2023 FIBA World Cup: 3 Reasons why USA Basketball failed in dramatic fashion

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Taking a deeper dive into how USA Basketball failed in dramatic fashion in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. 

This probably isn’t what Grant Hill had in mind when he took over as president of USA Basketball.  I’m sure he expected that his squad would win the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

The U.S. men’s basketball team was upset by Germany early Friday morning 113-111 in the semifinals of the 2023 FIBA World Cup. They will take on Canada in the third-place game on Sunday. Serbia defeated Lithuania in the other semifinal matchup and will take on Germany in the Championship game on Sunday.

Many are calling the United States’ loss to Germany surprising. Perhaps we should have seen it coming. The U.S. started out 9-0 under new head coach Steve Kerr. His team then shockingly lost to Lithuania by a score of 110-104 last Sunday. The United States even trailed by as many as 21 points in that game before mounting a furious comeback.

The Americans had opportunities to win this tournament. The loss to Lithuania was in group play, not during the elimination round. Expected contenders France, Spain, and Australia were eliminated before the semifinals. Canada was seen as a threat but couldn’t get past the semifinals.

The U.S. even avoided playing against several superstars originally expected to play in the FIBA World Cup. Greece didn’t have Giannis Antetokounmpo. Serbia didn’t have the 2023 NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokic. The Joker’s running mate on the Denver Nuggets, Jamal Murray, dropped from the Canadian roster.

What went wrong for USA Basketball?

So what went wrong for the U.S. team in Manila? There was more talent on the roster than its 2019 FIBA World Cup team – which finished seventh. The effort from the Americans was there. Hill and Kerr assembled a strong coaching staff (Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few). What happened?

The rest of the world has caught up to the United States in basketball. Again.

The U.S. loss to Germany could have been avoided. However, I expect that both Grant Hill and Steve Kerr will learn from this year’s FIBA World Cup. Here are three areas where it went wrong for the U.S. and how they can get back on top in the international game.

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