NBA Stars Put Upcoming Season Ahead of International Glory
The United States has a proud history in international basketball, with a dominant list of results against the international teams they have met. But this year's team was a far cry from the legendary Dream Team in 1992 because of the fact that so many of the best players in the world decided not to show up for the World Cup. In the single elimination stage of the World Cup, France was able to take advantage of that fact and defeated Team USA short of the medal rounds.
While the game was close for the majority, France pulled away late and won by a final score of 89-79. The French were led by NBA talents in Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert, both of whom have played key roles on strong NBA teams in the past. Gobert has been a star for a perennial playoff team in the Utah Jazz, while Fournier was a key part of some strong Denver Nuggets teams before taking a bigger role on the Orlando Magic. Gobert was the star of this game, putting in 21 points and 16 rebounds to help secure the victory.
This loss by the Americans followed a loss in the warmup period before the World Cup to Australia, which was the team's first loss in international competition in over a decade. That loss was a sign of things to come, as it was clear from the start of this international cycle that this team wouldn't be challenging any of the records set by the national team for the biggest wins in the history of USA basketball.
2019-2020 NBA Outlook
When fans look back at the outcome of this year's World Cup and who is to blame for the team's failure, the players who decided to stay home from the competition will certainly be highest on the list. But if those players are able to win the NBA Finals in the upcoming season, they certainly won't have any regrets about leaving the national team high and dry.
With so many star players switching teams in the 2019 offseason, the prevailing thought was for the stars to stay back and develop some chemistry with their new teams. This season is an interesting one, in that the top favorites to win the NBA Finals are teams that have landed big-name players who were not there the season before. Specifically, the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers find themselves at the top of the list of favorites to win the title in 2020. According to 2020 NBA Finals odds from Betway on September 11, 2019, the Clippers lead the list of championship favorites at +325, while the Lakers stand at +400 odds to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy. The Clippers brought in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George during the offseason, grabbing the defending Finals MVP and one of the best perimeter players in the league in one fell swoop. The Lakers, meanwhile, made a trade to acquire Anthony Davis to go alongside LeBron James on a roster that instantly has become one of the league's most terrifying.
The Houston Rockets will also be a threat to win the Finals, after trading Chris Paul away and bringing in Russell Westbrook to go along with James Harden. And with the Golden State Warriors no longer looking like an automatic entry into the Finals after losing Kevin Durant to the Nets and Klay Thompson to injury, this season is as wide open as any in recent NBA memory. That is why so many great players decided to rest up instead of going to the World Cup, and why the upcoming season will be so memorable.