Due to a shortened NBA season, many players had doubts about playing in the Olympics. In a season full of injuries, some players will decide to prioritize their health this summer. Although there will be plenty of stars missing from the roster, Team U.S.A. looks better than expected. Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard headline a roster that looks more than capable of winning Gold in Tokyo.
Official Olympic Roster:
Gregg Popovich (Head Coach)
The Lone Team U.S.A. Veteran
Despite playing in a shortened season coming off an Achilles injury, Durant will be Team U.S.A’s leader. He is the only returning player from the 2016 Olympic team. He’ll be looking to tie Carmelo Anthony as the only two players to win three Olympic Gold Medals. Durant will provide elite scoring and playmaking along with defensive versatility.
Plenty of First Time Olympians
The rest of the squad will consist of 11 players that will participate in their first Olympics. Lillard will run the point and will provide crazy offense. There will be no shortage of dynamic wing scorers. Beal, LaVine, and Tatum will highlight Team U.S.A’s array of wing players. Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo will provide the team with extra ball handling and defensive flexibility.
Grant will replace James Harden, who decided to skip this year’s Olympics to rehab his hamstring. Grant will be a unique player to watch; it will be interesting to see how he will produce in his time on the floor. One surprise member of the squad is Love. He’ll likely come off the bench but he will stretch the floor and will also be a great matchup for some of the perimeter-oriented European big men.
Other Members That are Still Playing
There are a few other first-time Olympians to close out the roster, but they are still pursuing an NBA championship. Devin Booker is currently leading the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. He’ll provide plenty of scoring and playmaking for Team U.S.A. Middleton and Holiday are looking to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Finals. Middleton will be yet another superb wing scorer for the squad. Holiday will contribute some offense but more than likely he will be used for defensive purposes due to the team’s excess of scoring guards.
The last possible date for the NBA Finals is July 22nd. Olympic Men’s basketball is set to run from July 25th until August 7th. If Phoenix and Milwaukee both make it to the Finals, and the series goes seven games, these players would only have a few days to prepare. If that is the case, it will be an interesting situation to monitor.
Expectations for Team U.S.A.
Team U.S.A has won all but one Gold Medal since the debut of the Dream Team in 1992. The only loss came in 2004 to an Argentina team led by Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola.
Coach Gregg Popovich will be making his Olympic debut after taking over for Mike Krzyzewski. In 2019 he coached in the World Cup, and Team U.S.A. lost in the quarterfinals. This time around, he will be looking for redemption and Team U.S.A. should expect nothing less than a Gold Medal.
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