But where does that leave Team USA this summer? Who is left to build around? Well, there’s Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton and Donovan Mitchell. Those five are probably the most talented players left on the USA’s roster. On paper, that group represents a dynamic and talented core that can compete with virtually anyone. But that doesn’t guarantee success. First of all, there is a significant drop off in talent from previous years. During the most recent Olympics, Team USA had nine reigning All-Stars, but this current collection only has two – the lowest total since 1998, a lockout year for the NBA in which the professionals mostly opted out. And the competition in the 2019 FIBA World Cup isn’t just anyone.
Marc Stein: Point of clarification: There was a report in Australia this week that Gregg Popovich had formally named Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart as Team USA captains. But I am told it is NOT an official thing — Pop merely meant he is leaning on those guys for leadership
Storyline: World Cup
“We have a bunch of guys who don’t mind being the underdogs,” Walker told reporters. “We are hungry, and we are going to go out there to try and win a gold medal…I take pride in being a leader and guys looking to me and I’m here to set the tempo and bring my experience and energy.” Walker is arguably the best player on the team, so it’s no surprise that he’s a captain. Mitchell being named a captain isn’t a shock either, when you consider how he came in as a rookie and showed tremendous ability as a leader with the Jazz and has continued to build off that success.
Storyline: World Cup
Germany will play against Tunisia and Japan in Saitama near Tokyo on August 23rd and 24th respectively. On August 26, the squad will head to Shenzhen, China where the World Cup group phase will be played. The 13 players currently in Japan for the German NT are: Dennis Schroder, Maodo Lo, Ismet Akpinar, Isaac Bonga, Andreas Obst, Robin Benzing, Paul Zipser, Niels Giffey, Johannes Thiemann, Danilo Barthell, Maximilian Kleber, Daniel Theis, Johannes Voigtmann.