Monday, May 20, 2024

Austin Rivers: Duke’s Cooper Flagg Should Get Last USA Roster Spot for 2024 Olympics

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Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for the McDonalds All American Games

Former NBA guard/current ESPN analyst Austin Rivers believes the last roster spot for Team USA men’s hoops at the 2024 Summer Olympics should go to Duke-bound forward Cooper Flagg, the No. 1 prospect in the high school class of 2024.

“Grab Cooper Flagg, hell, make him the 12th guy,” Rivers said on NBA Today.

“The experience it would give him. You’re talking about grooming players for tomorrow and what that experience would do for these young talented players, especially in a draft class where you don’t have a lot of star power. Throw the biggest star in there, throw Cooper Flagg in there, it makes sense. Grant Hill is a Dukie, get it done.”

The current roster features LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Edwards, Bam Adebayo, Jrue Holiday, Devin Booker, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Davis and Jayson Tatum.

Rivers referenced Hill, a former Duke and NBA star who now serves as the managing director of the USA Men’s National Team. Rivers, a former Duke star himself, perhaps would like to see another Blue Devil in the mix.

Adding Flagg would be an unprecedented move, though.

Since Team USA began including pro players into the mix in 1992, no one on the Olympic roster has gone to represent the country without NBA experience with the exception of former Duke forward Christian Laettner.

He grabbed a spot on the 1992 Dream Team before making his debut with the Minnesota Timberwolves soon afterward.

Seeing a high school player jump directly to the Olympics is something that hasn’t happened before. That being said, Flagg is a generational talent, and it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to include him on the team.

It’s not as if he’s going to be asked to carry Team USA, especially with a host of superstars already on board. He could also clearly contribute to the team’s success based on his tremendous track record thus far.

On the flip side, other NBA stars are more deserving at this stage and should get a look here, such as Kawhi Leonard, Donovan Mitchell and Jalen Brunson. Ultimately, it appears Leonard is the likely 12th man, per Shams Charania and Joe Vardon for The Athletic, who called the Los Angeles Clippers star “the leading candidate.”

So perhaps Flagg’s Olympic time isn’t now, but he very well could be taking the court for Team USA in four years, when the Summer Games take place in Los Angeles.

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