The Minnesota Timberwolves may no longer the owners of the most embarrassing scrimmage loss of the season after reports poured out of USA Basketball camp in Los Angeles on Wednesday that a rag-tag group of G-League and overseas players stomped all over the national team in a 36-17 win in a scrimmage open to the media.
It’s not quite as sensational a story as Jimmy Butler taking the third team and beating up on the first stringers in the now-infamous post-trade request practice in Minnesota, but for a national team where the major story has been the players that have turned down the chance to play this summer, it’s not a great look.
A scrappy squad of players featuring some who played in @FIBAWC qualifying for @usabasketball and are being coached again this week by Jeff Van Gundy just took it to the USAB senior national team in a scrimmage open at the end to the media. Final score: 36-17
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 14, 2019
A collection of G-League/overseas players beat Team USA (closing line up of K. Walker, D. Mitchell, H. Barnes, PJ Tucker and B. Lopez handily in a scrimmage just now to close USA practice. Great effort from the unheralded group.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) August 14, 2019
Now, this could be Pop channeling Chuck Daly by structuring a scrimmage and trying to get his national team to lose for motivation and to remind them it won’t be a walk-over in the World Cup, like Daly did to the Dream Team in 1992, but given that the reaction from the media on hand was to note it was the scrimmage squad basically dominating, that may not be the case. As for who was on this team that beat up on the hopefuls for the World Cup, Jonathan Givony offered up a roster that features quite the list of names for those that followed college hoops over the last decade.
Here's the LA Select Team roster USA Basketball assembled, mostly from the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, currently scrimmaging in LA tonight versus the 15 NBA players vying to make the World Cup Team. Cool to see USA Basketball reward some of the guys that helped get them to China. pic.twitter.com/5kni54gRd0
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) August 14, 2019
It was apparently the second loss of the day by the national squad in the 10-minute scrimmages.
As if the Team USA drubbing vs. the Select Team wasn’t bad enough, sources tell @TheAthletic that it was their second loss to the Select Team on the day (the first one was by three, with the game going just 10 minutes). Not a great way to go into Friday’s exhibition v. Spain.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) August 14, 2019
It must be stressed that these are all professional basketball players, and as such are very talented. It also should be said that they have an awful lot more at stake by looking good in an end of practice scrimmage that’s open to the media and others than the players on the national team. Still, it’s not the best look for a team that many American fans already aren’t especially confident in given the lack of superstars on the roster.
Hopefully this serves as the wake up call it was perhaps intended to be, and we know Pop will be reminding them of this over the next month.