For the first time in 53 years, Team USA have failed to win a medal in consecutive FIBA tournaments and head coach Steve Kerr reveals why his team failed to live up to expectations.
USA endured a rather shocking 127-118 overtime loss to Canada in the bronze medal game on Sunday and before that, lost to Germany and Lithuania.
In the past, USA have filled their roster with NBA superstars but this year’s team was made up of a relatively young roster of players with no international basketball experience.
“It’s hard for us to build continuity with Team USA,” Kerr said. “Just because we naturally have so much turnover year to year. What we have tried to do is learn what wins a FIBA game. We really studied everything about FIBA, the history of United States basketball — when we won, what was the reason, and when we lost, what was the reason. We study all that stuff.”
Kerr believes the main reason his side lost was due to their lack of efficiency in defense.
“When it comes down to us and this tournament, we put ourselves in a great position, we got to the semifinals,” Kerr said. “We were right there, but we could not get enough stops. We did not defend well against Germany or Canada. That’s the bottom line. Every year, we are trying to build the best two-way team we can.”
Anthony Edwards said after the Canada loss, “We can’t get no stops, so I don’t know what we could have done. Our defense is pretty bad.”
Due to the development of basketball globally, the gap between the US and the rest of the world is clearly narrowing, and Kerr knows it.
“I did not need any reminder,” Kerr said of the increasingly difficult FIBA competition. “I was on a coaching staff in 2019 [FIBA World Cup], when we finished seventh. The United States has not won a World Cup since 2014. It’s hard. These teams in FIBA are really good, well-coached, and they have continuity.
“They played together for a long time, so it’s difficult. It’s been difficult already. What I am impressed about is the way our guys fought, especially tonight under these circumstances, missing three key teammates, and just battling to the overtime was impressive.
“But the narrative about USA Basketball and FIBA — do we need reminders? We passed that. These teams are really good.”
It will be interesting to see the kind of roster team USA puts together for the 2024 Paris Olympics, since LeBron has even reportedly indicated interest in a return.
At almost 39 years of age, he still might have to come in and show them how it’s done.