Team USA Eliminated From World Cup Medal Contention

Team USA has been eliminated from medal contention in the 2019 World Cup, having been upset by France in today’s quarterfinal matchup. The 89-79 defeat snapped USA Basketball’s 58-game winning streak in international games featuring rosters made up of NBA players. That streak dated back to the 2006 World Championship.

Donovan Mitchell had a big game for the American squad with a team-high 29 points, but a French team led by Rudy Gobert (21 points, 16 rebounds) and Evan Fournier (22 points) pulled out the comeback win to advance to a semifinal showdown vs. Argentina. Team USA will have its much-anticipated matchup with Nikola Jokic and the Serbians after all, but it will happen in the 5-8 classification round instead of in the semifinals.

Frank Ntilikina also played a key role for Team France today, scoring 11 points and essentially taking Kemba Walker out of the game on the other end before also helping to slow Mitchell in the fourth quarter. We noted last week that an impressive World Cup showing could have an impact on Ntilikina’s NBA future, since the Knicks have a big decision due next month on his 2020/21 team option. He has made a strong impression so far.

Since Team USA had already qualified for the 2020 Olympics, today’s result won’t affect the club’s standing for that tournament. Still, it will be interesting to see whether a disappointing World Cup run impacts the sort of turnout the program gets next summer. It’s possible that stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden, and others will now be more willing to play in Tokyo to reclaim Team USA’s spot atop the international basketball world.

With Argentina set to play France in one semifinal, the other matchup will be set after the conclusion of this morning’s Australia/Czech Republic quarterfinal. The winner of that game will face Spain. The last two European teams standing will clinch spots in the 2020 Olympics, so an Australian victory today would ensure that France and Spain secure Olympic berths.

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16 thoughts on “Team USA Eliminated From World Cup Medal Contention

  1. hoosierhysteria

    I guess Pop needs players….just like every other coach. No magic…no spurs pixie dust could let these second stringers win the gold.

    • acarneglia

      I wouldn’t call them second stringers. Team USA had arguably 2(Kemba, Mitchell) of the top 5(Giannis, Jokic, and Gobert) players at the tournament. Also had an all nba player roster.

      • ColossusOfClout

        You’re right, they’re not second stringers. They’re more like eighth stringers. USA could field 4 teams that would claim all 4 semi final spots. Walker (1 for 3 at the line with the game in the balance) wouldn’t get anywhere near making the top team. He was garbage, and the rest of them bums followed suit. Embarrassing.

  2. bowserhound

    Where are all of you that thought this team could whip anyone in the world?

    • Jason Lancaster

      I definitely thought they’d win it all, and I still think they would if FIBA didn’t have a single elimination format. Single elimination format is dumb, to be frank, as even the best teams in the history of the game have lost to inferior competition. The dream team lost to a bunch of college kids, remember?

      The best team always wins a best of 7 series. If FIBA was able to play a longer format (and they’re not, mostly because of the NBA), Team USA would be the favorite.

      • Dodgethis

        Also, America doesn’t take FIBA seriously. We all know Olympic medals are the only ones that matter. The rest of the world values FIBA because they have no chance in the Olympics.

    • I give no fox

      I don’t know what makes the American athletes spoiled and the rest of the world’s athletes not, please feel free to elaborate on this claim. Also, there is no humble pie. It’s the C or maybe even D squad. None of these guys will probably be on the olympics roster. If it was the Olympic squad that lost, like in 2004, then i would agree that this loss would be considered humbling. Unfortunately for the international community, not many American players care about international competition outside the olympics.

  3. We’ve had a good run since 2008 with the USA Basketball model (3 Olympic golds and 2 FIBA’s, all without losing). The period prior to that demonstrated that our traditional “All Star teams” – even with our best players – couldn’t beat real foreign teams that play together every off season, at least not consistently enough to win international competitions.

    The problem this year wasn’t really the talent level, but the fact that it was more like an All-Star team, in that few of the eventual 12 were even on the 20 man after last year. But that’s NOT been typical for FIBA’s world tournament since the national team was established. Nor should it be, these players make a multi-year commitment as part of being selected to be in the program. It’s really up to people running the program now to get back to enforcing that. Continuity > talent, when the talent is this high.

  4. Jason Lancaster

    Where are all the people who said Ntilikina isn’t a good player? The guy has been solid in this tournament, playing excellent defense and doing the rest of his job well.

    The Knicks have a solid young defensive player in Ntilikina – they’re probably going to trade him away because they’re the Knicks – but all the haters should apologize.

  5. Grimjac

    I don’t think anyone but these players should be considered for the olympic team. The all stars will hop in at the end of the parade and play like a barely organized pick up team. America is being challenged by real teams that prioritize unity.

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