Sunday, July 14, 2024

Could LeBron James Come Off Bench With Team USA?

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As Team USA begins work for the Paris Olympics this summer, head coach Steve Kerr has to figure out how to manage all the talent on his team. Team USA has players like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid, and others on the roster. Managing the talent and personalities will take a lot of work on the part of Kerr and the entire coaching staff. The key to any quality Team USA squad is figuring out a nice balance of minutes between all the superstar talent.

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This summer could be the final appearance from James on the Team USA roster as he likely heads into retirement over the next few seasons. James is approaching the age of 40, so with all the younger talent on the team, could we see him take a spot on the bench this summer?

LeBron James
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 27: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers during game four of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Arena on April 27, 2024 in Los Angeles, California….

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the idea of James not starting seems to be a non-starter.

“James coming off the bench, probably won’t happen,” Vardon revealed. “I spoke with two USA Basketball sources and both cast serious doubt on the idea. So thank you for going through with this exercise, and I hope you come away from it realizing the difficult task ahead for Kerr and his staff to pick a starting lineup and find playing time for a roster with legitimately 12 stars.”

Especially with this being the presumed final appearance for James, his not starting was never going to happen. He is one of the leaders on this roster so starting makes the most sense. Kerr and his staff may limit minutes for James due to his advanced age, but James will be a complete presence on this team over the summer.

Kerr opened up about his plans for the lineup rotations, admitting that the problem he is facing is a good one to have.

“It’s a great question,” Kerr said last week. “My staff and I have talked about it quite a bit, it’s a good problem to have, but I think I’m guessing that all 12 players on this roster will be in the Hall of Fame someday. So how do you pick five out of 12? The idea is you find combinations that click and you find two-way lineups that can be effective at both ends. So our big job in Las Vegas is to find five-man combinations that fit and to just ask all 12 guys to fully commit to the goal of winning a gold medal no matter what it looks like, no matter who’s playing.”

The goal for Team USA is very simple, winning the gold. At least on paper, this is the best team that Team USA has put together since the Dream Team in 1992. So, with the group of stars that they have on the roster, there is no excuse for gold not to be achieved this summer.

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