The United States basketball team failed to medal in the FIBA World Cup, which concluded over the past weekend. The US lost its final two games of the tournament. The eventual FIBA champion, Germany, defeated Team USA 113-11 in the semifinals in a nailbiter of a game in which Germany showed its’ resolve and strength in the paint to advance to the Finals.
In the subsequent bronze medal game, the up-and-coming Canadian team defeated Team USA 127-118 in overtime. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dillon Brooks combined for 70 points in Canada’s win and the US was once again exposed on the international stage.
It may seem shocking to hear that the United States basketball team failed to medal at the World Cup as we undoubtedly have the most talented basketball pool in the world, even if some of the current best individual players are not American. The obvious difference at the World Cup is that the best US players were not present. Team USA was led by Jalen Brunson and Anthony Edwards, both talented, young stars, but not Steph Curry or LeBron James.
Team USA will look much different at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
In the immediate aftermath of the World Cup disappointment, American stars appeared to quickly announce their intentions to play in Paris for Team USA at the 2024 Olympics, most notably LeBron James and Steph Curry. As this is a Philadelphia 76ers fan site, it is natural to wonder if any Sixers will play for Team USA in the Olympics. At the moment that answer is not clear, however, I believe there are three players that would have helped the World Cup roster and might be in consideration for the Olympics in 2024.
Harris may not be a player that comes to mind when you think about the best American players you want to represent the United States in international competition. I agree with that thought process, but let me present the case for Harris.
At the last Olympics in 2021, hosted a year late due to COVID-19, Harris was seemingly one of the final candidates to make the Team USA roster. Keith Pompey reported at the time that Harris was being strongly considered to replace Bradley Beal after he had to pull out of the Olympics. In recent years, Harris has played at fringe All-Star levels and has been arguably the most consistent Sixers player in the playoffs the previous two seasons.
In 2019, Harris also had the opportunity to play for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup, which as noted above is where a tier below the best players get international experience. Harris eventually removed himself from consideration, but the point remains: Tobias Harris can ball and has been consistent and healthy the last few years. His veteran presence could be extremely welcome if Team USA wants to keep with the younger players going forward.