After losing their first two exhibition games before traveling overseas, the U.S. team is at risk of failing to win gold in men’s basketball for the first time since 2004.
Even the Portland Trail Blazers keeper CJ McCollum has his worries looking from afar. On the last episode on his PodcastMcCollum said there was cause for concern ahead of the games in Tokyo.
“The United States team definitely struggled to get out of the gate,” McCollum said after the Americans secured a brace in the exhibition game before it was announced that Kevin Love and Bradley Beal would will not travel to Tokyo.
The Blazers shooting goaltender explained why the Americans, by far the most talented team in the business, struggled to get out of the gate.
The major problem is that they haven’t had a lot of time to train, ”CJ said. have a lot of players on the pitch trying to get used to each other. ”
CJ added that the Americans are playing these Olympics after the bubble and then a very condensed season with little training time, where the American team will face opponents “who have been playing together for years and are used to international basketball. “.
“These teams are experienced and they have spent a lot of time together,” said Damian Lillard after losing to Australia. “We are still working to become a team.”
Additionally, the Americans struggled with the physical nature of the international game with many players on the United States team not receiving the pronounced NBA touchdowns.
“Not only is basketball different, the physique is different, the rules are slightly different and the three point line is a lot closer, so I think all of those things definitely played a role,” McCollum added.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports wrote On Tuesday “several players, from Jayson Tatum to Bradley Beal, watched officials after absences as they are used to receiving contact faults or being treated like stars in the NBA.”
McCollum can understand why some may be pessimistic about the Americans’ failure to win the gold medal after the show’s disappointments.
“There are certainly reasons to be a little worried about the proximity to the Olympics and this situation that they are going to go through: probably not having any fans during the Olympics, probably not being able to move so freely. that players are used to doing. and then also, the fact that Bradley Beal [will miss the event.]
“I think all of these things will play a huge, huge, huge factor in the success or failure of the United States team.”
However, CJ still believes the Americans will be fine if the team can find their rhythm. It’s a chemistry problem, not an effort problem.
“They have the talent, they have the coaching staff, obviously it’s just a matter of how fast they can take the turn, how fast can they find the chemistry, how quickly can they get used to it. with the international game and the way it is played.
“The guys are ready to learn and grow to represent the United States to the best of their ability.”