Yesterday, team USA lost their second consecutive exhibition matchup for basketball. The United States are reigning champions with three back-to-back gold medals in their pockets, but seem to be struggling in this preview of play. Team USA lost to Australia in this game 91-83, marking their fourth loss for five games played since the 2019 World Cup. This is also their second loss to Australia.
What is troubling about this is that Australia is currently the United States’ number one contender for the gold medal in Tokyo. They are showing that they might not have what it takes this year to bring home the gold.
However, they should not be performing this way with the caliber of talent that is present on the court. With players like Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant, this team should be sweeping all of their competition. Instead, the players seem out of tune with one another and are unable to defend leads or keep their stamina in the latter stages of play.
Problem Areas for Team USA
There are players on this U.S. team who have never competed in the Olympics, such as Lillard. Because of this, the team is having a hard time finding their chemistry.
“These teams are experienced and they’ve spent a lot of time together,” Lillard said. “We are still working at becoming a team.”
With this in mind, it’s important to note that the Olympics start on July 23. Technically the team still has time to work together and fix kinks in their system. However, it is slightly concerning that at this point, the team has not found a rhythm.
Another problem is that this team is having a difficult time maintaining stamina against these opponents. This aspect is a little difficult to comprehend when you consider that these players are NBA All-Stars. It makes one question the training difference between this U.S. team and their competitors.
At the half. pic.twitter.com/UR9SJw8Rwi
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 13, 2021
Keep This in Mind
Not everyone who will be competing with Team USA was present for these exhibition matches. Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks and Devin Booker of the Suns are preoccupied at the moment with the NBA Finals. This will of course be concluded in time for the Olympic games.
Although Team USA had incredible players representing them in this exhibition matchup, they are missing three of their key stars. These three are going to be crucial for the team heading into actual competition after witnessing the flaws in Team USA. However, it is concerning that they will not have a chance to work on this team’s chemistry further because three of their players will be away.
However, it could all “click” when these three show up to play. They will be seasoned against high-caliber players from the NBA Finals and they will know each other’s strengths and weaknesses from their best of seven matchups. We are not looking at the basketball team for the United States yet; we are only glimpsing pieces of the puzzle.
This is a Highly Talented Team
Basketball fans, take a deep breath. Remember that Team USA is stacked with All-Star players and some of the best in the world at this game. This might be the first time in a long time that Team USA has faced any adversity or real contention for the medal, but they are still a very capable team.
This might actually make the Olympics more fun! Sports is all about competition and now Team USA finally has some. Imagine how much sweeter it will be if, or when, the team brings home the gold this year. With COVID and the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games coupled with these barriers Team USA seems to be facing, this medal would mean more than any of the others. It will be a comeback story for the history books.