Team USA Recap
It was only five years ago that the United States dominated the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. The Americans went 5-0 in group play and won every game by at least 21 points. In the final round (the single-elimination tournament) the U.S. won all four of its games by 23 or more points. The United States won the tournament final over Serbia, 129-92.
That American team had players such as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins.
The 2019 U.S. team roster will look drastically different in comparison to the 2014 roster especially when it comes to big names and star power.
The initial player pool that was announced back on June 10 has undergone some serious changes as more than 10 players have withdrawn their names from consideration. Due to so many players opting to prepare for this years upcoming NBA season, Team USA has had to dig deep to find possible replacements.
As of July 28, Team USA has received the commitment of 17 players along with another 13 players committed to being a part of the Team USA Select team. The roster will eventually be trimmed down to 12 players by head coach Gregg Popovich and his staff. That roster will be announced before the start of the FIBA World Cup.
Team USA Roster
Here is the final roster that will represent the U.S. at the FIBA World Cup.
Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics: Walker is coming off of his best season yet as the former Hornet was named to the All-NBA Third team while also being named to his third straight All-Star game. Walker also averaged career-high numbers this season in points per game and rebounds per game. Walker should not only be considered a lock for Team USA but he should also be viewed as a likely starter.
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics: Brown saw his numbers slightly dip this season as a result of his playtime going down. The 22-year-old continues to show promise and could see his role expand this season as Boston deals with the loss of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford. Brown was a late add due to so many players declining their invitation.
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz: Mitchell has only been in the league for two seasons but he’s already made a big impact. He’s become the go-to-guy for the Utah Jazz and has led the team in scoring in both of his first two seasons. Mitchell improved his scoring, rebounding and assists numbers from his first season while maintaining or improving his shooting percentage from the previous season. Mitchell should be a Team USA roster lock.
Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets: Plumlee was a late addition to the training camp roster but he does have a significant advantage over other players due to the fact that he was a participant on the 2014 U.S. team that won gold. With so many names declining invites, his experience could be an important factor come roster decision time.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics: Smart is another player who was a late addition to the Team USA roster but given that he is likely the best defender among the guards he should have a great chance at making the roster. Smart was named to the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Select teams.
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings: Barnes was named to the roster from day one and he does have experience playing for Team USA. Barnes played for the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics as well as being apart of the Select Team in 2014. Barnes will likely be on the team’s final roster.
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks: Lopez is one of the more interesting names as Team USA could certainly use a center who is coming off a season in which he shot over 36 percent from three.
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks: Middleton is arguably one of the best players on the team and he’s coming off of his first All-Star season. Middleton should be viewed as a lock.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics: Tatum is one of four Boston Celtics on the Team USA training camp roster and he is also one of the youngest players on the team. Tatum is only 21-years-old and has played for the U.S. U17 and U19 teams, both times winning gold.
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers: Turner is another intriguing name on the Team USA roster as the four-year veteran has already established himself as a great defender. This past season Turner shot almost 39 percent from three.
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets: Harris was promoted from the Select team to the training camp roster after the first week of training camp.
Derrick White, San Antonio Spurs: White was promoted from the Select team after the first scrimmage.
Team USA’s FIBA World Cup Schedule
The U.S. team will play an exhibition game vs Spain on August 16. After that, the U.S. team will play exhibitions vs Australia and Canada with the matchups vs Australia taking place on August 22 and 24. The exhibition vs Canada is scheduled for August 26.
The FIBA World Cup runs from August 31 to September 15. The U.S. plays the Czech Republic on September 1, Turkey on September 3, and Japan on September 5.