Sunday, July 14, 2024

Team USA Headlined by Lakers and Clippers Stars Starting Their Journey

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Before we see the future stars on display in Las Vegas for the Summer League for the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, we will get our first look at Team USA before they head off to Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games. This is what we know so far.

The Clippers will be represented on Team USA by Kawhi Leonard and their own head coach, Ty Lue, as he is on Steve Kerr’s staff. Ty Lue was on the staff as well during the World Cup where Team USA didn’t even get a medal.

After failing once again to get out of the first round of the playoffs this past season, both Leonard and Lue don’t just have their NBA baggage on that flight to Paris, but also Lue being a part of that embarrassing showing on the last Team USA. Leonard has been wrought with injuries and rest management but when Kawhi Leonard is in the lineup, any of his teams can be called the favorites.

The question is, as always, will he be healthy?

The Los Angeles Lakers have a very hot lamp on them right now as they have not made any moves of substance this offseason, even with them connected to players like Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, and Trae Young.

Two players who get to escape the heat by heading to Paris are LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It is not either one’s first rodeo with Team USA. Anthony Davis is expected to start alongside Joel Embiid in the post. Something I never thought I’d read is this by Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

“Leonard is a better perimeter defender, a more committed defender, than James. Davis is taller and also a better defender. The Americans would already have enough offense on the floor, so if Kerr were to base his lineup decision on the pitfalls from last year’s team… one could argue that James might be a sixth man. And yet, this, James coming off the bench, probably won’t happen. I spoke with two USA Basketball sources, and both cast serious doubt on the idea. “

– Joe Vardon, The Athletic

The Americans would have a lethal lineup even without James in: Steph Curry, Anthony Edwards, Jayson Tatum (coming off a great NBA Finals), Anthony Davis, and Joel Embiid.

May have been quick to point out that Team USA may not be the gold, pun intended, standard of Olympic Men’s Basketball. The home team, France, will have a dangerous lineup headed by Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Golbert, clamping down the middle for the French.

Surprisingly, neither Alexander Sarr nor Zaccharie Risacher made the team even with both going in the top two of the 2024 NBA Draft. Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum. both names Lakers and Clippers fans will remember, are on the roster. If you leave both of those young stars off the national team, you better have a darn good team elsewhere.

As some Clippers and Lakers players get ready in their National Team camps, one major thing everyone hopes for is health. Last thing we want to see is someone to go down during these games or leading up to the events like Paul George all those years ago.

As Team USA goes for gold, a team who hasn’t lost a single gold medal in an Olympics since Athens 2004, the pressure is on these men who may have the experience, but will they have the drive that these younger teams do to win it all?

USA hosts Canada, Australia, Serbia, South Sudan, and Germany all before they light the torch in Paris. Exhibition Game #1 against Canada in Las Vegas is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10 before they fly to Abu Dhabi, London, and, finally, Paris.

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