After 7th Place Finish, Stars Poised to Lead USA Back to the Top in 2020
The FIBA World Cup was an utter embarrassment.
It was disappointing. It was disheartening.
“There has not been any disappointment around USA Basketball in a while,” said Jerry Colangelo, the head executive of Team USA. “This will bother me until the 2020 Olympics.”
Despite a seventh place finish this past September at the World Cup, USA’s long withstanding dominance kept them a top the international rankings. That should not take anything away from what many countries have been able to accomplish this past month.
The game of basketball is growing worldwide at a rapid pace.
The growth is so quick that if USA Basketball takes its historic international portfolio for granted, it won’t take long before the likes of countries such as Spain, Argentina, France, Serbia, and Greece to oust USA from the number one spot in the world rankings. Yet, when the U.S. boast their A-squad, no matter what their rivals assemble, USA is just about unbeatable and they proved exactly that when they routed Serbia in the gold medal game of the 2016 Olympics by 30 points.
Unlike the World Cup, the Olympics conclude in early in August, granting players over a month of recovery time prior to the start of training camp. The timing will be much better and with that, we should expect a hungry American team not only looking for redemption, but eying at defending their Olympic gold medal crown.
What this past tournament went to show was that there are only two near-locks for the 2020 American roster.
Kemba Walker was Team USA’s leading scorer and Donovan Mitchell who put together a Herculean effort to single-handedly kept the Americans in the game against France. Marcus Smart received plenty praise from Colangelo, but due to the Boston Celtic guard’s limitations on the offensive end, his 2020 bid is murky.
So assuming that Walker and Mitchell are the only two players guaranteed spots for the 2020 Olympics, let’s take a look at who could fill out the remainder of the roster, taking into account all of the players who made verbal commitments to suit up for Team USA in Tokyo next Summer.
Presenting the 2020 USA Olympic roster:
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
On the Bubble: Kyle Lowry (TOR), DeMar DeRozan (SAS), Marcus Smart (BOS), Khris Middleton (MIL), Jayson Tatum (BOS)