Team USA: LeBron, Durant headline 44-man Olympic basketball pool
Headed by three-time Olympic medalist LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), and including nine members of the gold medalist 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, seven gold medalists from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and all 12 members of the USA’s 2019 FIBA World Cup Team, 44 athletes were announced by USA Basketball today as finalists for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team. The player selections were approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team roster will be announced later this year.
Featuring 29 players who have played for the USA in Olympic and/or FIBA World Cup competitions and who together have collected 31 Olympic or FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medals and four bronze medals, the 44 finalists for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team include: Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat); LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs); Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns); Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat); Mike Conley (Utah Jazz); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers); DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs); Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets); Paul George (L.A. Clippers); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Montrezl Harrell (L.A. Clippers); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers); Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics); Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers); Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans); Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets); LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); JaVale McGee (Los Angeles Lakers); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers); Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder); Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
The USA National Team coaching staff is led by San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, and serving as USA assistant coaches are Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright.
“The commitment, desire and excitement of all of our athletes to represent their country is genuine and remarkable. All of the finalists are exceptionally gifted athletes who offer us amazing versatility and depth, and the group of finalists features a range of players from those who are very experienced and accomplished in international basketball to players who will be future international stars.
“Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”
Five-time NBA champion and longtime San Antonio Spurs head coach Popovich was announced on Oct. 23, 2015, head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team for the 2017-20 quadrennium. Now in his 24th season as the Spurs head coach, Popovich also boasts of full resume of international coaching experience.
“I’m looking forward to coaching the U.S. Olympic Team, and I’m excited about the potential and possibilities this team has,” said USA mentor Popovich. “Anyone who follows international basketball knows there are many really good players from all around the world, and therefore there are many excellent national teams. International basketball has improved so much from the days of the Dream Team. The Olympics in 2020 will be a true competition, and there are many teams that will have a legitimate shot at capturing gold.”
James is a three-time Olympic medalist (2004 bronze and 2008 and 2012 gold) who is attempting to make a historic fourth U.S. Olympic men’s team. A fourth Olympic appearances would tie James with Carmelo Anthony for the most by any U.S. male basketball player. Durant (2012 and 2016) and Paul (2008 and 2012) are seeking to become three-time Olympians and join Anthony, James and David Robinson as the USA’s only three-time U.S. Olympic male basketball players.
Nine players from the gold medal winning 2016 U.S. Olympic team that went 8-0 in Rio remain in contention for the 2020 U.S. Olympic squad, including Barnes, Butler, DeRozan, Durant, George, Green, Irving, Lowry and Thompson. Davis, Durant, Harden, James, Love, Paul and Westbrook were members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team that compiled an unblemished record of 8-0 and captured gold in London, while Howard, James and Paul were gold medalists with the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Additionally, James earned a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
All 12 members of the USA’s 2019 World Cup Team are finalists and include Barnes, Brown, Joe Harris, Lopez, Middleton, Mitchell, Plumlee, Smart, Tatum, Turner, Walker and White. Eight members of the 2014 USA World Cup Team that finished 9-0 and captured gold in Spain are among the finalists including, including Curry, Davis, DeRozan, Drummond, Harden, World Cup MVP Irving, Plumlee and Thompson. Four finalists were members of the 2010 USA World Championship squad that went 9-0 and captured gold in Istanbul, Turkey: Curry, World Cup MVP Durant, Love and Westbrook; and Howard, James and Paul earned a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
The finalists represent 21 different NBA teams, with the Boston Celtics (Brown, Hayward, Smart, Tatum and Walker) and the Los Angeles Lakers (Davis, Howard, James, Kuzma and McGee) leading the way with five players each. The Brooklyn Nets (Durant, Joe Harris and Irving), Golden State Warriors (Curry, Green and Thompson), Indiana Pacers (Brogdon, Oladipo and Turner), L.A. Clippers (George, Harrell and Leonard) and the San Antonio Spurs (Aldridge, DeRozan and White) each feature three players. The Cleveland Cavaliers (Drummond and Love), Houston Rockets (Harden and Westbrook), Miami Heat (Adebayo and Butler), Milwaukee Bucks (Lopez and Middleton) and Utah Jazz (Conley and Mitchell) each have two players among the 44 finalists; and the Denver Nuggets (Plumlee), New Orleans Pelicans (Ingram), Oklahoma City Thunder (Paul), Philadelphia 76ers (Tobias Harris), Phoenix Suns (Booker), Portland Trail Blazers (Lillard), Sacramento Kings (Barnes), Toronto Raptors (Lowry) and the Washington Wizards (Beal) each are represented by one player.
All 44 finalists possess international or USA Basketball National Team experience with James leading the way with 68 games of international experience under his belt. He is followed by Paul (50), Durant (44), Curry (40), Howard (38), Thompson (38), Irving (33), Plumlee (31), Love (28), Westbrook (28), Tatum (26), Barnes (25), Davis (25), Harden (25), Drummond (25), Green (22), Smart (21), Lopez (19), Turner (19), Brown (18), Walker (18), Beal (16), DeRozan (16), White (15), Harrell (14), Butler (13), George (13), Joe Harris (13), Lowry (13), Middleton (13), Mitchell (13), Hayward (12), Conley (6), Brogdon (5), Kuzma (3), Lillard (3), Adebayo (1), Ingram (1), Leonard (1) and Oladipo (1). Additionally, Aldridge, Booker, Tobias Harris and McGee have participated in previous USA National Team training camps.
The USA National Team’s complete training schedule for 2020 will be announced at a later date.