With multiple NBA All Stars, a Hall-of-Fame coach and a history of basketball dominance, Team USA is expected to take down every opponent they face on the international circuit. So when this year’s squad fell to both Nigeria and Australia in their first two exhibition games, a feeling of panic started to spread amongst U.S. supporters.
Fans and analysts have scrambled to figure out what’s going on with Team USA. Is it a lack of chemistry? Fatigue from a quick turnaround after last year’s COVID-19 season?
According to Fox Sports analyst Colin Cowherd, these two early losses have less to do with Team USA and more to do with the rising basketball talent around the world.
“You can lose to Nigeria. You can lose to Australia. There’s nothing to be afraid of,” he said on The Herd w/ Colin Cowherd. “Basketball has never been more of a global game and more skilled.”
“You can lose to Nigeria. You can lose to Australia. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Basketball has never been more of a global game and more skilled.”
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) July 13, 2021
Cowherd attributed the increasing global nature of the game to the absence of an economic barrier. Unlike many sports, as long as you have a ball and a park, you can go out and work on your game at any time.
To demonstrate the rising talent of international players, Cowherd noted the recent success of global players in the NBA.
Two-time league MVP and Greek superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is putting on a show in the Finals. Slovenian born Luka Doncic is slowly becoming the face of the league as an elite young talent. Nikola Jokic became the first Serbian player to win NBA MVP this past season. MVP runner up Joel Embiid hails from Cameroon. And Frenchman Rudy Gobert claimed his third Defensive Player of the Year trophy in 2021.
Team USA will face another challenge tonight as they take on a talented Argentinian squad lead by former NBA veteran Luis Scola and Denver Nuggets point guard Facundo Campazzo.
The exhibition matchup will tipoff at 6 p.m. ET.