By way of another dropout, Brooklyn Nets wing Joe Harris secures his spot on Team USA’s 2019 FIBA World Cup roster.
Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers was forced to withdraw due to an ankle injury, cementing the final 12-man roster.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 24, 2019
While this is remarkable news for Harris, Team USA is limping to China after a slew of dropouts led to Select Team members making the final roster. In addition to Harris, Derrick White of the San Antonio Spurs was a late call-up after a number of stars backed out.
Even worse, Australia stunned Team USA in the wee hours of the night. In their penultimate exhibition before heading to China, Team USA lost to the Aussies 98-94 in Melbourne.
This was the nation’s first loss in international competition since 2006. Harris finished with three points and five rebounds as the
The Boomers were spurred on by a ridiculous fourth quarter from Spurs guard Patty Mills.
— NBL (@NBL) August 24, 2019
Of course, this was an exhibition game so it is effectively meaningless. However, this shows that Team USA is vulnerable in a major international tournament for the first time in over a decade.
That being said, Team USA is the only country sending a full squad of NBA players. They are still the favorite to win it all.
Harris should see significant time once the World Cup starts. He’s played around 20 minutes per game in the exhibitions and scrimmages leading up to China.
His numbers don’t jump off the page, but his gravity as a three-point shooter can help guys like Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell attack the interior.
Furthermore, zone defense is a go-to strategy for many international teams. Harris is one of the best three-point shooters on the planet and a definite zone-buster for Team USA.
Team USA will square off with Canada on Aug. 26 in their final exhibition game before starting the World Cup on Sept. 1.