The U.S. men's basketball team dropped its second straight game at the FIBA championships and the excuses are flying.
Of course, the No. 1 alibi is that we didn't send our best players. And that's true. The best of the NBA would rather wait for a chance at an Olympic medal than waste a summer chasing a championship that didn't even find its way to network television in this country. And I don't blame them.
But it's not as if we didn't send very good players to China for this tournament. Only Mason Plumlee on this roster was not an NBA starter and there was a projected NBA payroll of $265 million for these guys.
Sorry, but no other team over there could feature talent of that magnitude.
So let me take a different path of trying to explain this problem. For one thing, doesn't it seem that very few of our international teams have enough outside shooting to take advantage of the international three-point line? For years, other countries have sagged off in some form of zone defense as our teams struggled to make outside shots and couldn't execute zone-breakers that some high-school teams can handle.
Yes, I think the selection process has been flawed for a long time, still enamored with spectacular dunkers and drivers, rather than pure shooters – even if they aren't among the league's high-priced endorsers.
And one other thing, how does Gregg Popovich escape unscathed? Why is there never any criticism of how he handled the team's preparation or roster? Apparently Pop the Great is above all that.
He certainly couldn't find many answers with this team, other than using smaller and smaller lineups. I don't think Team USA was prepared for the situation. And that usually falls on the coach, doesn't it?
Why is Gregg Popovich escaping criticism for Team USA failure? originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest