along with being a scoring threat. As for Holiday, he’s a guy whose value internationally will be more so on the defensive side of the ball.
After the team's first two losses it led to many questions and some worries.
“Has the world caught up? Yes,” Fraschilla said. “Have they caught up to the point where they have as many of the best players in the world collectively as America? No, I don’t think so. We’re in a different time… even if they don’t win the gold, I won’t say, ‘the world’s caught up completely.’”
Team USA is expected to dominate each opponent because the entire team is composed of NBA players. The reality is most teams have other NBA players as well and chemistry and fit aren’t as important internationally as it is the pro game.
More mouths will question the team if they lose when the games count and not during tune-up exhibitions.