The United States men’s basketball team suffered a shocking loss on Wednesday, which says a lot, because all they did was participate in a scrimmage. The group of 15 players, all of whom are competing for one of the 12 roster spots on the team that will head to China for the World Cup this summer, lost by 19 points to a collection of G League and overseas players in a 10-minute scrimmage. It was, to put it mildly, not ideal.
In the eyes of one such player who is vying for a roster spot, saying that the team lost by a comfortable margin lacks a fair amount of context. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker isn’t happy with the narrative around what happened on Wednesday.
Tucker made it a point to say that the loss came on the heels of a two-hour practice, and that when the team arrived to get some work in on Thursday, it was the furthest thing from anyone’s mind.
More of Houston's Tucker on the matter: " We didn’t play a game. That was two quarters of practice and whatever. We come in today and nobody talked about it."
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 16, 2019
A skeptic would say that the collection of NBA players, regardless of how much they have in the tank, should be able to handle a group of G League talent, and would probably point out that they’ll get worn down when they play games against international competition, too. But perhaps this really was a freak incident, one which no one in the red, white, and blue is dwelling on as they prepare for competition this summer. At the very least, we should get a better idea of where the team is at when it scrimmages Spain on Friday.