Later this month, the FIBA World Cup of Basketball is set to tip off. This 2023 edition of the competition will be played in The Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, and as is customary, Team USA should be a squad to be wreckoned with.
The US took the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and once again, the Americans should be one of the best clubs in the tourney. That’s always going to be the expectation, of course, but with the NBA having more international players than ever before, it’s not going to be a cake walk. This is going to be a young US squad, too, and time will tell as to how well the group gels.
For housekeeping purposes, this is going to be the roster for the Stars and Stripes in this next FIBA WC, per a Team USA release.
As a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, I can’t help but to envision how a few current Cavaliers would do and/or what kind of possible roles they’d have in these kind of international tournaments. Former Cav Raul Neto will be representing his native Brazil and current Cavalier veteran Ricky Rubio will be repping Spain once again, as an aside.
That said, one Cavalier, in particular, is a player who could be an eventual star for Team USA, in Darius Garland.
Garland was previously on the US Select Team prior to Tokyo Olympics, which was a great sign at the time, but since, he’s really upped his level of play, and so have the Cavs as a team.
Regarding the Team USA element with Garland, it’s his balanced play and multifaceted style that could definitely lead to him playing outstanding ball with Team USA, too. And that’d be terrific to watch if that were to play out eventually.
Darius Garland’s play style would make him a star for Team USA down the road, if the opportunity came along.
International play is different, and can be more physical than the NBA, but having playmakers and versatile offensive point guards always is important for Team USA. With those things in mind, Garland’s on-floor leadership could lead to him being a difference-maker in international settings.
With the way he breaks down defenses with his handle, change-of-pace and quickness, and also on and off-ball scoring tool box, Garland could mesh seamlessly even while playing with several other NBA stars. He had 21.6 points per contest last season, and despite an off closing stretch of the regular season, still connected on 41.0 percent of his three-point shot attempts in his fourth year.
Granted, at times within the context of the Cavaliers, Darius Garland could be a bit more aggressive as a scorer, but that’s debatable, even. He’s not typically a lead guard that’s going to force things, and for Cleveland long-term, that’s the right approach for the most part, and it’s led to him making those around him better. There’s also legitimate similarities between Garland and Steve Nash, in that aspect.
Last season, Garland’s assist splits dipped a bit to 7.8 helpers per game, which was going to come with Donovan Mitchell acquired, but that didn’t diminish Garland’s playmaking.
If he were to play with Team USA in the next Summer Olympics, one could foresee DG being a hell of a floor general then, too, with how he’s on-time and on-target with his looks to shooters from a variety of passes, and with his stellar pick-and-roll play with bigs.
Obviously, Team USA is always is going to have its share of star players in international tournaments; that goes without saying. It is imperative that the US has willing and able playmakers in their collection of players, though, and with Garland’s abilities, both with and without the ball in his hands, he could establish himself as a star in the near future with Team USA.
Guys love playing with DG, for a plethora of reasons. He’s uber-talented, and easy to play with and/or off of.