In a completely hypothetical conversation, the 2018-2019 Golden State Warriors could likely dismantle Team USA with relative ease.
As the win-streak neared 60 games, two-time defending World Cup winners, Team USA, who were composed of high-level NBA players, failed in the FIBA World Cup. That begs the question: Could the Golden State Warriors beat them?
This year’s Warriors is a much more interesting question, but last year’s Warriors would easily give Team USA a beatdown. Last year’s Warriors arguably would’ve had the four best players on the court: Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.
Given that they’re all from the USA, the talent that wanted to play for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup was discouraging. However, many players, including Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, have noted that they plan to play in the 2020 Olympics.
That said, Team USA was led by Jazz star Donavon Mitchell and Celtics star Kemba Walker. Players like Jaylen Brown, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum and Myles Turner also represented the USA in Australia. They were laced with mid-level stars, all of which have cemeneted solid NBA careers.
That said, there was one piece of Golden State in Team USA though. That was head coach Steve Kerr who assisted Team USA’s head coach Gregg Popovich. Team USA finished seventh, their worst finish in the World Cup.
It’s easy to see how Golden State could’ve easily outplay Team USA, and it’s concerning for teams like Boston and Utah. Team USA didn’t take stars that could completely take over the game or stars that helped create high-level impact on both ends of the court.
It took heroics to down Turkey, and it’s something most of the league’s top players didn’t take kindly to. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst captured Harrison Barnes noting that this may be the last time most of the team represents the country.
"“For some of us, potentially all of us, Saturday will be the last chance for us to wear a Team USA jersey,” Barnes said. “We have to savor that opportunity.”"
That said, when thinking about a potential matchup between the Warriors and Team USA, a few things come to mind. Curry would’ve been forced onto a top-tier guard. Could he guard Kemba Walker effeciently when usually he just tosses that assignment to Thompson?
Like the rest of the world, no one would have an answer for Kevin Durant. The team didn’t take P.J. Tucker with them. He withdrew, a huge blow for Team USA. He wasn’t the only one though. Players like De’Aaron Fox also withdrew prior to the team cutting the roster to just 12.
Those players would’ve been huge additions for Team USA. Especially when considering playing Golden State, Tucker would’ve been useful as the best defensive forward. Team USA may have had their only edge down low as Myles Turner against Kevon Looney would be the only mismatch favoring Team USA.
The Warriors’ lined the court with potentially the most talented five-man lineup in league history last year so it’s not a shocking that many should favor them over the deeper Team USA.