By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
Retired NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas didn’t mince any words when talking about the roster of Team USA for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“You see that list he [Steve Kerr] got? A sorry-ass group,” Arenas, a three-time NBA All-Star guard from 2005 to 2007, said Listen: I’m happy for the people who make it. It’s cool. It’s cool for some of the guys who got there that I don’t know. Some of them probably don’t even start on their team.”
The 12-man squad of USA for the World Cup includes Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic), Mikal Bridges (Brooklyn Nets), Jalen Brunson (New York Knicks), Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers), Josh Hart (Knicks), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), Cameron Johnson (Brooklyn Nets), Walker Kessler (Utah Jazz), Bobby Portis (Milwaukee Bucks) and Austin Reaves (Los Angeles Lakers).
Despite what Arenas said, out of all these players only Portis can’t be classified as a starter. For example, Reaves, who came off the bench in the vast majority of the regular season, started in all the playoff games of the Lakers and delivered some impressive performances.
There’s arguably a lack of quality on this Team USA squad in comparison to the rosters of past summer tournaments and there’s certainly no superstar around. As USA head coach Steve Kerr has mentioned, his goal was to create a squad that can adapt to the FIBA game and rules while excelling in a different style of basketball, especially when it comes to defense.
“Because it’s embarrassing sometimes when you have star players who are really stars that do want to participate,” Arenas added. Before his comments on Team USA, Trae Young, who was the guest on the show, had mentioned how he wants to play in the 2024 Olympic Games. “And you just automatically say ‘He’s not going to fit our style.’ How the F do you know that he’s not going to fit your style if you don’t give him a chance? There’s a reason there’s a trial. Invite us all and let us show you that we can adapt.”
Unlike other national teams, USA Basketball didn’t have a preliminary roster and a training camp to determine the 12-man group for the World Cup.
“Don’t judge me on how I play on my team. Let me show you what I can do around other players,” Arenas concluded.
You can listen to Arenas’ quotes on Team USA from 25:20 in this video: