Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker have emerged as leaders for Team USA

While not officially captains, Smart and Walker will be leaned on by coach Gregg Popovich.

United States' Kemba Walker, left, talks to  coach Gregg Popovich during the first half of the team's exhibition basketball game against Spain on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Kemba Walker talks to Gregg Popovich during the first half of the team's exhibition basketball game against Spain. –(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Thursday, the Associated Press reported via ESPN that Team USA had named its captains for the upcoming FIBA World Cup. The captains included two Boston Celtics players, Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart, as well as Utah’s Donovan Mitchell. 

Friday, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that Team USA had actually not named the team captains. Stein reports that Popovich was just speaking about how he relied on the leadership of the players in question. 

 

Team USA beat Team Australia 102-86  in an exhibition game in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday. Walker finished with a team high 23 points, while Mitchell added an additional 13. Smart did not play as he is recovering from a calf injury suffered during Team USA training camp earlier this month. Celtics forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum both finished with 11 points. 

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Team USA will play their first game of the FIBA World Cup on Sunday, Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic.