Team USA’s Final FIBA World Cup Roster- Gold is still on the Horizon

Team USA’s final FIBA World Cup roster will look a lot different than the last time the US was on the court together. Previous teams that featured Lebron, Steph, KD, Westbrook, Harden, Butler, Klay, Irving, Carmello, and CP3 are a thing of the past. These superstars helped bring gold medal after gold medal to the United States. Hell, the 2012 Olympic Team is compared to the 1992 Dream Team. Those players put their time in and deserve to practice and put in the work on their own accord this summer.

With that being said, Team USA is still in good hands. It may not be able to challenge the Dream Team or the 2012 team, but this team will leave China with the gold medal. The team is led by Coach Greg Popovich. He will be joined by an up and coming young core led by Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum.

Currently, Team USA sits with 15 players on the roster after Marvin Bagley and Kyle Lowry withdrew. Bagley withdrawing came as a bit of a shock as he was seemingly a lock to make the squad. Lowry withdrew due to medical reasons.

The final roster needs to be set to 12 before World Cup play begins. Coach Pop has a chance to get a better look at this team and potential rotations coming up as in Australia as Team USA is set to play Australia and Canada.

Joining Walker and Tatum trying to make the cut are their Celtic teammates Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. Both of which have been rumored to miss Pop’s cut. Brown due to chemistry issues and Smart due to nagging injuries.

The rest of the roster consists of the handsomely paid Khris Middleton of the Bucks, De’Aaron Fox of the Kings, Myles Turner, Kyle Kuzma, Joe Harris, PJ Tucker, Brook Lopez, Derrick White, Mason Plumlee and the lone returning member of the 2016 National team, Harrison Barnes.

While this team may not be considered the top tier of the NBA’s American talent it is still a talented group.

This team has a little bit of everything. Kemba Walker will start at the point and help be the veteran presence and floor general this team needs. Mitchell, Middleton, and Tatum are all matchup problems for any opponent and can all stretch the floor and provide solid defense. Turner should man the middle and get the starting nod at center over the veteran Lopez. Lopez just like Walker will be key in providing veteran leadership for this team. Fox, Kuzma, and White are all expected to make the team and all play with great pace and energy. Harrison Barnes should be a lock due to his past experience. Where does that leave us?

Assuming your starting lineup is :

PGK. Walker
SGD. Mitchell
CM. Turner
PFJ. Tatum
SFK. Middleton

That would leave your potential reserves as follows:

D.WhiteH. Barnes
D. FoxK. Kuzma
J.BrownP.J Tucker
M.SmartB. Lopez
J. HarrisM. Plumlee

We can instantly narrow down off of the reserves and start to build the depth chart:

Starters2nd UnitReserves
PGK. WalkerD. FoxD. White
SGD. Mitchell
CM. TurnerB. Lopez
PFJ. TatumH. Barnes
SFK. MiddletonK. Kuzma

That leaves five players for two spots. Those players are Brown, Smart, Harris, Plumlee, and Tucker. Ultimately it will come down to chemistry for Pop when he makes his final decision.

At the end of the day, I think that Brown does make the team even though he has been playing lackluster ball so far in camp. For the final roster spot, this decision is tough but it came down to shooting for me. As much as Tucker and Plumlee bring, Joe Harris is a perfect fit for the roster and is someone who can come in and hit a shot at any time. Smart will be the odd Celtic out, that is more or less due to nagging injuries than anything.

The final roster should look like:

Starters2nd UnitReserves
PGK. WalkerD. FoxD. White
SGD. MitchellJ. BrownJ. Harris
CM. TurnerB.Lopez
PFJ. TatumH. Barnes
SFK. MiddletonK. Kuzma

As I said earlier, this team is young, energetic, exciting, and it should be a lot of fun to watch. If they gel they should coast to the gold medal. You can find the Team USA FIBA World Cup Schedule below.

Tim King