The Team USA men’s basketball has experienced a plethora of veteran talent withdraw from roster consideration. With the league being wide open for the first time in a handful of years, veteran players and championship level organizations are saving their energy for the grind of the regular season and playoffs. Team USA is dependent on young talent for the current FIBA World Cup.
The current roster consists of Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, De’Aaron Fox, Joe Harris, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Mason Plumlee, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Myles Turner, Kemba Walker and Derrick White. The veteran players who dropped out of consideration during or before training camp were notables such as James Harden, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, and Bradley Beal, among others.
For the first time in a decade, the Team USA basketball squad will be led by primarily younger talent. Most of the World Cup and Olympic runs have been loaded with talent, including such names as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant. The Team USA basketball team is normally loaded with multiple MVPs and Finals MVPs. This year is loaded with the best young talent who are looking to establish their natural leadership and skills among their peers.
For veteran level players who withdraw from consideration, they should take a hard look at past World Cup and Olympic runs. When players who are in entering their third through eighth seasons, there’s a history of players having career years after playing in the summer with the best in the league. Look at James and Wade in the 2008 Olympics. That summer, they spent every practice and workout with Bryant, who is widely regarded as one of the hardest workers in league history. After witnessing that level of passion and work, James and Wade both went on to have career years, with James winning back-to-back regular season MVPs and a 66-win season.
The season is long, and the risk of injury is evident, especially after the Paul George freak injury. But, there’s plenty to gain from playing in the summer. The word from training camps is that Mitchell has asserted himself as the alpha male in the squad. Look for him to build off the success of this summer and have a career defining third season.
Team USA is also looking to pull off a FIBA World Cup three-peat, which has never been done in the 69-year history of the event. The tournament begins on August 31 in China.