USA Men’s basketball isn’t the only country losing star players to its FIBA national team.
Following in the footsteps of American born players such as Julius Randle (Knicks) and Anthony Davis (Lakers) – who both decided to withdraw from USA’s international competition this summer in order to focus on the upcoming NBA season – are former Kentucky guards of Canadian descent, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Thunder) and Jamal Murray (Nuggets).
The two promising young guards have both elected to forgo competing in the FIBA World Cup as members of the Candian National team.
Gilgeous-Alexander posted to Twitter that he would not be participating in order to prepare for his sophomore season while a sprained ankle is reportedly keeping Murray out.
— Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (@shaiglalex) August 5, 2019
Sprained ankle will keep Jamal Murray out of entire summer with Canada Basketball. Will not travel to either Australia or China.
— Doug Smith: Raptors (@SmithRaps) August 5, 2019
The USA might have experienced some significant hits in its overall talent level with the type of All-Stars that have dropped out, but they still sport the most talented roster in the world despite players such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, etc., staying at home. But no team has seen a more dramatic drop in production than Canada.
No SGA. No Murray. No RJ Barrett. No Andrew Wiggins. No Tristan Thompson. No Trey Lyles. No Dwight Powell. No Dillon Brooks. No Brandon Clarke.
Canada will still have a competitive roster led by NBA players such as Cory Joseph, Kelly Olynyk, and Khem Birch, but they went from a team that could make a surprise run to a team that would be a surprise to advance out of the group stage. I will say this, however, Kyle Wiltjer‘s minutes just shot through the roof.