Media and fans in the US are largely overlooking the FIBA world cup of basketball in China, where games are played in the middle of the night US time.
That shouldn’t diminish the efforts of Team USA, which won all five games in the two opening rounds.
This team isn’t bad. Never mind the absence of Lebron James, Steph Curry, Anthony Davis and others from previous US teams at FIBA competitions. This current team, if it could play together all year, would probably beat most NBA teams, and it might even win a title.
For one thing, they have the NBA’s most successful coaches — Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr — who know how to win with lower draft picks and versatile role players.
San Antonio’s dynasty didn’t always have the alpha dogs coming into the draft, but they fit lower draft picks into a system built to win, no matter who was playing in it. Popovich and his staff helped form Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Kawhi Leonard into top players who were also unselfish.
Even before acquiring scoring machine Kevin Durant, coach Kerr won titles with agile Golden State teams lacking dominant presence in the paint, a supposed weakness of Team USA. Kerr created a system to fit the gifts of the guys he had.
Pop and Kerr are doing the same with Team USA. With this current group of non-stars or upcoming stars, the ball moves, the defense hustles and the team wins.
That’s why USA remain unbeaten and the favorite to win it all at FIBA 2019 China.