Four Celtics target of Blame Game for Team USA's disappointing World Cup finish
Team USA really just lost to France. They’re now playing for fifth place. I guess that’s what happens when you depend on 4 Celtics to win you something— 𝙃𝙀𝘼𝙏 𝙉𝘼𝙏𝙄𝙊𝙉 (@HeatvsHaters) September 11, 2019
Celtics players couldn’t get the job done? pic.twitter.com/gVbz9vX8Fk— Lakers Empire (@LakersEmpire) September 11, 2019
No mention is made in the tweets about super stars such as Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis choosing not to participate. There is also no suggestion that international competition is new to the members of team USA who had very little chance to gel and come together as a team. FIBA rules, such as the 10-minute quarters and no 3-second defensive regulation, make for a different game.
Blaming the relatively poor World Cup finish on the fact that four Boston Celtics were integral parts of Team USA is absurd. Losses happen, no matter who takes the floor. A team's effectiveness is often not simply the sum of its parts. Kobe Bryant had a few words on the subject (per NBA.Com's John Schumann):
But when asked about his country's failure to win gold this year, Kobe Bryant insisted that, no matter who is wearing the red, white and blue, losses will happen.
"It's not a matter of the rest of the world catching up to the U.S.," Bryant said at a FIBA press conference on Friday. "The rest of the world has been caught up for quite some time. It's to the point now where us in the U.S., we're going to win some and we're going to lose some. That's just how it goes."
Bryant brought up the 2008 Olympics, when one of the most talented teams ever assembled led Spain by just two points early in the fourth quarter of the gold medal game. At the World Championship two years later, a U.S. Team with four future NBA MVPs escaped with a two-point win over Brazil in pool play.
"Put the best players that you think are going to make the best team out there on the floor," Bryant said, "we are still going to have challenges. It's not going to be a cakewalk. The days of the '92 Barcelona Dream Team are gone. They're over."
Yes, the days of the '92 Barcelona Dream Team are over. Team USA's 7th-place finish was truly disappointing. The Americans played tough defense, but the offense often sputtered, in part because, unlike most of the other competing teams, they just never had enough time to get used to each other. And injuries to Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum certainly didn't help the cause. The Blame Game needs to stop. Team Shamrock and their teammates worked hard, and it failed. It was that simple.
Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @CausewayStreet