The US Olympic basketball team have been going through their paces this week in training as they get ready to leave for Tokyo prior to the Olympics starting on the 24th of July. Several of the NBA's biggest names will be competing for their nation, including two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant.
Originally, Team USA's basketball roster was composed of amateur players who dominated the Games before European teams became stronger and FIBA allowed NBA pros to compete. Since the 'Dream Team' in 1992, they have been utterly dominant and will be seeking to bring home gold once again this summer. In this article, we will examine how the roster is chosen and who was brought in to compete.
Kevin Durant headlines US Olympic Basketball team set to compete in Tokyo this summer
The original roster for the US Olympic basketball team had 57 players in it, who were announced during the NBA's All-Star break. Some have since pulled out due to injuries, such as James Harden, who was selected to go but struggled with hamstring issues in the playoffs for the Brooklyn Nets.
Since March, the team has been wittled down to just twelve players, put together by the managing director, Jerry Colangelo. Instead of an offseason training camp in which players would normally compete for a chance to play for the US Olympic basketball team, Team USA circulated invitations for those chosen. After this process, the player selections still have to be verified by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.
The twelve chosen have since practiced together and will be in the training camp from July 6th-18th. They have played scrimmages against a USA Select team headlined by Rookie of the Year candidate Anthony Edwards and Miami Heat marksman Tyler Herro. The US Olympic basketball team will soon partake in exhibition matches, starting on the 10th of July.
Competing in Tokyo will be a collection of All-Star talent including Khris Middleton and Devin Booker, both of whom are competing in the NBA Finals at the moment and will join the team later in the month. In the backcourt, the US won't be shy of scoring talent, with two of the hottest shooters in the league in Damian Lillard and Zach LaVine.
One controversial decision for the US Olympic basketball team came in their frontcourt selections whereby they have elected to go with just one certified center in Bam Adebayo.
There were also some raised eyebrows at the inclusion of Cavs forward Kevin Love, who has struggled with injuries in the past few years, resultantly affecting his form. Nevertheless, Love offers a lot of international experience to this roster and can be utilized as a small-ball center along with Kevin Durant in the frontcourt.
The US Olympic basketball team will be in search of their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal and will be strong favorites to do so. Since 1992, they have lost just three times at the tournament.