Here is a fact: Team USA had four Boston Celtics players on it.
Another fact: Team USA did not win the FIBA World Cup.
However, since those two statements are true you have a lot of the NBA public making the following false accusation:
Team USA’s loss in FIBA is the Celtics fault.
That is not totally true.
Kemba Walker was the elder statesman, and arguably the team’s overall best player. There’s a common trope in basketball that the team with the best player wins the series. One could reasonably follow that up with placing blame solely at the feet of the best player on the team. LeBron James went through this multiple times throughout his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But Kemba is far from the main culprit for Team USA. He lead the team in scoring. Frankly, it would be easy to argue that Kemba was the least of all of America’s problems.
Two of the other Celtics were hurt early on in the tournament. Jayson Tatum, who really impressed during the exhibition games, didn’t get a chance to play when the tournament started to matter. Marcus Smart was hurt early on, but in true Marcus Smart fashion battled through an injury to play. And Jaylen Brown played well…as a bench role guy. You cannot sack the entire reputation of a team because one guy on the bench didn’t completely dominate the game.
Moreover, look at the two teammates from the Bucks. Khris Middleton is supposed to be a dead-eye shooter. He only shot 35% from deep and averaged 9.9 points per game. Brook Lopez was second-to-last in points per game. I would think Milwaukee would garner more blame than Boston did.
Ultimately, getting in good rhythm before training camp starts is a positive thing. The young Celtics had an opportunity to gel and turn the page on last year. Even though Team USA did not win gold at FIBA it was still a worthwhile experience.
On this week’s Celtics Beat Adam Kaufman and the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy chat about the “losers” on Team USA and MORE! Make sure you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher! Lastly, make sure you follow Adam on Twitter here!
1:54 Twitter mailbag
7:40 Hayward an All-Star?
17:39 Big men on the market?
31:10 Celtics on Team USA aren’t losers