Photo: FIBA WC/Twitter

Notes on two quotes from Marc Stein’s Substack, Brandon Ingram, talented young players, and top PPG leaders who didn’t shoot it well behind the 3-point line.

  • “Schröder’s Germany won this event as a true T-E-A-M, too, replete with size, shooting, physicality, playmaking, defenders and, yes, continuity that USA Basketball can only dream about.” Germany clearly grasped the true meaning of playing like a team thanks to many past experiences alongside each other. However, it looked to me like Team USA was quickly starting to jell during the exhibition session (5-0 record), and all I thought they needed to do before the World Cup was address a few key issues that mostly involved communication and execution on both ends. It would have been incredible if Anthony Edwards’ offense and Jaren Jackson Jr.’s defense simply won them Gold, but at just 22 and 23 years of age (Jackson turned 24 on September 15th), that’s very hard to do, especially when the rest of the roster except for a couple guys actually knew/embraced their roles (half their fault/half Steve Kerr & the coaching staff).
  • “It must be especially sweet for Schröder, who has heard little else in recent years apart from scorn for his decision to bypass on a reported contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2020-21 season worth in excess of $80 million. As recently as a year ago, Schröder was leading Germany to a third-place finish at EuroBasket without an NBA contract. He wound up re-signing with the Lakers entering last season for the veteran minimum.” Dennis Schroder’s MVP performance at the World Cup is definitely making that two-year, $26 million contract from the Toronto Raptors look worth it right now. A deal for that kind of money knowing how mediocre he’s been in the playoffs since 2020 (40.1% FG/30.9% 3-PT) is something I don’t know if any of the 29 other NBA teams would have done, so let’s hope Dennis’ close relationship with head coach Darko Rajakovic/recent play will translate to success in Toronto.
  • Brandon Ingram unfortunately went through a very weird experience for Team USA. He seemed ready to embrace his role in my opinion, but head coach Steve Kerr took him out of the starting lineup for Josh Hart. I thought BI was a true pro during the whole process and didn’t struggle as much as many are making it out to be (48.4% FG).
  • Four younger players that I wasn’t too familiar with who caught my attention were Finland’s Miro Little (19 years old), Iran’s Mohammad Amini (18 years old), Japan’s Yuki Kawamura (22 years old), and South Sudan’s Khaman Maluach (turned 17 years old on September 14th). 
  • Hopefully top 2023 FIBA World Cup performers like Luka Doncic (Slovenia/Dallas Mavericks), Jordan Clarkson (Philippines/Utah Jazz), Lauri Markkanen (Finland/Utah Jazz), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada/Oklahoma City Thunder), Josh Giddey (Australia/Oklahoma City Thunder), and Anthony Edwards (United States/Minnesota Timberwolves) can find their three-point stroke once the NBA season begins. 
  • Stats: Doncic- 27.0 PPG/32.4% 3-PT, Clarkson- 26.0 PPG/29.3% 3-PT, Markkanen- 24.8 PPG/25.0% 3-PT, Gilgeous-Alexander- 24.5 PPG/30.0% 3-PT, Giddey- 19.4 PPG/16.7% 3-PT, Edwards- 18.9 PPG/31.1% 3-PT