Head coach Gregg Popovich couldn't ask for more from Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup despite a record worst seventh-place finish.
After defeating Poland 87-74 Saturday to secure the ranking, Popovich scolded the critics.
"Some people want to play the blame game, there's no blame to be placed anywhere," Popovich said, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. "They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn't win a gold medal? That's a ridiculous attitude. It's immature, it's arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn't respect all the other teams in the world and doesn't respect that these guys did the best they could."
Donovan Mitchell had a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists in the win, while Derrick White - who started for Kemba Walker after the Boston Celtics guard was ruled out due to a neck issue - filled in with 12 points, seven assists, and two steals. The U.S., which had never finished lower than sixth in 17 trips to the tournament, was also without Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum in the win.
Team USA was perfect during the group stages, racking up wins against the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Japan in the first round. It followed that up with convincing second-round victories against Greece and Brazil to set up a quarterfinal tilt against France.
However, Les Bleus, led by Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Orlando Magic swingman Evan Fournier, proved too much for the Americans and banished them to the classification games, where another disappointing loss to Serbia followed.
After that defeat, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said he would remember the several NBA stars who walked back on their commitments to Team USA this summer, suggesting it may factor into his roster invitations for the Olympic Games next year.
Popovich cautioned it's too early to talk about Tokyo 2020, though.
"This isn't really the time to even think about that," he said. "It's 10 months away."