Most national basketball teams would be happy to have an NBA player on their roster. Team USA has the opposite problem, a team with 12 American players on their roster. Team USA Basketball is trying to create a bubble for the American, Spanish and Australian teams to train and play practice games against each other. This is in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
Below are the best offerings that can be assembled for red, white and blue. These players were selected from the 44 finalists for the Olympic squad, although there are reports that the current pool includes at least 60 players. The main acquisitions are Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans and Trey Young, playmaker with the Atlanta Hawks.
12. Miles Turner, PF/C, Indiana Pacers.
People have been waiting for Turner to take the plunge, and this year could finally be the year of success. Turner is a good rim protector and has a decent touch on the outside. Many of the top players in the other participating countries are great players like Frenchman Rudy Gobert and Spaniard Marc Gasol. So a strong presence under the basket is important for the U.S. team.
Bam Adebayo, PF/C, Miami Heat
As basketball becomes less positional, versatility is essential. Adebayo brings ruggedness to the interior and a mystery man’s game. This team doesn’t need playmakers, but it helps to have a big man who can easily find cutters and shooters in the open court. Adebayo also provides the great energy that was his calling card in college.
10th Anthony Davis, PF/C, Los Angeles Lakers.
The tall brown man can score from anywhere on the field and is especially devastating at the post. The combination of his instincts, athletic ability and size make him a gumption in defense. He can even pass comfortably to smaller players and make life difficult for them. Davis feels best in a four-man team.
9. Kevin Durant, SF/PF, Brooklyn Nets.
Durant is one of the top scorers in the NBA. He’s a 6-foot-2 shooter. He is a sharpshooter, and he has a good grip for a guy his size. Durant can score anywhere on the court and is an underrated defender. There have been times when Durant was used as a little five ball. In this role, he was a deterrent because he used his long arms to intercept shots.
8. LeBron James, SF/PF, Los Angeles Lakers.
At 36, LeBron seems to show no signs of slowing down. He is the most complete athlete to ever play the game. Filling in the stats is rife for him as an offensive lineman. He is a talented playmaker with a high IQ in basketball. Although he is the fastest, he can score from all corners of the court. When needed, he can be a threat defensively and show flashes of his version of the Miami Heat almost winning the Defensive Player of the Year award.
7 Kawhi Leonard, SF, Los Angeles Clippers
Basketball is becoming more international by the day, with talents coming from all over the world. To face these players, the team needs an intelligent, athletic and versatile goalie. That’s where Leonard comes in. The two-time defender of the year can block the opponent’s wings with his length and speed on the sideline. He has made significant strides in his attacking game and is an automatic from midfield.
6th Jason Tatum, SF/PF, Boston Celtics.
Tatum is an electric marker who gets better every year. He is now doubling his average points per game compared to his rookie season. He is comfortable shooting at all three levels. Tatum has the will to catch rebounds and play solid defense, especially down the stretch.
5. Stephen Curry, P.G., Warriors of the Golden State.
Curry is a sharpshooter who revolutionized the game. The double MVP has a high usage rate, but he can also work on the ball and pressure defenses when he throws from outside. He converted his quick clearing by shooting the ball to get flights.
4. Damian Lillard, P.G., Portland Trail Blazers.
You know what’s better than a defender who can shine on the outside and play for the team? Having two of them. Lillard has unlimited range and knows how to set up his teammates, especially in pick-and-rolls. He has one of the highest lineups in the league, but since he regularly plays with another dominant defender in the person of CJ McCollum, he should be able to adapt.
3. Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards.
Beal is currently the top scorer in the NBA. Although he is used to a heavy workload, he can adapt his game to other stars, as he did when he played with John Wall. Beal is a volume marker and hits his shots from outside. He is also an effective cutter.
2. James Harden, PG/SG, Brooklyn Nets.
Of the guards mentioned above, Harden’s game is probably the hardest to integrate into a star lineup. If his dedication to the Nets is any indication, he’s also willing to figuratively step back and involve his teammates in the game. Harden makes a lot of 3-point shots, but he can do them at a respectable clip. He adjusts well and prepares his teammates, especially the bigs, for easy baskets.
1st Malcolm Brogdon, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers.
It is the most controversial recording on this list. After all, Brogdon is not exactly a household name. But that’s the reason for his inclusion. Every team needs a “stickler,” someone willing to face the thankless side of the game. Brogdon is a wing-sized guard, with the length and strength to defend guards and even some forwards. Overall, he is an effective player and has had a 50-40-90 season, meaning he has hit at least 50% from the field, 40% from deep and 90% from the penalty line.
The U.S. team is in good hands with the kind of talent they have as they approach the Summer Olympics.