It was a rollercoaster of a summer for United States Basketball and the result was an unflattering seventh place finish at the FIBA Basketball World Cup - their worst placement at an International tournament ever.
The team battled their hearts out but in the end, lacked the chemistry and experience playing together to overcome more seasoned International squads.
Though the outcome wasn't what the United States had hoped for, this team still did its job in qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Take a look below for a World Cup recap and a forward look at what's next fo USA Basketball.
FIBA Basketball World Cup summary
The United States finished the World Cup with a record of 6-2. They went 3-0 in the first group stage, 2-0 in the second group stage then lost back-to-back contests once bracket play began.
• Win vs. Czech Republic: 88-67
• Win vs. Turkey: 93-92 (OT)
• Win vs. Japan: 98-45
Team USA nearly lost to Turkey, needing overtime to keep their International win streak of 55 consecutive wins (with NBA players on its roster) going. Their 3-0 record won them Group E and placed them atop Group K in the Second Round.
• Win vs. Greece: 69-53
• Win vs. Brazil: 89-73
The highly anticipated matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo's Greece squad resulted in a lopsided victory for the United States with the regining NBA MVP only scoring 15 points.
• Loss vs. France: 89-79
USA's frontcourt had no answer for back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, who dominated for France with 21 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.
• Loss vs. Serbia: 94-89
In a contest that was expected to be the gold medal match, Serbia topped the United States behind 28 points from Sacramento Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic.
• Win vs. Poland: 87-74
Team USA closed out the World Cup with a strong win over Poland. Donovan Mitchell led the way with a double-double of 16 points and 10 assists.
USA's top performers
Points: G - Kemba Walker, 14.4 points per game
Rebounds: F - Jayson Tatum, 7.5 rebounds per game
Assists: G - Kemba Walker, 5.4 assists per game
Other top performer: G - Donovan Mitchell, 13.1 ppg, 5.0 apg, 4.3 rpg
2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo
The United States were one of seven countries that qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
They joined Spain, Argentina, Australia, France, Nigeria and Iran, as well as Japan who automatically qualifies as the host.
Because Team USA has already qualified, they will not need to participate in one of the four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments next summer. For more information on the qualification process, the official FIBA website has you covered.
The dates and site of the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments are still to be determined.
What will the team look like?
Team USA only sent two NBA All-Stars to the FIBA Basketball World Cup - the lowest number of All-Stars they've sent to a major International tournament.
The roster was a rotating carousel of players - there were over 50 names in the mix to try and make the roster with a number of players electing to sit this summer out to prepare for the upcoming NBA season, get some additional rest or nurse and rehabilitate injuries.
Of the 35 players originally selected for USA Basketball's player pool, only four - Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Harrison Barnes - actually ended up in China donning the red, white and blue.
The original invitation list included NBA superstars such as Anthony Davis, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan, but once Davis decided he was going to decline his invite, the other stars followed suit.
The United States have never had any issue getting stars to suit up for the Olympics. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the roster was loaded with names like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Paul George, to name a few. It will be interesting to see if players like the aforementioned receive the opportunity to compete for a gold medal at the Olympics next summer.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo will have a couple big decisions ahead of the Olympics, but he has already expressed his displeasure with the players who didn't turn out this summer. "I can only say, you can't help but notice and remember who you thought you were going to war with and who didn't show up," he told ESPN in an interview following the United States' loss to France.
It will be a challenging task to both reward the players who fought hard in China this summer, but also put Team USA in the best position to be successful in returning to their spot atop of the basketball world.
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