This was the roster that was initially put together for Team USA’s training camp
Well right off the bat we can cross off 5 guys who you could argue were some of the best five of the entire group. Now guys like Tatum/Mitchell/Turner/Kuzma have a real shot at actually making the roster which is pretty cool as they’re some of the next wave of young talent in the league. You look at who is left and only Lowry/Love/Dame/Millsap/Kemba/Drummond are players with multiple all star game appearances. There currently are only two All NBA players on this roster. A team that still has talent, but this certainly isn’t the best of the best that we’ve seen Team USA throw out there. Camp opens in a few weeks and the roster has to get down to 12 before the FIBA World Cup begins so there’s still time for guys to be added. The US has won the last two gold medals in this event, in 2010 over Turkey and then an absolute blowout in 2014 over Serbia. Their last loss came in 2006 against Greece which you may remember spawned the Redeem Team in the 2008 Olympics.
I get it, making this commitment is a 3 week ordeal that takes you pretty much right until training camp. I understand guys with HUGE amounts of pressure on them for next season like Harden/AD not wanting to play and instead spend that time getting ready for the upcoming season. Chances are no matter who Team USA is made up of they’ll be the favorites, but the roster is going to look really really strange. Compared to previous years, the talent level is going to be nowhere close. Maybe some guys like Aaron Gordon, Trae Young and John Collins might get the nod, but there’s no denying the US is going to enter this tournament with way less firepower than we’re used to.
Unfortunately, with the whole “load management” thing now taking over the NBA, I feel like this is going to become the norm. Again the US is still a dominant force even with our lower tiered players, but the days of the best of the best in the NBA suiting up for Team USA are probably numbered.