Home Sports USA Basketball emphasizes defense, experience on roster for Paris Olympics

USA Basketball emphasizes defense, experience on roster for Paris Olympics

by admin

USA Basketball’s latest “Dream Team” is loaded with star power, experience and a renewed emphasis on size and defense.

With this summer’s Paris Olympics fast approaching, USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill announced Wednesday the program’s 12-player roster for the Games: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard.

“We have a very exciting, very talented and very experienced roster,” Hill said. “We’re just grateful we had so many who were willing to be a part of this. We had a great pool of candidates. It was not easy by any stretch of the imagination. We’re beyond thrilled we’ve assembled this roster of 12. We look forward to the journey and the task at hand, with the goal of bringing gold back from the Olympics.”

The roster includes plenty of past gold medalists and no major surprises. James, Durant and Curry telegraphed their interest in playing together in October, and Hill selected just two newcomers: Embiid, who opted to play for the United States rather than France or Cameroon, and Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP who has managed recurring offseason health concerns during his prime.

USA Basketball drew heavily from the team it sent to the Tokyo Olympics, which won gold in 2021, and its most recent FIBA World Cup team, which finished fourth in September. Durant, Tatum, Adebayo, Booker and Holiday played in Tokyo; Edwards and Haliburton emerged as standouts during the World Cup run. James will compete for USA Basketball for the first time since winning his second Olympic gold medal in 2012, and Curry, a two-time gold medalist in the FIBA world championships, will pursue his first Olympic gold.

For Hill, who succeeded Jerry Colangelo as managing director following the Tokyo Olympics, the program’s disappointing World Cup showing was proof he needed a bigger and more physical team to match up more effectively with top international competition. The U.S. men will face Serbia, which could be led by Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, in the competition’s opening round.

“The FIBA game is a different game than the NBA game,” Hill said. “You want players whose games translate on that stage. Defense, experience, a collective understanding of how to win — it’s a puzzle. You want talented individuals, and you want players who can blend, fit and play certain roles you need. Defense was certainly a priority. Having guys who are capable of locking down, guarding multiple sets within a possession, an emotional maturity, and then just blending personalities. … Rebounding is something we struggled with [in the World Cup].”

Davis and Embiid, who is coming off February knee surgery, give the team a much longer and more imposing front line than it sported at the World Cup. Holiday and Leonard, who missed the final eight games of the regular season with knee soreness, should provide stout perimeter defense to complement a deep collection of scorers.

If Embiid, Leonard or another player is unable to play because of health concerns, Hill said the team has a “contingency plan at every position” that he declined to reveal. The program chose to announce its 12-man roster before the NBA playoffs so that the decisions weren’t hanging over the players and the group could begin an extended team-building process in the run-up to Paris.

The 12-man team was selected from a pool of 41 candidates that was announced in January. Jimmy Butler, Paul George, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Chris Paul were among the notable candidates who didn’t make the final cut. Also not selected: Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving, both of whom have dealt with major suspensions in recent years.

Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jaren Jackson Jr. led the list of rising stars who were squeezed off the veteran-dominated team. Ja Morant, who is rehabilitating a season-ending shoulder injury, and Zion Williamson weren’t included in the initial player pool.

“Sometimes you can have a collection of the best, but it’s most important to have the best fit,” Hill said. “We were very thoughtful and intentional about that.”

The Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr will coach the Americans in Paris after guiding the World Cup team last summer. Kerr has indicated he will step down after the Olympics. His staff in Paris will include Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra, Los Angeles Clippers Coach Tyronn Lue and Gonzaga Coach Mark Few. The Americans won Olympic gold under Mike Krzyzewski in 2008, 2012 and 2016 and under Gregg Popovich in 2021.

The United States is one of eight teams that have qualified for the Olympic tournament’s 12-team field, and the Americans should enter as heavy favorites. Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Serbia and South Sudan also have secured spots in Paris. The United States will be joined by Serbia, South Sudan and a to-be-determined qualifier in Group C of the tournament’s opening round.

You may also like

CA News 247 is your one-stop website for the latest US and California news and updates, follow us now to get the news that maters.

About Links

Sections

Newsletter

Subscribe my Newsletter for new blog posts, tips & new photos. Let's stay updated!

Laest News

Post Politics Now: House speaker vote enters 4th day as McCarthy tries to sell a deal Remembering TCU’s last national title, way back in 1939 US Open champ Ash Barty announces she’s pregnant, a year after retirement Supporters raise millions to rebrand Jan. 6 rioters as ‘patriots’

Copyright © 2023 – CA News 247. All Right Reserved.

Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy