Monday, May 27, 2024

LeBron James & Steph Curry’s Team USA is Not The Greatest; Ex-Warriors Star Uses Shaquille O’Neal To Make His Case

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Last summer dealt a tough blow to Team USA. Despite being favorites to win the FIBA World Cup, the young USA team failed to clinch even a podium finish. However, the upcoming summer presents an opportunity to redeem Team USA’s loss. Earlier this year, Team USA announced its 41-man player pool for the 2024 Paris Olympics, with LeBron James and Stephen Curry headlining the list. However, despite possessing the likes of the NBA all-time leading scorer and NBA All-time three-point scorer, Gilbert Arenas is not convinced that they are the greatest team the USA has assembled for the Olympics.

In a recent episode of Gil’s Arena, the former Warriors star challenged Brandon Jennings’ claim that the 2024 Team USA roster might be the greatest Olympic team ever. Gilbert argued that the 1996 Olympic team, nicknamed Dream Team III, that won the gold medal in Atlanta remains unrivaled in greatness.

That team, as per Arenas, was so stacked that even after averaging double-doubles with close to 30 points and 10 rebounds that season, both Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon came off the bench during the Olympics. “Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem came off the bench. They averaged 30 and 10 that year, they came off the bench. That’s what came off the bench in that 96 team, so that is the greatest USA team ever assembled,” said Arenas.

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Gilbert Arenas also pointed out that the 1996 12-man roster only featured players who were All-NBA first-team and second-team members. However, this 2024 USA team could potentially include Jrue Holiday, who has yet to earn an All-NBA team nod.

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How can Jrue Holiday impact the 2024 Team USA?

While Jrue Holiday hasn’t been a member of an All-NBA team, it is this defensive ability that sets him apart. The 3x NBA All-Defensive First Team and a 2x NBA All-Defense Second Team talent proved his mettle during the gold medal run in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, leading the team in assists (3.8) and steals (1.7) per game. His defensive brilliance was on full display as he shut down opposing guards in the crucial final rounds, propelling the Americans to a first-place finish.

The Boston Celtics combo guard was the third-best scorer on the 2020 team, just behind Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum, with 11.8 points per game. With his exceptional on-ball defense, playmaking skills, and leadership qualities, Jrue Holiday would be a valuable addition to the 2024 USA Team as they strive for another gold medal.

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Team USA could also include newcomers Jayson Tatum, Anthony Davis, James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard. Even reigning MVP Joel Embiid has committed to the USA over his native country Cameroon, and France in October. With such a formidable lineup, it is yet to be seen whether the 2024 Team USA could prove Gilbert Arenas wrong.

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