If you have been paying close attention to the Minnesota Timberwolves, you are already very aware of the fact that they have played a significant role in the outcomes of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Tournament. So much so that nine members of the Timberwolves have participated in varying degrees in the prestigious international competition this season.
Even more thrilling, there were members from the Minnesota Timberwolves roster on either team of the consolation round from the tournament today. Team USA was led by Timberwolves star shooting guard Anthony Edwards, while Tema Canada benefited from the dependable contribution of Timberwolves shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Regardless of who you were rooting for, you certainly got an overtime thriller today, September 10, 2023. This was Team Canada’s moment, and it showed as two Canadian players scored over 30 points in this one: Forward Dillon Brooks (Houston Rockets) popped 39 points to lead all scorers in this one, followed closely by G Shai Gilgeous Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder) who contributed 31.
Team USA was led by shooting guard Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves) with 24 points, followed closely by Austin Reeves (Los Angeles Lakers) with 23 points.
Time to regroup for Team USA
This game followed the same script that has plagued Team USA throughout the competition. Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards continued to be the star of the team, but USA got next to nothing from their bigs in a second consecutive loss that dropped the team completely out of the medal tiers.
Team USA had high hopes for international competition, but with the team settling for just five of the Top 20 NBA players: Anthony Edwards, Jalen Brunson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Mikal Bridges, and Tyrese Haliburton committing to USA Basketball for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, this was never going to be easy.
NBA stars no longer like to surrender their entire summers playing basketball. There was no Joel Embiid, Steph Curry, or LeBron James on the roster. And international basketball players have truly closed the gap in their mastery of this American-originated professional sport. Need proof? James Harden was the last American-born NBA MVP winner, and he won the honor after the 2017-2018 NBA season.
A chance to compete for Olympic Gold may persuade bigger stars to play for Team USA next year. But it’s clear that the roster assembled for Team USA in 2023 was not good enough to get the job done. Are there better centers and power forwards in the league? If so, then Team USA needs to start a marketing campaign to get them on the team next season.
Or, just like this year, Team USA will exit the competition with no medal to show for their efforts.