USA Basketball announced on Monday the player pool from which its Tokyo Olympics entrant will be selected. Many of the same names were on the 2019 FIBA World Cup national team minicamp roster, but a mass withdrawal left the U.S. scrambling to field a competitive roster. The Americans failed to medal for the first time since 2002. It remains to be seen whether stars will fill the roster in Tokyo.
“All of the finalists are exceptionally gifted athletes who offer us amazing versatility and depth,” USA Basketball men’s national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said in the press release, “and the group of finalists features a range of players from those who are very experienced and accomplished in international basketball to players who will be future international stars.
“Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season, we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”
The Associated Press surveyed many of the NBA’s biggest names prior to the season, and all expressed interest in competing for a gold medal this summer. Curry said in November that he “absolutely” intends to play in Tokyo, despite the hand injury that has kept him out for much of this NBA season. Most players were closer aligned to LeBron’s status, leaving open the “possibility.”
Should LeBron participate in the Olympics, he would tie Carmelo Anthony’s record of four Olympic appearances on the men’s national team. LeBron won gold in 2008 and 2012 and bronze in 2004. Durant and Chris Paul would be only the fourth and fifth players to compete in three Olympics.
2020 U.S. Olympic men’s national basketball team finalists
The full player pool:
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Mike Conley, Utah Jazz
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Montrezl Harrell, L.A. Clippers
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics
Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
Kawhi Leonard, L.A. Clippers
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
JaVale McGee, Los Angeles Lakers
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder
Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs
Every 2020 NBA All-Star eligible to compete for Team USA made the cut, except for one: Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, who issued a congratulatory tweet for the 44 players on the list.
Congrats to these 44 Players, and to the 12 that make the Roster....🇺🇸 https://t.co/rMvEDK6FV6— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) February 10, 2020
What comes next for Team USA?
The 2020 men’s national team will be coached by Gregg Popovich and his staff of assistants Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce and Jay Wright. A longtime assistant under former USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who restored the program to its glory, Popovich assumed the helm for 2017-20.
“International basketball has improved so much from the days of the Dream Team,” Popovich said in the press release, tempering expectations after a World Cup shortfall. “The Olympics in 2020 will be a true competition, and there are many teams that will have a legitimate shot at capturing gold.”
The player pool includes nine members of the gold medal-winning 2016 U.S. Olympic team and all 12 members of the 2019 FIBA World Cup roster. Every finalist has some national team experience.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers lead the way among NBA teams with five finalists each. The Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, L.A. Clippers and San Antonio Spurs all feature three invitees. In total, 21 of the NBA’s 30 teams are represented by at least one player.
The training schedule will be announced later this year. The Olympics will be held in Tokyo from July 24 to Aug. 9. The U.S. will be among 12 countries competing for gold, along with Argentina, Australia, France, Iran, Japan, Nigeria and FIBA World Cup champion Spain. The final four teams will be determined in a series of four qualifying tournaments held across the globe from June 23-28.
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