The last time that Team USA played in the FIBA World Cup, they lost outright in 18 international matches. In the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup, the American team lost to French team in the pool game, ending its team’s 58-game winning streak.
Four years later, the United States hopes to avenge their loss. However, the team that will go to the Philippines for the 2023 World Cup has little experience.
USA Basketball Reveals Brave New Talent for The 2023 FIBA World Cup
A First of Firsts
All members of the 2023 squad will compete in their first major international tournament. It’s unlike anything they’ve experienced before, especially the single-elimination, knockout round.
It’s also the first of 18 US teams of NBA players to not have a single player named to the All-NBA Third Team last season. Five of the players — Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton and Jaren Jackson Jr. — got All-NBA votes this year, but no one has come close to being the third team.
Not Yet the Youngest FIBA
Interestingly enough, this won’t be the youngest Team USA at the World Cup. The average age of 12 players at the start of the FIBA World Cup will be 25.2 years. The average age of the 2004 Olympic team was 24.1 years old, the 2014 World Cup team was 24.4 years old and the 2006 World Championship team was 25 years old. Two of the three mentioned teams did not win the title.
No to Lots of Top Talent
One of the five inexperienced players is Paolo Banchero, last year’s #1 pick and reigning Kia Rookie of the Year. This year’s World Cup team has some other talented players, and three of them — Edwards, Brandon Ingram and Jackson — were previous top-five draft picks.
Can the USA’s Rookie Heroes Recreate the 2014 Magic?
The American team won 14 of 18 games and held the best record ( 140-10, .933 win percentage) in 18 games, but they have faced challenges in three of the last five World Cups. In 2014, a young and inexperienced team dominated the game and went 8-0 with an average of 33 points to win the World Cup. Now, with the 2023 FIBA World Cup approaching, can a new generation of young players repeat that feat?