COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Basketball’s depth is already getting tested, weeks before the FIBA World Cup even starts.
The Americans released their updated national team roster Thursday, adding six players and deleting eight who removed themselves from consideration over the past several weeks. It means 17 players – barring any more additions or subtractions, both of which remain possible – are expected to vie for the 12 spots on the team that the U.S. will take to China for the World Cup next month.
The Americans are the two-time defending World Cup champions.
“Since USA Basketball started the men’s national team program in 2006, we have understood the necessity of fluidity within the program and the importance of having a deep national team roster that features both young and veteran standout NBA players,” said Jerry Colangelo, the men’s national team managing director of USA Basketball.
Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell, Denver’s Mason Plumlee, New York’s Julius Randle and Chicago’s Thaddeus Young are the newest names on the roster. They’ll all head to Las Vegas for training camp – the first to be led by new USA coach Gregg Popovich – starting Aug. 5.
Also on the national roster: Boston’s Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Houston’s P.J. Tucker and Indiana’s Myles Turner.
Of the 17 current national team members, only five – Lowry, Walker, Drummond, Middleton and Lopez – have been NBA All-Stars.
Meanwhile, the list of recent team dropouts is loaded with star power. Portland’s Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, Houston’s James Harden and Eric Gordon, Washington’s Bradley Beal, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Denver’s Paul Millsap and Cleveland’s Kevin Love have all taken themselves out of the World Cup mix in recent weeks.
They’re not the only ones no longer under consideration. USA Basketball released a list of 35 candidates for the World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in April 2018, and 29 of those players won’t be playing this summer. LeBron James, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Jimmy Butler are among those who passed long ago on the chance to play in the World Cup. Many of the NBA players not playing World Cup are likely to reconsider next summer, provided the U.S. – as expected – qualifies for the Tokyo Olympics.
“We’re looking forward to exposing the selected players to FIBA World Cup competition and the incredible experience of representing their country,” Colangelo said.
USA Basketball also released the names of 13 players who will be on the select team that will play against the national-teamers in training camp, a list that includes four members of last season’s NBA All-Rookie team.
The select team players are Atlanta’s Trae Young and John Collins, Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris, Sacramento’s Marvin Bagley III and De’Aaron Fox, Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges, Dallas’ Jalen Brunson, Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton, Orlando’s Jonathan Isaac, New York’s Mitchell Robinson, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Landry Shamet and San Antonio’s Derrick White.
The national team and select team players will play an exhibition game Aug. 9 in Las Vegas, before camp resumes the following week in El Segundo, California. The World Cup in China begins Aug. 31.
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