U.S. Defeats Poland at Basketball World Cup. But for 7th Place.

Yet Waczynski, in defeat, insisted that wouldn’t be necessary.

“He’s already Polish,” Waczynski said. “It’s obvious.”

The next steps for U.S.A. Basketball are less so.

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors told CNBC earlier this week that he intended to make himself available for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Stephen Curry, Green’s Golden State teammate, is also expected to volunteer his services, since Curry has yet to play in an Olympics.

“We’ve had a lot of indications about guys who want to play next summer,” said Jerry Colangelo, U.S.A.B.’s managing director. “But we had a lot of indications that many wanted to play this summer.”

James Harden, Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Kevin Love and Andre Drummond are among the stars who initially committed to play for Popovich before withdrawing. A number of reasons were cited, such as preparing for next season, but apathy about this particular competition compared to the Olympics undeniably was a factor.

Mitchell, considered one of the few favorites from the current squad to earn a spot on next summer’s 12-man roster for Tokyo, said the World Cup experience “was definitely worth it,” despite the heavy criticism he and his teammates have absorbed for the worst-ever tournament finish with N.B.A. players.

“Some of these guys who I might not have had a chance to know otherwise are now some of my closest friends,” Harris said.

Said Popovich: “It’s not written in stone that the United States is supposed to walk to a championship. That’s pretty old-school thinking.

“But I wish I could have gotten them closer. I feel badly about that, because they’re such great guys.”