Building the perfect roster from Team USA's 41-player pool for 2024 Olympics

There are 41 players under consideration for a spot on the Team USA Olympics roster. Let's build the perfect 12-man group.

LeBron James, Team USA, Olympics
LeBron James, Team USA, Olympics / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 Olympics around right around the corner. The event will take place from July 26 to Aug. 11 in Paris. After failing to medal in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the United States is rather desperate to get back on the winning track. So desperate, in fact, that several of the game's best players are back in the roster mix after sitting out the World Cup.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry are notably among the 41 players being considered for 12 spots on the Team USA roster. The FIBA roster, on the other hand, was spearheaded by the likes of Jalen Brunson and Anthony Edwards. Great players, but hardly the crème de la crème of U.S. basketball.

In addition to overwhelming teams with star power, Team USA has to build a more balanced roster this time around. The United States still boasted more star power than any other team in the World Cup, but a lack of size and physicality sank the ship. International basketball is a different beast compared to the NBA. The United States needs to pepper the roster with imposing shot-blockers, gutsy defenders, and high-speed processors to complement the core superstars.

Here are the 41 players under consideration:

Building the perfect 2024 Team USA Olympics roster

With all due respect to Tyrese Maxey and other perceived snubs — some of which are probably the result of declined invitations, rather than blatant disrespect — we will build this "perfect" roster out of the 41 players actually under consideration. There's no point in feeding vacant hypotheticals.

  • PG — Stephen Curry
  • SG — LeBron James
  • SF — Kawhi Leonard
  • PF — Kevin Durant
  • C — Joel Embiid

The starting five should be relatively straightforward. Four Team USA staples and Joel Embiid, who is quickly gaining ground in the 'Best Player in the World' debate. Embiid opted to join the U.S. squad over France and Cameroon, citing his American-born son as a motivating factor. Let's just say Embiid wouldn't have landed in the USA pool if he wasn't going to make the roster and enjoy a large role.

There is simply no country in the world that can compete with this five-man unit. Curry and Durant are two of the most potent shooters in league history. Embiid is a wrecking ball in the middle. LeBron is LeBron. Kawhi is Kawhi. Such is life.

How the second unit is built will be far more interesting. Rather than simply going for the best overall players, USA should probably strive for some semblance of balance. Get a couple defensive stoppers in there. Make sure there is physicality and paint protection behind Embiid.

  • Tyrese Haliburton, G
  • Derrick White, G
  • Alex Caruso, G
  • Anthony Edwards, G
  • Jayson Tatum, F
  • Bam Adebayo, C
  • Anthony Davis, C

Please do not perceive this as disrespect toward Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, et al. Again, we are striving for balance. There is unbeatable firepower in the starting five. Tyrese Haliburton is the engine behind the best offense in the NBA. Jayson Tatum is a bonafide superstar. Anthony Edwards is the next man up, and Team USA should embrace him accordingly.

Anthony Davis and Bam Adebayo can play together in bigger lineups, offering multi-faceted defense and a sturdy presence on the boards. Alex Caruso and Derrick White are two efficient 3-point shooters who also happen to be on the shortlist of top perimeter defenders in the world. Both can operate with minimal touches on offense while elevating the U.S. squad on the other end.

It's impossible to trim the list from 41 to 12 without a few seemingly inexplicable omissions, but the above team checks virtually every box. My toughest omissions were Devin Booker, De'Aaron Fox, James Harden, and Chet Holmgren. Most of these players "deserve" a spot, but alas, life isn't always fair.

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