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Examining The 2024 Team USA Basketball Roster (Part 1)

An era of Team USA basketball is coming to a close and this will likely be the last time we see NBA legends LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant on the same court together. Team USA is bringing a star-studded roster to Paris with the goal of bringing the gold back home where it belongs. 12 roster spots have been filled by NBA All-Stars, SEVEN of which have prior experience playing for Team USA.


Even compared to recent iterations of the team who brought home the gold in 2021 and 2016, this summer’s roster features some of the best talent we have seen together. There are many possible lineup choices for head coach Steve Kerr but he has stressed the importance of having as many two-way players out on the court as possible.


"My staff and I have talked about it quite a bit, it’s a good problem to have, but I think I’m guessing that all 12 players on this roster will be in the Hall of Fame someday," said Kerr. "So how do you pick five out of 12? The idea is you find combinations that click and you find two-way lineups that can be effective at both ends. So our big job in Las Vegas is to find five-man combinations that fit and to just ask all 12 guys to fully commit to the goal of winning a gold medal no matter what it looks like, no matter who’s playing.”


Here’s a look at what the starting lineup might look like when Team USA has their first exhibition game against Canada on Wednesday night,


LeBron James

Prior Team USA Experience - Gold Medals: 2012, 2008, 2007 FIBA Americas Championship - Bronze Medals: 2006 FIBA World Championship, 2004

 

Even despite his age and nearly two-and-a-half-decade-long tenure in the NBA, James is still a physical force of nature to be reckoned with. He may not have the burst or explosiveness he did five years ago, or the stamina that he had ten years ago, but LeBron is still more than capable of taking over stretches of games with the pressure he puts on the basket with his drives and his playmaking.


Put a small defender on him and LeBron immediately takes him to the block and forces the double. There likely isn’t a defensive scheme that he hasn’t seen throughout his career, and he will make sure this squad is in the position it needs to be to bring home the gold. The ability to run the offense through James as point-forward would also free up Curry to play off-ball and roam as a shooter, something Curry's coach Steve Kerr has surely thought of.


Stephen Curry

Prior Team USA Experience: 2010 & 2014 FIBA World Cup gold medalist

 

The 15-year NBA veteran and 2x league MVP will be making his first Olympic run of his career in Paris. Having played with a less-than-ideal roster his last couple of seasons for the Warriors since their championship in 2022, Steph Curry is ready to go all the way with Team USA. Golden State hasn’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs the last two years so Curry should have fresh legs and be locked and loaded for the run in Paris this summer.


After years of going head to head in the Finals, the two players who defined the 2010s in the NBA LeBron and Steph will get to showcase their brilliance together. The two have gotten closer as friends since their four-straight Finals matchups and clearly have great respect for one another. The only time we’ve seen these two icons share the same floor has been at NBA all-star games, so this next month and a half will be must-watch TV for basketball fanatics to see two legends of the game sharing the court.


Kevin Durant

Prior Team USA Experience - Gold Medals: 2012, 2016, 2020

 

Kevin Durant is one of the purest hoopers the sport has ever seen and simply plays for the love of the game at this stage of his career. A 16-year NBA veteran, 2x champion, 2x Finals MVP, and a regular season MVP, KD has accomplished pretty much every major milestone there is on a basketball court. When asked why he decided to play for Team USA once again this summer, it really was a simple answer for him.

 

“When I come here you get to play with the best players in the world, you get to vibe with the best players in a team setting, you get to learn from them every single day, and you get the best coaches in the world," Durant said on the TODAY Show. "We're hanging out for a month and a half in the summertime, and it's not incentive, we don't get money for it, we don't get All-Star nominations for it, nothing but just a gold medal. That's the purest form of basketball, so, that's the reason why I've been coming back every time."



Durant is Team USA's all-time leading scorer in the Olympics and is the prototypical two-way player that Steve Kerr craves for Olympic play. He is simply a bucket-getter on offense and a lanky, versatile defender who doesn't have any weaknesses on that end of the floor either. A low-maintenance superstar who just wants to hoop with his teammates in pursuit of the ultimate goal, Durant's presence will be invaluable to this team.

 

Jayson Tatum

Prior Team USA Experience: 2020 Olympic Gold (Tokyo),

 

Jayson Tatum is set to compete in his second Olympics after capturing his first NBA championship for the Celtics in June. In the 2021 gold medal run in Tokyo, Tatum alongside Kevin Durant was one of the main focal points on offense for Team USA. His defense, shooting, and playmaking are consistent problems for teams facing him. At 26 years old, Tatum is just entering his prime as an established star in the league and still getting better.


When the days of Durant and LeBron are in the rearview for Team USA, Tatum could be the one holding it down for years to come. Standing at 6’8”, he will punish smaller defenders in the post unless help is sent his way. He is agile and has a good enough handle on the ball that allows him to blow by bigger defenders and get to the rim when a big man is on him. Tatum will feast off one-on-ones after getting doubled pretty consistently for most of the NBA playoffs, and will likely be one of the team's most consistent sources of offense.

 

Joel Embiid

Prior Team USA Experience: None

 

The 30-year-old former NBA MVP Joel Embiid will be making his Team USA debut this summer as he hopes to capture his first gold medal. Embiid, a two-way monster, should fit in seamlessly with this roster despite not having played in a setting quite like this in his career. Just imagine trying to score against this Team USA roster, where even if you’re lucky enough to get by all-world defenders in Jrue Holiday and Kawhi Leonard on the perimeter, there is a 7-foot-tall center in Embiid looking to swat your shot away from the rim.


Between the defense, three-point shooting, and post-scoring, Embiid will surely find a way to help his team reach their ultimate goal this summer. He and Bam Adebayo will be a formidable frontcourt for other teams to battle against underneath the basket.


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