Redeeming the Dream 

US Basketball is gearing up for a fierce battle this summer as they set their sights on Olympic gold in Paris. Discover the complete analysis of Danilo Stanojević and Alex Popa.

Team USA Basketball, X

USA Basketball finalized its roster for the upcoming Summer Games in Paris, which includes Steph Curry, Lebron James, Joel Embiid, and Kawhi Leonard. 

The star-studded roster includes Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Davis, Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards, Jrue Holiday, and Bam Adebayo. 

This roster has seven players with a combined total of 10 Olympic gold medals. Lebron James and Kevin Durant were part of the 2012 Olympic roster that won gold in London, defeating Spain. Combined with Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, and Joel Embiid, the USA has the most dominant starting five in the upcoming tournament. 

“It’s an honor to introduce the 2024 USA Basketball Men’s National Team,” said USA Basketball Men’s National Team managing director Grant Hill. “I’m grateful to these 12 men for their commitment to represent USA Basketball. The United States is home to some of the best basketball players in the world, and I appreciate the vast interest in being part of this roster. These decisions weren’t easy, but it was a pleasure to go through the process and reach this outcome.”

The national team has been underwhelming in the last two international tournaments. It finished fourth in the FIBA World Championships in 2023, and while it won the gold medal in the 2021 Olympics, it was not the ‘perfect’ USA team that everyone had envisioned. In particular, the roster sent to the FIBA World Championship was incredibly underwhelming.

The defeats to Lithuania in the group stages, the semi-final to eventual champions Germany, and the bronze medal game against Canada underlined the prominent issues with individuality and small-ball playstyles against team-oriented play and size. 

In particular, the defeat to Germany showcased two primary concerns moving forward: the lack of size in the power-forward and center positions, which resulted in poor rebounding, both on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor,  and the inadequacy of the current base of US players besides our superstars. 

Michael Conroy/Associated Press 

The NBA has recently seen an influx of international talent, with Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Nikola Jokic arguably the top four players in the league. It isn’t just the international superstars who have become prominent players in the NBA; the growing levels of global competition have shifted the power dynamic in international play. 

For example, European teams build their squads through multiple tournaments, allowing them to win or lose together over four to five years. These teams learn to work together, building chemistry and creating varying styles of play, with each country having its own unique style. Teams are built through lengthy processes, where young players play together from the international youth level to the senior squad for years. When we look at the German team that won the FIBA Championship last year, it was because of their team identity, the mixture of youth with veterans, and, most importantly, their size and physicality.

The most significant shortcomings of the recent US rosters are their lack of size and experience in international competition. 

With Steve Kerr as the head coach, it’s understandable why he pushed for this smaller roster. Kerr prioritizes his ‘small-ball’ lineups, which became famous and successful at Golden State, resulting in four NBA championships. However, Kerr failed to recognize that these international tournaments require a considerable focus to dominate the physical aspects of the game. We see this during the US overtime loss against Canada when Kerr puts out a five-guard lineup, eventually costing them the match. Then there is the HUGE size disadvantage against the Germans in the semi-final match.

Jaren Jackson Jr., at 6 ‘10, was the US team’s tallest player in their semi-final lineup against Germany. The German lineup alone had three players over 6 ‘8 in their starting five, out-rebounding and making it difficult for the US to get into a consistent rhythm throughout the match. 

Another one of Kerr’s issues during that world championship run was the lack of lineup diversity. With so many players all able to do the same thing, there weren’t the flexible outliers that could’ve changed games differently. Firstly, the lack of defenders, precisely a defensive anchor controlling the paint, was a huge issue that cost the US many defensive and offensive rebounds. Secondly, guards who could defend in 1v1 situations were also missing. Lastly, the lack of veteran leadership was sorely needed throughout. Maybe Kevin Durant, Lebron James, or Anthony Davis were needed to help the younger players understand what is required to win at this stage. 

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Fast forward to this roster that the United States announced for this Olympics, and it feels like a ‘last dance’ for some of the game’s greatest-ever players. For the first time since 2005, the NBA Playoffs won’t have Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Lebron James participating in the second round. This season has genuinely felt like the ending of one of the most critical eras in NBA history, so it serves these three legends right to play with each other one last time on the world stage. 

Lebron James (39), Kevin Durant (36), and Steph Curry (36) have redefined a generation of NBA basketball. All three legends of the game are in the twilight stages of their careers, and with all three of their respective teams nowhere as strong domestically in the NBA this season, this feels like an opportunity to see greatness compete, not against each other, but together. 

All three of these players have nothing else to prove. 

At one point in their respective careers, they were all the best players on the planet. Their suiting up one final time with the United States national team this summer provides one final challenge these three may find their most difficult yet: showing the world that America is still the top dog on the international stage. 

But this challenge should be the most difficult yet for the American superstars. 

The world has caught up, and their best players dominate the NBA. Luka Dončić, Nikola Jokić, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are arguably the top five players in the NBA. French center Rudy Gobert has won multiple DPOYs, while Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid have won three of the last four NBA MVP awards. Luka Dončić, just this season alone, has had an MVP-caliber year, averaging 33.9 PPG, 9.2 REB, and 9.8 AST. Giannis is one of the most gifted and athletic players the NBA has ever seen, winning Milwakuee’s first NBA title since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972, defeating Devin Booker’s Phoenix Suns in six games. Lastly, the upcoming ROTY and potential DPOY is another foreign player, Victor Wembanyama, who already looks like a world-beater at just 20 years of age. 

Team USA’s group-stage games will provide exciting challenges as they face Serbia, South Sudan, and potentially Italy, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, Ivory Coast, Mexico, and Bahrain, as these nations will need to go through the 2024 FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament this summer. 

Serbia and potentially qualified Lithuania will be difficult matches for Team USA. Serbia finished second at the FIBA World Championships with a roster that didn’t include Nikola Jokić, Boban Marjanovic, and Nikola Jović. Led by Bogdan Bogdanović, Serbia defeated Lithuania in the quarter-finals and Canada in the semi-final. Lithuania is a big team and will provide a challenge strictly because of its size and ability to out-rebound its opponents. Jonas Valančiūnas, Ignas Brazedeikas, and Tomas Dimša are all quality players in a deep, primarily EuroLeague roster. 

Then there’s everyone else. 

Defending world champions Germany, led by Dennis Schröder, Daniel Theis, and Franz Wagner, have a deep squad mixed with NBA and EuroLeague players. The host nation, France, which won the silver medal in 2021 after losing to Team USA in the final, will have Rudy Gobert, Victor Wembanyama, Nicolas Batum, and Evan Fournier, all quality NBA players. Canada could have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett, Jamal Murray, Kelly Olynyk, and Lou Dort within its ranks this summer.

Fox Sports 

This will be the last dance for the game’s finest athletes and players. Excitement fills the air as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry will suit together one last time to remind the world who remains the top dog in world basketball. 

Few squads evoke as much nostalgia and reverence as the legendary Redeem Team of 2008. Led by the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, they stormed through the Beijing Olympics, reclaiming gold and restoring American basketball supremacy on the global stage. Except for the final, the US managed to go unchallenged for the gold medal. The initial encounter with the 2006 world champions, Spain, was an easy game for the star-spangled squad, Pau Gasol, and the company, which could not resist Kobe’s Mamba mentality drive. It was later revealed that Bryant took that game personally by bumping into Gasol to send a message, and from that moment on, the US dominated the game.  This strong leadership also brought unity to the American team, with each player performing at their best while not forgetting to enjoy the game of basketball with spectacular dunks.

While the Redeem Team relied heavily on its suffocating defense and fast-paced transition game, the 2024 squad showcases a more versatile offensive arsenal, capable of scoring from anywhere on the court with deadly precision. Furthermore, with the emergence of young talents like Anthony Edwards and Jayson Tatum complementing the seasoned veterans, this iteration of Team USA embodies the evolution of the game, blending the old guard with the new in a symphony of basketball brilliance. However, the Europeans improved their offensive game considerably, and the defensive play of Team USA is no longer a real threat. This was shown in the 2021 Olympics when they lost against France in their first game by failing to break through the defensive system of Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum, while the French performed offensively enough to grab a win.

Team USA is in a gripping battle against a formidable Serbian side led by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Unlike the relatively smooth sailing experienced by the Redeem Team in 2008, this veteran-laden American squad faces a stern test against a Serbian team brimming with talent and determination. In contrast, the Redeem Team of 2008 faced relatively fewer formidable adversaries on their path to Olympic gold. Nowadays, the MVP race consists of foreign players, and the internationals are reshaping the NBA as a whole. 

The current crop of centers for Team USA presents a contrast to the dominant figures of Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh who anchored the frontcourt in 2008. While Howard and Bosh were formidable forces in their own right, known for their defensive prowess, rebounding, and versatility, the current centers for Team USA offer a different skill set and playing style. Players like Bam Adebayo, Anthony Davis, and Joel Embiid bring a combination of size, athleticism, and skill to the table, capable of impacting the game on both ends of the floor. However, when compared to the dominant frontcourts of teams like France or Serbia in the present day, Team USA’s centers face a stern challenge. Teams like France, with players like Rudy Gobert, and Serbia, boasting talents like Nikola Jokic, present formidable frontcourt combinations that rival or even surpass the strength and versatility of Team USA’s centers. In the face of such competition, Team USA’s big men must step up and assert their dominance to secure international success.

Regarding coaching, it has been a while since Mike Krzyzewski left the team, while Steve Kerr has difficulty redeeming himself from the 2023 FIBA World Cup counter-performance.  No one denies Kerr’s accolades, but he still has to prove himself on the international stage between national teams. Coach K’s leadership style emphasized cohesion, unity, and a strong team culture. He fostered a sense of pride and patriotism among the players, instilling a commitment to representing their country with honor and excellence. Furthermore, Coach K’s ability to build relationships and earn the trust of his players was crucial in maximizing their performance on the court. His communication skills, motivational tactics, and attention to detail helped create an environment conducive to success.

While Kerr undoubtedly possesses excellent coaching insight and a deep understanding of the game, his limited experience coaching at the international level may have contributed to difficulties getting Team USA to play at their best. Additionally, the expectations and pressure associated with coaching the national team, particularly after the success of previous coaches like Krzyzewski, may have added to the challenge.

Editorial Opinions

“I think that Team USA will win the gold medal, but in a similar manner as three years ago, with a stacked team that will face tough opponents along the way. It is up to LeBron James to inspire that Mamba mentality that Kobe did to him in 2008 to make the shame of the 2023 World Cup go away.  I really hope to see tight games and European squads that manage to gather their best squads and collective plays.” Alexander Popa, YourBook Team


While Team USA is the favorite to win the gold in Paris this summer, this will be the most challenging test yet. As much as I believe the team put together this summer is a message to the rest of the world for the lackluster performances in recent international tournaments, I don’t think this will prove anything. We already know this group is the best we can send to Europe. I’d have rather seen a more extensive mix of youth with the older generation. 

Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry are incredible players who have transformed the modern game. I am a massive fan of their additions to this team and believe their leadership and know-how on how to win under challenging moments will be incredibly beneficial to this team. I love Anthony Davis’ addition, as well as his size and ability to dominate offensively and defensively, which will add a dimension that Team USA lacked in the FIBA Championships. 

Then, Joel Embiid decided to join Team USA after months of speculation that he would join France for the Olympics. A frontcourt of Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid, alongside Bam Adebayo, creates a formidable frontcourt that can rebound, score, build, and dominate the interior when needed. 

However, I wish some younger players were given a chance at this summer’s tournament. As much as I am a fan of this current roster, mixing this newer generation of players and learning from some of the finest to play this sport would be something to build on for the future. I love the additions of Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton, but Trae Young and Tyrese Maxey deserve honorable mentions. Zion Williamson is another player worthy of a shout. Someone who was criticized for missing games and not taking care of his health, Zion has played 70 games this season and seems to have finally taken care of his physique. 

Team USA is going for it. 

This will be the last dance for the game’s finest athletes and players. Excitement fills the air as Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry will suit together one last time to remind the world who remains the top dog in world basketball. “ Danilo Stanojević, YourBook Team


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