Americans Set for Next Stage After Breezing Through World Cup’s First Round

As expected, Team USA hasn’t faced any real struggle in the first round, with wins over New Zealand (99-72), Greece (109-81), and Jordan (110-62). The Americans will now move onto the next round of the tournament.Anthony Edwards passes vs. Jordan

The top offensive performer for the USA team so far is leading scorer Anthony Edwards, who is averaging 16.3 points (46% FG), 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Then on the defensive end, the team is led by Jaren Jackson Jr., who is averaging 11.0 points (71% FG), 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.7 blocks.

Other key contributors on both ends of the floor include 3-and-D players Austin Reaves and Tyrese Haliburton. So far throughout the tournament, Reaves has recorded 11.7 points (58% FG), 3.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.0 steals per game, along with Haliburton, who has accumulated 8.3 points (69% FG), 4.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks.

Important to note, that both Reaves and Haliburton lead the team in 3-pointers made, as they are each shooting 5-for-9 (55.5%) from deep. 

“This team is amazing to coach,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “I mean, we were just saying in the locker room, this isn’t normal, to have 12 guys who are all pulling for each other every single day, regardless of how many minutes someone plays, how many points they score, every single guy is all in. We’re having so much fun every day. This is a special experience and I’m just so happy to be part of it.”

As Team USA easily moves onto the next group stage, they are not taking the competition lightly. Being that, there have already been upsets in round one of the World Cup, such as France having an early exit from the tournament after losing its first two games to Canada and Latvia.

“All of our guys saw the result of France last night and it was a good reminder to all of us,” Kerr said. “You just can’t ease into any game in this tournament, the level of competition is so much better now than it was even eight years ago. A lot of really good talent around the world, a lot of good coaching.” 

Besides Spain, the 2019 reigning basketball World Cup champions, the remaining opponents that may give the USA a run for their money include unbeaten teams such as Canada, Germany, and Slovenia.

Team Canada has seven NBA players on their roster, and is led by the Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander whose World Cup averages include, 25.2 points (55% FG), 8.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.7 steals.

Next, Germany has four NBA players on their roster, and is led by the Raptors’ Dennis Schroder, who so far is averaging 19.7 points (47% FG), 2.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.0 steals per game.

Of course, Slovenia is pretty much a one-man show led by none other than the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, who up to now is averaging 30.0 points (45% FG), 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 3.0 steals throughout the tournament. 

As the second stage of the tournament is coming up, we will see the top two teams from each of the first-round groups form four new groups. Then each will play against the two new teams in their group, and this will include previous results from round one carrying over.

With this in mind, the next scheduled games for Team USA will be against Montenegro and Lithuania on Friday, September 1 and Sunday, September 3, respectively, at Araneta Coliseum in Manila.

In regard to the upcoming matchups, Montenegro is led by Bulls center Nikola Vucevic with averages of 20.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 2.0 blocks. Lithuania is led by Pelicans big man Jonas Valanciunas, who is averaging 13.7 points and 10.0 rebounds.

For those wanting to tune in, both Team USA games will be broadcast on ESPN platforms (ESPN2 and ESPN+).

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 30 teams!

Leave a Reply