Team USA pool signals that America wants to get back to its winning ways
The 2019 FIBA World Basketball Cup is one that the United States would like to forget.
After seeing multiple stars decline to represent the country and being forced to take a roster of inexperienced players to China, Team USA finished in seventh place, losing two games.
With that said, this coming summer, it appears reinforcements are on the way.
Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson — they're all on the @usabasketball 44-man preliminary roster for the Tokyo Olympics just officially announced … pic.twitter.com/Y6RzKfJer4
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 10, 2020
The 44-man preliminary roster was announced and it features a number of players who have won gold in the Olympics before, as well as a host of young, rising stars who could carry the USA torch for the foreseeable future.
Of the 44 players, 19 of them have already won a combined 31 gold medals for the United States in Olympic play and/or FIBA World Cup games.
The good news for USA basketball is that a number of stars have already come out and expressed their commitment to play in this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 18, 2019
Even LeBron James has hinted at wanting to be apart of the 12-man Olympic roster.
Lakers’ LeBron James on whether he will play for USA Basketball at 2020 Tokyo Olympics: “[I’ll weigh] how my body is feeling… I’m hoping to make a long playoff run. Then where my mind is and where my family’s head is. There’s a lot of factors but my name is in the hat.” pic.twitter.com/DfBB21Z4Hp
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 11, 2020
Of the 16 American players that were named to the All-Star game this year, 15 of them appear in the 44-man pool.
The lone snub is second-year point guard Trae Young.
— The Association on FOX (@TheAssociation) February 10, 2020
And he didn’t appear to be particularly thrilled about being left out.
Congrats to these 44 Players, and to the 12 that make the Roster….🇺🇸 https://t.co/rMvEDK6FV6
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) February 10, 2020
Being the lone American All-Star not named to the 44 finalists is a glaring omission, especially when Young is averaging 29.7 points and 9.1 assists in only his second season in the NBA.
"Both Zion and Trae should've been invited. As far as who got the bigger snub, without question it's Trae Young. Zion's played 8 NBA games and got hurt. This dude Trae is ballin." — @Chris_Broussard pic.twitter.com/a0p1Hbr2hn
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 11, 2020
Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce spoke on Young not making the pool, suggesting that it isn’t a slight against Trae, it just isn’t his time yet.
"You have to understand when it’s your time, when it's your opportunity."
I asked Hawks coach (and Team USA assistant coach) Lloyd Pierce if it was hard to see Trae Young not named a finalist for the roster: pic.twitter.com/nEkiSbvGQq
— Sarah K. Spencer (@sarah_k_spence) February 10, 2020
Even without Young, the United States has the best players in the world at its disposal for this summer’s Olympics, meaning, don’t bet on a repeat of the 2019 FIBA World Basketball Cup.
Expect a repeat of USA Basketball’s dominance from 2008-2016.
The final 12-man roster will be announced in June.