After finalizing the roster without any of the league’s superstars, Team USA has begun FIBA World Cup action.
Team USA, led by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, went undefeated in their first round group, beating the Czech Republic, Turkey and Japan. In the second round, they will face the Greek team, led by reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
With many big names bowing-out of the World Cup, younger players, most of whom are non-All-Stars, will get valuable experience in the international tournament.
Team USA is expected to go deep in the World Cup per usual. Which individual players, and teams, will benefit the most from the experience?
While Spurs guard Derrick White is one of the more under-assuming names on Team USA, he has a lot to gain from the international competition. White should take another leap next season after working this summer with his head coach.
White, 25, only has two years in the NBA under his belt. The more experience playing against high-level competition, the better. White averaged just under a 10-4-4 stat line last season, starting in 55 games.
With the return of Dejounte Murray from injury, White will be part of a young group of talent to play alongside the veteran stars of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan.
White’s World Cup experience could be crucial as San Antonio looks to make the playoffs for the 23rd season in a row.
Heading into his fourth season, the Pacers are looking forward to center Myles Turner taking another step in his career. With Victor Oladipo out for a portion of the season with injury, Turner will have to step up offensively. A summer with Team USA could benefit him greatly.
Turner has been a consistent big man since his rookie season in 2015. Turner’s career averages are 13 points, 6.7 rebounds and two blocks per game, earning him defensive praise.
In a bigger role next season, as well as after earning an extension, Turner can use his time with Team USA to potentially become an All-Star for the first time.
The Boston Celtics
The Celtics’ famous chemistry woes are what sunk their title hopes last season. With four of their key players on the same squad for Team USA, Boston should have a leg-up heading into the coming season.
Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart will have an early opportunity to play together. While Tatum and Smart have gone down with minor injuries, all players, most recently Brown, have performed well in the pool-play.
The Celtics are expected to be near the top of the Eastern Conference next season, though many don’t consider them contenders. Experience in the World Cup should lead to their core of talent being on the same page, and this could help put them over the top.
Featured image credited to Getty Images.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.