Foreign NBA Players Play Different in the Olympics

  • Staff USA misplaced to France within the first recreation of the Olympics males’s basketball match on Sunday. 
  • Staff USA has 9 NBA All-Stars on its roster whereas France solely has 5 energetic NBA gamers. 
  • Damian Lillard mentioned that international NBA gamers play otherwise when taking part in for his or her nation. 
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This yr’s US Olympic males’s basketball workforce landed on the fallacious facet of historical past when it dropped its first recreation of the Olympics to France, 83-76, snapping a 25-game win streak within the Olympics again to 2004. 

Damian Lillard could have given an excuse as to why throughout the postgame press convention. 

The 31-year-old Portland Trailblazers guard, who’s taking part in in his first Olympics, instructed that international NBA gamers are taking part in higher within the Olympics than within the NBA as a result of they’re given extra freedom on an Olympic courtroom than on an NBA courtroom. 

“And you already know who we see every night time generally within the NBA, they’re fully completely different once they play for his or her international locations,” Lillard mentioned. “They acquired extra freedom, and the consolation degree is apparent. So we put ourselves in a dogfight, and so they made performs to win it.”

France solely has 5 energetic NBA gamers on its rosters. Most of them are reserves, together with Utah Jazz middle Rudy Gobert, New York Knicks guard Frank Nilikina, Boston Celtics guard Evan Fournier, Los Angeles Clippers ahead Nicolas Batum, and Brooklyn Nets guard Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot. 

Fournier led the sport with 28 factors on Sunday, whereas Gobert, the one NBA All-Star on the French roster, had 14 factors and 9 rebounds. 

Lillard performed towards each of these gamers over the past NBA season and noticed glimpses of their Olympic efficiency, however they had been each overshadowed by their American teammates. 

In two conferences between the Trailblazers and Celtics, Fournier solely performed in a single and scored 21 factors in a recreation that Portland received 129-119. General, Fournier averaged 15.4 factors per recreation final yr, which was a career-high in comparison with his 11.4 factors per recreation profession common. Nonetheless, he introduced out his finest stuff whereas representing his nation on the Olympic stage. 

Lillard confronted Gobert and the Jazz thrice final season, outscoring the French massive man in two of the three conferences. Gobert nonetheless performed to an identical degree that he performed on Sunday in these three conferences. Nonetheless, the truth that he might put up these numbers whereas main a victory towards a workforce of NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Bam Adebayo, Draymond Inexperienced, and Lillard is a testomony to how arduous Gobert performed for his nation. 

The loss to France hasn’t been the primary signal of decline for Staff USA up to now both. The US additionally dropped its first two pre-Olympic exhibition video games to Nigeria and Australia. Each groups had NBA gamers on their rosters, however none of which might match the status of Staff USA’s star-studded forged. 

Nonetheless, now that Staff USA’s struggles have confirmed to be a sample, Lillard’s commentary concerning the NBA’s international gamers taking part in higher for his or her international locations holds severe credence.

The one query is, why aren’t the US’s superstars taking part in as properly for his or her nation? | Overseas NBA Gamers Play Completely different within the Olympics


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