14 Jan

SA Basketball will reportedly announce large Paris 2024 Olympics player pool — here are 50 names to consider

In advance of the 2024 Olympics, USA Basketball will announce a list of 35-40 players who could make Team USA’s 12-man roster, according to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon. Veteran stars like LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have all pledged to participate, and reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, who became a United States citizen in 2022, committed to Team USA in October.

The “master list” is expected to include those headliners, plus some players from the 2023 FIBA World Cup team (i.e. Mikal Bridges, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton), and other stars and players with national team experience. USA Basketball will reach out to the players this month, but has not yet formally offered anyone a spot, according to The Athletic, citing Bridges and numerous league sources.

By making the list public, USA Basketball will be deviating from its most recent approach. Leading up to the World Cup, it did not announce a player pool or hold any tryouts; it simply announced the roster in one shot last July. That way, nobody got cut from the team. With immense player interest this time, though, merely being included in the player pool will be a badge of honor.

From The Athletic:

Previously, USA managing director Grant Hill and coach Steve Kerr had suggested “player pools” would be discontinued; that, in the modern era, it was more effective for the American national team to send invites privately, rather than ask a larger group of players to try out. For instance, USA Basketball pieced together the World Cup roster without a pool, and it was widely expected the same process would be followed for the Olympics. Women’s basketball, however, will continue using the player-pool system for 2024.

But the interest in the 2024 Games is perhaps unprecedented, with young, upcoming stars like Bridges, Tyrese Haliburton and Anthony Edwards, as well as aging superstars with gold medals like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, all hoping to play for Team USA. Steph Curry, who has two World Cup golds but has never played in the Olympics, has said he wants to play. Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker, members of the Tokyo Games gold-medalist team, want to play. So does Joel Embiid, the reigning NBA MVP who has American and French passports and said he would play for the USA this summer.

Creating a pool, or master list, or larger group of “finalists” allows the USA staff to keep a larger number of talented, perhaps deserving players engaged rather than discouraged, after the public declarations of interest from the biggest American stars. It allows a more natural selection process, which is majorly tied to how the NBA playoffs unfold, and who is healthy or otherwise not worn out when their season is over.

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