The Olympic basketball roster is now set and it’s an interesting group. Unlike Gregg Popovich’s first outing as US coach, there’s much more emphasis on versatility and athleticism, which was basically the formula that Mike Krzyzewski took from Duke to USA Basketball. In fairness to Popovich, he didn’t necessarily get the best players for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup but 7th place was truly awful for the US.
Here’s who he’ll go into battle with this time:
- Zach LaVine
- Jerami Grant
- Kevin Durant
- Draymond Green
- Damian Lillard
- Bradley Beal
- Bam Adebayo
- Jayson Tatum
- Kevin Love
- Khris Middleton
- Jrue Holiday
- Devin Booker
The least athletic player on the team is probably Kevin Love and Love is still a solid rebounder and a brilliant outlet passer, plus he has significant international experience. He’ll be helpful even if his court time is minimal.
Having guys who are outstanding defenders - Holiday, Green and Adebayo above all - is also huge. The other great teams like Spain, Brazil, Lithuania, Argentina and France, can all outscore you. But none of them have proven yet that they can run and defend like the US did for the last three Olympic games.
And this team is going to have no problems with offense. Just look: Durant, Lillard, Beal, Tatum, Booker and Middleton can all go on big runs and the other guys aren’t slouches.
We’d still have loved to see Zion Williamson on this team because his combination of size, quickness and IQ for the game would have allowed him to dominate in Tokyo.
Even so, it looks like a good group. So...USA! USA! USA!