Team USA Basketball is 1-2 so far in exhibition games ahead of the Olympics. Their two losses match the total amount of losses Team USA had in exhibition games from 1992 until this summer.
So, why is the team struggling?
Some of it has to do with the lack of rest some players had between the end of the NBA season and the start of international play. Some has to do with the team barely practicing together before embarking in games. Some has to do with poor defensive efforts. But another very big factor has been the lack of “superstar calls” the NBA players are used to receiving.
In a story published on Yahoo, Chris B. Haynes stated that multiple players like Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum were staring down officials after not getting the star treatment to which they are accustomed.
Here is an example of Damian Lillard not getting a foul call he was expecting:
These guys are STRUGGLING without NBA refs lol pic.twitter.com/xK6hssOffC
— Cranjis McBasketball (@Tim_NBA) July 13, 2021
And here was the same for Kevin Love:
more people tune into games when the game is officiated like this
— Wardell (@ChefSZN_) July 13, 2021
One could very easily argue that it’s a much better quality game to not have players get those calls. That’s part of what the NBA is actually planning to address. It’s a smart move. And the NBA players better make an adjustment.