There’s two contrasting thoughts typically around NBA fan circles about what role Team USA can play on that fan’s team. These thoughts usually depend entirely on what happens to the players from that fan’s team while they are representing their country, positively or negatively.
Thought A is that the risk versus reward is too great and that only bad can come from it. These are the fans who claim that any actual basketball development or improvement while playing with the Team USA squad and coaching staff will be so negligible that the risk for injury and/or the non-rest that these players experience during the off-season puts them in an unfavorable position heading into the season. They’re either going to be too tired and a little worn down from the games and practices during a time that they are typically resting and recuperating from a long season, thereby making them more susceptible to picking up nagging injuries or to suffer from fatigue earlier in the 82 game haul than usual, or they will actually enter training camp with an injury/still trying to fully recover from one and that hampers their ability to enter the new season in top form.
Thought B is that risk for injuries or exhaustion is minimal for a Team USA player in the contrasting context of an 82 game season whereas the experience of playing with some of your country’s best players/coaches, especially for younger players, can act as a springboard to an entirely different level of mental development as well as physical/basketball skill growth. In other words, risk of injury is a part of basketball so unless a player is known to be somewhat brittle, what’s the difference between them playing a pickup game on asphalt or at an NBA team’s training facility versus playing with Team USA, especially since a few months of games and practices is nothing compared to the 9 months of night in, night out basketball grind that the players go through during an NBA season?
For me, both sides have their points and ultimately it comes down to just one simple thing in terms of the fans’ perspective (after all, for the players this is really about representing your country and wearing that jersey with pride and honor…but NBA fans usually aren’t nearly as worried about that part).
That one thing is this: Will there actually be development and improvement? Keep Reading…