This summers FIBA World Cup wasn’t a wake-up call for the USA, it was a Shock and Awe for the world. I have never heard the USA make excuses for losing, so this was shocking to me. The other “teams practice more; they have been playing together for years; FIBA basketball is different than the NBA.” None of these excuses was present over the years when the USA dominated the international competition.
The experience of a seventh-place finish behind countries such as Spain, France, Argentina, Australia (who beat the USA in a friendly) Serbia and the Czech Republic. Should illustrate to the basketball community that athletic ability will no longer win games at the highest level. Fundamental basketball skill, tactics and teamwork all overshadowed athletic ability.
USA basketball needs to make a few fundamental changes or at the very least should consider the following:
Consider hiring Top European coaches as assistants.
The USA coaches were all American NBA or college-level coaches. Much was said about the lack of international experience of the NBA players. I would say the same discussion could be made regarding the knowledge of the coaching staff. Adding European coaches that know the FIBA game would give USA Basketball a tactical advantage.
Consider adding American players who are currently playing in the top Euro-leagues.
Americans have been playing in FIBA competition for decades. Some of them are good enough to be in the NBA but for many reasons are playing abroad and playing well. NBA scouts know who the best American players are in Europe. Its a matter of inviting the right guys to camp to see what they can do. But more importantly, giving them an opportunity to make the team.