Monday, May 20, 2024

A look at those snubbed from Team USA men’s basketball 2024 Olympics roster

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You know it’s Olympics season when the Team USA men’s basketball roster assembles like the Avengers.

It’s the same script entering the 2024 Paris Games, with players like Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry headlining the 12-player bunch.

The full list is as follows:

  • LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns
  • Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
  • Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
  • Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers
  • Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
  • Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics
  • Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers

Team USA is seeking its fifth straight gold medal in the competition, but the roster did spark some debates: Were there any snubs?

It’s hard to classify any player as a snub for the roster given how small it is and the competition to even make the initial list.

But, if there were high-quality exclusions who deserved a nod, which players would those be? Let’s take a look at four:

Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

Maxey has been the key reason to the 76ers staying afloat amid Embiid’s injuries. The 23-year-old guard has averaged a career-high 25.9 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and one steal on a 45/37/87 shooting split.

The 2020 No. 21 overall selection has consistently improved in each of his first four seasons, so he wouldn’t have necessarily looked out of place on the team. The main issue is there are other scoring guards already on the team, so his profile would’ve become redundant.

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Brunson is stuck between that rough line of being elite statistically but not being the ideal star due to his size and frame. The Knicks guard averaged a career-best 28.7 points and 6.7 assists to go with 3.6 rebounds, 0.9 steals and a 48//40/85 shooting split.

But, like Maxey, the 27-year-old Brunson has a profile that becomes redundant in the team and it’d likely be better to give the opportunity to younger guards who may have multiple Olympic opportunities after Paris.

Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks

Irving has two gold medals while representing the senior Team USA side. He helped win gold at the 2014 World Cup then also claimed gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

However, the 32-year-old Mavericks star did not get called up despite averaging 25.6 points, 5.2 assists and five rebounds on a 50/41/91 shooting split. Irving’s likely competition for a spot was Celtics guard Holiday, who might’ve received the nod due to his overall defensive prowess.

Cooper Flagg, Duke commit

Most won’t know Flagg, but he’s a 17-year-old consensus five-star prospect who committed to Duke. Why should a youngster like Flagg get called up?

“The real snub is Cooper Flagg,” NBC Sports Boston Celtics analyst Brian Scalabrine said in a panel. “Flagg should’ve been on that team. He was USA Basketball Player of the Year two years ago and he could be waiting in the wings for the future. Groom him, let him sit there as the 12th man. Let him learn from the greatest players out there.”

Team USA has called up young prospects before, such as Anthony Davis in 2012 when he just entered the NBA at 19 years old. Davis was an injury replacement for Blake Griffin, but his potential was too big to ignore. That may just be the case with Flagg down the line.

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