While he’s confident two-time defending champions USA will boast a terrific squad at the first-ever 32-team World Cup, he also knows other countries will have good reasons to aim high. “In general, the level of competitiveness has grown a lot in recent years. You have so many teams building great rosters, like Australia, Canada and Serbia, for example, that can have very good runs,” he said. “The battle for the medal spots is going to be very interesting. Many teams can reach those last three spots.”
“We were able to bounce back and win the bronze, but this tournament wasn’t the best we had because we didn’t reach our goal,” Wade said. “But I think that we all learned from it and that it helped us in the following competitions because we won the gold. “We came back two years later at the Olympics (in Beijing) with the mindset of ‘We’re going to win and not have the same performance that we had in Japan.’ “You learn from every experience. You learn when you win, you learn when you lose. The most important thing is to move on and work hard to win the next one. It was tough to lose in Japan, but we bounced back.”
Josh Newman: R.J. Barrett will not play at 2019 Worlds because of NBA responsibilities, but will be in for the 2020 Olympics, assuming whichever team drafts him gives him permission.
Magic swingman Evan Fournier is among the NBA players who have been named to the French national team for the 2019 World Cup, according to FIBA. Fournier will be joined by Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Hornets forward Nicolas Batum, Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina and Bulls guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.