Team USA still needs to winnow its pool of 15 finalists down to 12 before the FIBA World Cup begins on September 1. No one else is getting added to this team, but perhaps they should burn down the roster and start all over.
On Wednesday, that crew lost a 36-17 scrimmage to the “LA Select Team,” a potpourri of guys you may distantly remember. John Jenkins, for example, had stints with the Hawks, Mavericks, Suns, Wizards, and Knicks as recently as last season. He’s a solid shooter, but not one who should be carving up a team that will contend for the FIBA World Cup.
Watch this grim video without looking too hard at the faces, then try and determine which team was (theoretically) made of the best available NBA talent.
Team Blue looks aggressive in transition, finding and hitting clean looks from all over. Team White is creakily swinging the ball around, flubbing basic passes, getting devoured on any attack to the basket. If they have any sense of how to play with one another, it was not at all legible in these 12 minutes. P.J. Tucker is receiving the ball with some expectation to “create.” Donovan Mitchell looks like one of two people on his team that can successfully dribble three times in a row, and yet dreadful things happen when he does so. A closing lineup of Mitchell, Kemba Walker, Harrison Barnes, Tucker, and Brook Lopez—which likely isn’t far off from the team they’ll close with in the actual tournament—was thoroughly worked by dudes who can’t sniff an NBA roster. At this point the best course of action might be to light some sage, hand the ball to De’Aaron Fox, and hope for the best. Sources close to the situation say he is “super fast.”
Team USA reportedly lost another scrimmage to the LA Select Team that day, but on the bright side, the first defeat was by 3, not 19.