Best players on Team USA, ranked: Where Stephen Curry, LeBron James & more land on 2024 Olympic basketball roster | Sporting News India

Best players on Team USA, ranked: Where Stephen Curry, LeBron James & more land on 2024 Olympic basketball roster | Sporting News India

The 2024 Paris Olympics are quickly approaching and USA Basketball has assembled one of its most talented men’s rosters ever. Some are even saying it could be the most talented ever.

Regardless of where this iteration of Team USA stands in the all-time conversation, the first matter of hand is the pursuit of a fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. As the journey begins, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, who is an Olympic first-timer, made headlines by proclaiming he’ll be the team’s No. 1 option.

The truth of the matter is that Team USA is talented enough to have a different No. 1 option depending on the pulse of that particular game, but there is likely a particular order in which head coach Steve Kerr and staff would prefer things to go.

Who is the best player on this talented squad? Based on this past NBA season, the FIBA game and circumstance, The Sporting News attempts the near-impossible task of placing 12 of America’s best in order.

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Best players on Team USA, ranked

1. Stephen Curry

Curry’s Olympic debut is sure to be a memorable one. With Golden State’s Play-In Tournament elimination, Curry has had the benefit of an extended offseason to prepare for Paris.

The greatest shooter in the world playing with a shorter 3-point line will be scary for any team that faces Team USA. After shooting 40.8 percent on 11.8 3-point attempts per game in 2023-24, Curry should have a field day.

2. Joel Embiid

Embiid will also benefit from having a long layoff after Philadelphia’s early playoff exit. The FIBA game is beneficial for dominant big men and Embiid is just that. His value will be on full display throughout the Olympics as he’ll be surrounded by players who complement his strengths.

It’s easy to forget Embiid averaged 34.7 points in only 33.6 minutes per game in 2023-24.

LeBron James Kevin Durant USA Olympics 041524

3. LeBron James

If this is the last Olympic hoorah for James, you can guarantee he’ll make the most of it.

James, a two-time gold medalist and soon-to-be four-time Olympian, is somehow at the top of his game at 39. He’ll be the floor general for a talented team that will benefit from his cerebral approach and playmaking abilities.

4. Jayson Tatum

On the heels of an NBA title in June, Tatum looks to join the elite group of players to win a championship and Olympic gold in the same summer. After being the focal point of opposing defenses throughout the playoffs, the Celtics star can breathe easily, meaning the scoring should also come easily.

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5. Anthony Davis

It’s been 12 years since Davis took the floor on the Olympic stage but he now has an opportunity to apply the wisdom passed to him when he was a 19-year-old incoming rookie. Davis is a defensive mastermind and one of the game’s most skilled players.

Davis’ rim protection and defensive prowess will be one of the keys to America having a chance to dominate.

6. Kevin Durant

Durant entered Olympic training camp hobbled by a calf injury, or else he’d jump higher on the list.

One of the purest scorers the game has ever seen, Durant has an opportunity to make it four consecutive gold medals. Even at 35, he still makes it look easy. The Olympics should be no different.

7. Anthony Edwards

To say Edwards is on the precipice of a superstar leap, his landing at seventh is not meant as disrespect. The FIBA game suits Edwards well, as evidenced by his dominant play during last year’s World Cup.

Edwards’ scoring is loud, but the other underrated elements of his game is what will pain opponents.

Booker Batum Tokyo 2020

8. Devin Booker

In 2021, Booker helped lead Team USA to gold as a starter on a team that rang off five straight wins after a stunning loss to open the tournament. He’s three years older and an even better player now, and the experience from his first Olympic showing will benefit Booker in 2024.

9. Kawhi Leonard

This is also the Olympic debut for Leonard, who will head to Paris despite injury woes ending his playoff run early.

Leonard is still an elite two-way talent but a cautious approach could result in a more limited workload for the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

10. Bam Adebayo

It’s important not to understate the importance of the big man in FIBA play. Adebayo led Team USA in rebounding at the Tokyo Olympics and has an opportunity to show just why he’s viewed by many as one of the league’s more underrated players. Adebayo gets a chance to do a little bit of everything in Paris.

11. Jrue Holiday

Holiday lands at 11 but could very well be the most important player on this roster.

USA Basketball made it a point to add Holiday, who, as shown during the NBA Finals, is the perfect glue guy to ensure everything goes as it should. His perimeter defense will also stymie opponents.

MORE: Tyrese Haliburton ready to meet gold standard set by USA Basketball at Olympics

12. Tyrese Haliburton

To be last among the country’s greatest players is not a slight but a commentary on how good this Team USA roster is.

Haliburton, who is one of the world’s best pure point guards, will be in paradise with the amount of players he can now set up.

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