USA Basketball assembles what it calls a select team to practice with and scrimmage against its national team before big events like the World Cup and the Olympics, while hoping those games become a real test.
Let’s be clear: The “games” Friday were 10 minutes long, the national team was trying a whole slew of combinations and U.S. coach Steve Kerr wasn’t exactly treating a three-point deficit in the final minute the way he would if a medal was at stake. He wasn’t calling time-out to set up plays, never even got out of his seat until the final buzzer sounded.
But that said, the select team did beat the U.S. World Cup team in a pair of those scrimmages on Friday, the second day of camp in Las Vegas. Kerr seemed completely unbothered afterward, noting he had seen similar results before the 2019 World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics two summers ago.
That’s absolutely true, famously going back to the first time NBA players represented the country. It was the 1992 Dream Team, the group of basically the best players in the world at that time Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Robinson and more — playing a team of college kids in a closed scrimmage. The Dream Team lost, 62-54.