The U.S. Men’s Basketball team has been on quite a rollercoaster ride over the past few weeks.
They initially lost to Nigeria and Australia, leading to tons of panic — before rebounding to beat Argentina and Spain over the past two outings.
Despite the last couple of victories, illusions of Team USA’s infallibility have been shattered for good. The American side looks very mortal and very beatable. It got so bad, in fact, that even other NBA players began openly clowning how things had gone so far.
This past week Kevin Durant got brutally honest about the precise root cause of Team USA’s struggles.
“We’re a team that’s still coming together and trying to find our identity,” he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
“We have so many great players that you can play so many different ways, and we are indecisive at times on defense and offense. In the midst of us figuring it out, these teams are established and they’re running their sets. We’re working on our sets. The stars were kind of aligned for us to lose early on.”
Durant then pointed to the level of NBA talent on international rosters these days.
“If you’re looking for NBA talent, those teams have it,” he continued.
“Understand where we’re at as a team and then you can make assumptions for yourself. We do have all the best players in the league, but these national teams have NBA players, too, who are now No. 1 options and they’re used to playing that role internationally. We’re still adjusting as a team, and that’s not making excuses. There’s a lot of context people need to understand. We didn’t expect to lose a game, but losing games happen. We’ll get it right.”
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 17, 2021
From the jump, this incarnation of Team USA has been mired in controversy. As such, maybe the early struggles shouldn’t come as a big surprise.
If this squad goes on to win the gold at the Olympics, obviously all this chatter will become moot. If they don’t, however – then Durant and Co. may go down in history as the most disappointing American basketball team of all time.