USA basketball favourites for Olympic gold again with 6 All-Stars in the squad
After a disappointing quarterfinal exit at the FIBA World Cup 2019 in China, the USA look to bounce back in Tokyo
Basketball powerhouse, USA, is back to being favourite for the Gold medal at Tokyo Olympics. After a shambolic performance at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. The USA bowed out of the World Cup after a 79-89 loss to France in the quarterfinals. Spain was the eventual champions at the tournament with their second gold at the FIBA World Cup. The USA roster for the World Cup was far from the best they could assemble, given their large pool of undeniable Superstars.
The only reigning All-Star on the team was Boston Celtic's point guard Kemba Walker. Many Basketball Superstars prefer not to join the roster for international duties to rest and prepare for the next NBA season, leaving a relatively weaker pool for the USA Basketball (USAB) to choose from.
Cut to the Tokyo Olympics, USAB puts together a strong squad with 6 All-Stars
Fans were skeptical whether USAB could put together a strong squad for the Tokyo Olympics after the 2020-2021 NBA season got Jam-packed into a short period due to Covid-19 giving stars less time to rest and unwind. Luckily the final roster is much stronger than expected, with six reigning All-Stars in the squad.
The two-time NBA Champion and 11-time All-Star is the most famous name in the squad. After the season with Brooklyn Nets, which was marred by injuries to James Harden and Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant stepped up to the mantle during the NBA playoffs. Despite his heroics after a devastating Achilles injury, Nets got eliminated from the series, which was decided in Game 7. At over 7 feet tall, Durant is one of the most unguardable players in Basketball.
Famously referred to as 'Dame Dolla', Damian Lillard, the 6-time All-Star, has bowed out of the Playoffs again. This time to the Denver Nuggets, despite putting up a phenomenal 34.3 points per game in the Playoffs. Most likely to be the main point guard for USAB.
The three-time All-Star who plays for the Washington Wizards alongside Russel Westbrook reached the Playoffs after defeating Indiana Pacers in the recently introduced play-in tournament for the last spot. Beal put up phenomenal stats in the regular season scoring 31.3 points per game. His ability to create his own shot shall and tendency to drive to the rim makes him a great asset.
The Boston Celtics' Superstar has had a rough season due to the injury to Jaylen Brown. Brown's injury put up an extra load on Tatum to make the Playoffs, eventually lost to the Brooklyn Nets 1-4. However, Tatum, 23, already has 2 All-Star appearances, and an early exit from the Playoffs means he has extra time to rest and recover.
After making the playoffs for the first time, Booker has helped Phoenix Suns to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 11 years. Booker faces Los Angeles Clippers in the Conference finals and looks to make it to his first Finals. With 25.6 PPG in the regular season, he is the main scoring option for the Suns alongside the veteran Chris Paul. Booker might have fewer days of rest before the Olympics, but a definite Star to look out for in Tokyo.
Zach Lavine, the 2-time Slam dunk Champion, appears to have rediscovered himself as a Chicago Bull and made his first All-Star appearance this year. Averaging 27.4 PPG, Lavine has proved his all-around game to shut the critics. Lavine would add to the depth of the roster coming off the bench.
The USA looks to make it four Basketball Olympic Golds in a row, while Spain, France, Serbia look to make the Champions sweat for glory or better, shock the World. Spain, team USA's arch-nemesis, who is fresh off the win at FIBA WorldCup has given the USA a run for their money both in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic finals.