The Americans were able to slide past Turkey in the first round of the FIBA World Cup in a 93-92 final. That being said it wasn't any easy victory as the game went to overtime after the score remained tied at 91 at the end of regulation. The Americans will advance to the second round after extending their winning streak to 44 games.
The more important part that I wanted to discuss was the injury to Jayson Tatum that occurred in the final play of the game. This highlights to me why we see so many NBA fixtures decline to play for the USA teams. Why should these stars risk their careers for an insignificant game?
Tatum is scheduled to earn $7.8 million this year. While I presume his injury won't have him miss much time it still highlights the possibility of what can happen. Had this been a more significant injury it could have been devastating to Tatum's value. This is the last year of his guaranteed contract with the Celtics so missing a season could result in a drastically different life.
This is why I will not fault any player for choosing to sit out playing for their national teams in FIBA/Olympic situations. Why should they risk multi-million dollar careers so that we can all enjoy a bit of American pride? I don't believe they should.
I also don't think the national teams will suffer from the top level stars sitting out. There's enough talent available that B squad players could choose to play in an attempt to highlight their value for future contracts with major teams. I think that would be a win/win for everyone involved. What's your thoughts on players sitting out playing for their national teams?
Watch the Highlights from the first round game between USA and Turkey at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.