3 American players Team USA will regret not adding to its loaded Olympics roster

Team USA announced 11 out of the 12 players that will represent America at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, and they could regret leaving these three players off the squad depending on who fills the last spot.
USA v Germany: Semi Final - FIBA Basketball World Cup
USA v Germany: Semi Final - FIBA Basketball World Cup / Ariana Saigh/GettyImages

Team USA has reportedly honed in on the 11 participants to represent the American national squad at the 2024 Paris Olympics, per Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Only two members (Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton) from Team USA's 2023 FIBA World Cup roster carried over to this one, which is not shocking to see because many of the players headed to the Olympics are some of the best in the world, even though they did not take part in last summer's competition. 

Stephen Curry will be playing in the Olympics for the first time in his illustrious 15-year career, joining two of the most outstanding performers the event has ever seen in the form of Kevin Durant and LeBron James, as Team USA chases its fifth straight gold medal.

While it is understandable that winning and seniority are taking precedence as Team USA officials do their part to construct the most proficient and competitive roster they can, it is undoubtedly disappointing to see so many young and talented options snubbed from the team, especially the decision to leave these three players off the roster.

However, one spot remains because teams are entitled to a 12-man group, and Charania points out there is a shortlist of candidates already in consideration. So perhaps one of these three ultimately gets the nod.

Aaron Gordon, Denver Nuggets

Aaron Gordon is by no means a household name and likely a long shot to capture the last roster spot for Team USA. But he would be an ideal fit based on his archetype alone, as a lob threat who can thrive in transition and without the ball in his hands on the offensive end of the floor while guarding virtually every position on the defensive side. 

Gordon showed how vital he was to the Denver Nuggets winning their first NBA championship in franchise history this past season. His willingness to sacrifice himself for a title run and embrace a role as a two-way player to make life easier for Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray would be a welcomed addition to a USA unit that already has a lot of mouths to feed.

While his counting stats leave much to be desired compared to other candidates, Gordon provides some of everything. He is averaging 13.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor.

Moreover, the Americans could use another big body and true power forward on the roster, depending on how you view Anthony Davis positionally. Gordon would certainly fit that bill and then some.

Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets

Charania named Brooklyn Nets star Mikal Bridges as one of the players in contention for the final roster spot, who played for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup last summer. He averaged 13.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.4 steals per contest with remarkable .636/.556/.818 shooting splits.

Like Gordon, Bridges would provide Team USA with a capable two-way wing comfortable playing alongside high-volume stars in a complimentary role. He profiles as the prototypical 3-and-D option that teams across the NBA highly covet.

Bridges offers a skill set that the Americans could use more as someone who makes catch-and-shoot threes at an efficient 38.5 percent clip while giving them a versatile defensive chess piece.

While Bridges would undoubtedly slot in behind the likes of Durant, James, and Jayson Tatum on the depth chart, he could serve as a backup to AD if head coach Steve Kerr prefers to deploy more small-ball lineups. He is also as dependable and durable as they come, evidenced by his not missing an NBA game in six seasons.

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

How can Team USA leave Jalen Brunson, arguably the best American-born player in the Association this season, off their Olympic roster? HoopsHype deemed him the second-best performer from the land of opportunity in 2023-24 based on their Global Rating scale.

Brunson was a member of the 2023 FIBA World Cup team. He averaged 11 points, four assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game with .508/.385/.955 shooting splits, but what separated him from the bunch last summer was his command of the locker room, constantly earning praise from Kerr.

The first-time All-Star has put his leadership on full display in 2023-24, taking yet another step forward as the face of the New York Knicks and carrying them to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2013 with the weight of the franchise on his back. 

After logging career-highs in points (28.7) and assists (6.7), likely playing his way onto MVP ballots, Brunson deserves to be part of the Olympic squad and could become the stopgap between the present core of the American national team and future Olympic rosters, considering he is firmly in the prime of his career at 27 years old.

Moreover, Brunson could provide Team USA with another floor general, allowing Curry to operate off the ball more.