The decision about what the United States basketball roster should be for international competition has been a hot debate topic for years.
Some people claim it should be kept the way it is now––with the best players from the NBA teaming up to destroy the rest of the world. Others claim there should be a cap on the age of the players, usually argued around 22 or 23 years old.
The bottom line is that team USA hasn’t lost a game in international competition since the squad fell to Greece in the semifinals of the FIBA World Cup in Japan in 2006.
This past weekend was just another example of how truly ahead of the curve the USA is in terms of basketball talent.
In a matchup against a Serbian team that featured three players who barely scraped the NBA landscape, the Americans claimed the gold medal with a 40-point win.
Of course, as an American, I’m excited that we won the gold medal. But it’s just not as exciting when there seemingly isn’t anyone who can compete with us.
Sure, there were talks that Spain might beat us, but that’s not what I mean.
When we have essentially one competitor, it’s not fun to watch.
The most exciting moments in sports are when the game goes down to the wire and you don’t know what’s going to happen. We need close games in order for international basketball to become something people actually care about.
As a solution, I propose we limit the USA roster to players under 23 years old. I know that may seem unfair to us. But trust me, we’d still have the best team.
It’s not like this would hurt ratings in the slightest; there would still be NBA stars eligible to play. This year alone from the World Cup team we’d still be able to send Kyrie Irving (Tournament MVP), Andre Drummond and Anthony Davis.
It may not work. It’s entirely possible we are still so ahead of everybody else talent-wise that we would still wipe the floor with the Angola’s and the Serbia’s of the world. But it’s definitely worth a try.
Fans love watching young players grow. What better place to watch this growth than on the world stage against some of the greatest international players on planet earth?
As a Pistons fan, there is nothing that got me more excited during these blowouts than to see Andre Drummond flying all over the court.
It’s not fool-proof. No plan is. But it’s worth a shot. Nobody cared about this World Cup because it was the “USA” and “everybody else.”
Let’s not make that the case anymore. Let’s even the playing field. Let’s go down to the wire. And then, at the end of the day, we can rejoice in a gold medal we feel like we actually earned.