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FIBA World Cup 2019: Team USA players push back on criticism of roster

first_img Clippers hiring Tyronn Lue as Doc Rivers’ top assistant coach, report says This year’s United States FIBA World Cup team is not the most exciting group ever, with many fans questioning whether it can get the job done.Members of Team USA are speaking up about America’s lack of faith and are confident they can bring the U.S. its sixth straight gold medal in Olympic and World Cup competitions.  “It’s like they picked us up off the street,” Celtics forward Jayson Tatum told The Undefeated at camp when addressing speculation the U.S. might not win it all. “We’re NBA players. We’re pretty good at what we do. It’s added a chip on our shoulder, and we’re going to take it with us.”NBA stars such as James Harden, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis elected early on not to participate in the 2019 tournament, set to begin Aug. 31 in China. This certainly made a team usually stacked with All-NBA talent look less appealing on paper, and players continued to drop like flies as the final roster was being determined. Related Newscenter_img Rockets forward P.J. Tucker left camp with an ankle injury last week while Kings guard De’Aaron Fox decided he’d rather focus on the upcoming NBA season following Team USA’s 90-81 exhibition win over Spain, the second-ranked team in this year’s World Cup.The team’s only All-NBA performer, Kemba Walker, says the squad is “hungry” to be successful though, despite the doubts.Kings forward Harrison Barnes is the lone survivor from the U.S.’s 2016 gold-medal squad and claims Team USA isn’t listening to what skeptics have to say.“We hear the noise,” Barnes said. “It’s about just us, getting better, continuing to grow closer on and off the floor, and we’ll go from there.“We’re motivated more than anything to keep the gold standard going, by the teams that went before us that went and won the World Cup, that went and won the Olympics multiple times. That’s what we’re chasing right now.”The U.S. will face Australia Thursday in its second international exhibition game of the summer.last_img read more

Jets’ Adam Gase isn’t blameless, but don’t blame him for 2019 New York nightmare

first_imgEye-popping, unpopular opinion: It’s not on Adam Gase. At least, not entirely.The Jets’ 2019 season has been a nightmare. For fans, it’s been like waking up late on a Monday morning, discovering someone stole your car, turning on the news and then finding out it was wrecked when it went through the front of a 7-11, destroying the Slurpee machine in the process. It’s been bitter, and it gets worse. Look at the recent Cowboys run, or the Rams in 2018, or any other team that had a hope of winning a Lombardi Trophy. No line, no time, no dimes. That’s just the way football works and has always worked. What good is having a downfield threat in Robby Anderson if there’s no time for Darnold to get him the ball?There are injuries at key positions elsewhere: Big-ticket free agent C.J. Mosley has only played in two games this season, dealing with groin injuries. Avery Williamson, Mosley’s linebacker runningmate, was injured during the preseason. Rookie Blake Cashman is on IR with a shoulder injury. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was benched and is now out for the season, as well. The list goes on.It’s easy to point to Gase’s 23-25 record with the Dolphins and say history is repeating itself, but the 2019 season requires context. You can’t tell Gase’s Jets story until you tell all of it: The injuries. The roster. The lack of depth. The mono. The ghosts.This is not Gase’s team; it’s not even Joe Douglas’ team yet. The new GM has barely figured out how to work the thermostat in his new office. If Douglas was brought in to helm the operation alongside Gase, then he and Gase should be allowed at least one offseason together to figure out how to mold and shape the roster in their image. If 2020 rolls around and the results aren’t there, then heads will roll, and rightfully so. But some amount of time should be afforded to new coaches in situations as bad as that of the Jets.There’s also the reminder that Douglas’ monstrous, six-year contract, which outlasts Gase’s deal, means that if things don’t work out with the coach in the immediate, he’ll have an opportunity to build with someone else; a coach of his choosing. But we are still far from that point.UPDATED NFL DRAFT ORDER:Giants jump ahead of victorious Jets, DolphinsThis isn’t to absolve Gase or make excuses for him — his offense has looked beyond poor during his tenure. A lot of that, though, is due to the horrific offensive line play and a lack of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Tight end Chris Herndon played just 16 snaps this season between suspension and injuries and has landed on IR. Quincy Enunwa, who figured to be one of Darnold’s biggest receiving threats prior to the season, was injured in Week 1. The offensive line can’t get to the second level and give Le’Veon Bell even a little more room to breathe. But if team owner Christopher Johnson’s vote of confidence Tuesday to keep Gase through 2019 and 2020 means anything, it’s that this is not Gase’s fault.WEEK 11 NFL PICKS:Against the spread | Straight-up predictionsJohnson pointed to the working relationship between Gase and new general manager Joe Douglas; Gase and Sam Darnold and the rest of the players on the roster. Johnson also pointed to the fact that players in the locker room were open to the idea of Gase sticking around for this year and potentially next.There are likely other reasons that Gase is staying. One is probably so the Johnsons would have to avoid paying three head coaches at once — Todd Bowles and staff from his firing, Gase and whoever the new coach would be. Another would be to offer some level of stability and not make knee-jerk reactions to appease a vocal minority of fans.Obviously, some modicum of blame falls on Gase for a 2-7 record and a downward spiral of a season. But to use Gase a scapegoat, nine games into his Jets career, is wholly unfair.Jets CEO Christopher Johnson on why he’s bringing back Adam Gase …pic.twitter.com/RzT2ByF7cQ— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 13, 2019True: Darnold has had an up-and-down season. He didn’t look himself in the opener vs. the Bills, and he was potentially dealing with mononucleosis in that start. In his return game, he and the Jets walloped the Cowboys. Then, a Murphy’s law start vs. the Patriots (the infamous “Ghosts” game) and a few bad losses vs. the Jaguars and the hapless Dolphins cast some doubt on whether Darnold was the QB of the future. Fingers pointed at Gase, eyes rolled, and Jets fans flew “Fire Gase” banners over New York.While Darnold’s candid “seeing ghosts” moment was a horror to Gang Green fans, the true scary story here is how poor this roster is, top to bottom. There is a lack of depth everywhere that isn’t defensive line, and among the three most important position groups for 2019 football — offensive line, pass rusher and cornerback — the Jets are almost completely devoid of talent. Darnold’s numbers, while not comforting (especially in the turnover department), aren’t all that bad, either: 6 games, 63.2 percent completion rate, 7 touchdowns to 9 interceptions and a 2-4 record.But there is a fundamental flaw for the Jets: It starts and ends with the offensive line.A trade gamble on Kelechi Osemele, a move by now-fired GM Mike Maccagnan, backfired and cost the Jets a fifth-round pick in 2019. Osemele is now off the team after he was expected to be a key cog of a “re-worked” offensive line. Third-round pick Chuma Edoga hasn’t played well in his rookie campaign. Ryan Kalil looks like he should have stayed on his couch this offseason. Brian Winters was having a poor year and is now on IR.Good football teams are built through the trenches, in case we want to gloss over that tried-and-true fact en route to damning Gase. Darnold’s top receiving targets have been Jamison Crowder — who has been worth the money paid by Maccagnan — Anderson and what’s left of Demariyus Thomas. It’s hardly a who’s-who of receiving threats.Part of the reason Gase was hired was his ability to get the most out of a barren roster as coach of the Dolphins, which, through 10 weeks, hasn’t been the case with the Jets. There’s plenty of season left — we are just nine games into the Gase tenure, after all — to get things moving in the right direction. It’s easy to point to “Same Old Jets” and “loljets” and all the meme-atic things you’d find on Twitter, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of the 2019 New York Jets.Context matters, and whether Adam bombs or not, he deserves some time to get it figured out. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/16/d8/adam-gase-110319-getty-ftrjpg_npkq3dzwwjj41w0etal9sgoj1.jpg?t=857317454&w=500&quality=80last_img read more