Donovan Mitchell isn’t putting too much stock into Team USA’s 98-94 loss in Saturday’s FIBA World Cup exhibition against Australia.
Although Australia snapped the U.S.’s 78-game winning streak in international play, Mitchell says his team’s defeat is insignificant in the grand scheme of things.
“To be honest, this game doesn’t mean anything,” Mitchell told The Athletic after the loss.
“Obviously it hurts to lose, but I look at this and we look at this as more of a learning experience as opposed to we just lost,” Mitchell said. “That’s the mindset. If you think of this as a loss, you start to get carried away with all that.
“We’re focused on the film. … We’re going to watch it on the plane and we’re going to be ready for Canada. That’s the best thing. You want to win every game, but you learn a lot in losses too.”
The 22-year-old Jazz guard has been pegged by many to have a breakout summer for Team USA as he heads into his third NBA season.
He’s averaging 12.7 points through three exhibition games but is shooting just slightly less than 43% from the field as one of coach Gregg Popovich’s signature pieces on this year’s squad. Popovich knows there’s room for improvement as well.
“The loss means that we need to play better,” Popovich said. “It’s a measure of who you are. Nobody wins forever. This is a group of guys who’s worked very hard to get to know each other and get to know a system. And whatever comes, we can handle. Our job is to try to get better every day.”
Team USA entered this year’s FIBA World Cup as the top-ranked team, despite the fact stars like James Harden, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and others elected not to play this summer.
It’ll face off against Canada on Aug. 26.