USA Olympic roster predictions: LeBron James, Stephen Curry headline most worthy 2024 U.S. basketball team picks | Sporting News

USA Olympic roster predictions: LeBron James, Stephen Curry headline most worthy 2024 U.S. basketball team picks | Sporting News

Team USA is coming off a disappointing fourth-place finish in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. That roster exposed holes that need to be patched up before the 2024 Paris Olympics. How can they best do that? 

The rest of the world has caught up quickly to America when it comes to top-end talent, but the USA still has the deepest pool of players to choose from. They should be able to continue their streak of four consecutive Olympic gold medals if more thought goes into picking pieces that fit well together.

The approach of taking the 12 best scorers doesn’t work anymore. USA Basketball officials seem to understand that — Jrue Holiday is being targeted for one of the spots, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, giving the team an elite perimeter defender that it could have used during the World Cup. He joins Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum as the “expected core of the team,” per Charania.

Other players in consideration to round out the roster include Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Bam Adebayo and Anthony Davis. 

That is obviously a stacked team talent-wise, but it doesn’t address the size problem that was Team USA’s Achilles heel last summer. International play uses different rules and has a different style, with rim protection and offensive rebounding being way more important due largely to a lack of defensive three seconds. 

We address those issues in our ideal roster build. Here is the best possible group that Team USA could pick. 

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Team USA roster predictions for 2024 Olympics


There are a lot of teams in international play that can shoot lights out, so that skill is also going to be at a premium for this roster. The international line is closer in than the NBA’s and there is more zone played, making shooting even more vital. 

Here are the three guards that should make the cut.

Stephen Curry

Curry has yet to earn an Olympic gold medal. What better way to do it than with his coach Steve Kerr heading Team USA’s staff? 

Curry is the best shooter in NBA history. He’s easy to play alongside, and guys love playing next to him. This is an easy addition. 

Anthony Edwards

Edwards has already shown that he can thrive in international play. He was the best player on Team USA’s FIBA World Cup team over the summer.

Edwards is obviously an extremely dynamic offensive player. He can get to the rim at will, and he’s an improved 3-point shooter. He’s also an underrated point-of-attack defender. When he locks in, his athleticism allows him to completely shut down players of all sizes.

Devin Booker

Booker is one of the great shot-makers in the league. He has expanded his facilitating and defense over the past few years as well. He helped Team USA win the gold medal in Tokyo, and he should be able to add another one to the collection. 

Apologies to: Damian Lillard, Ja Morant, James Harden, Donovan Mitchell, Jalen Brunson, Zach LaVine, Tyrese Haliburton, Austin Reaves, Trae Young, De’Aaron Fox, Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, Bradley Beal.


America has too many good forwards to choose from. Jimmy Butler was the first cut due to the premium that we’re placing on shooting. Two-way players are important, and these are the best of the best. 

Kevin Durant Phoenix Suns

Kevin Durant

Durant has maintained his level of excellence through his age-35 season. He’s still one of the best shooters in the league, and he can get a look off at any time. He’s also a very good defender and a nice secondary rim protector at 6-11.

Team USA is going to play some huge teams, so having Durant’s size at forward will be very important to stopping them. 

LeBron James

Do we really need to make a case for LeBron? He’s 39 and still amazingly one of the top 15 players in the league. He already has two gold medals. A third would be a storybook ending to his international career.

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Jayson Tatum

Tatum has said that he wants to play in his second Olympics. He’s another two-way player and elite scorer who can spread the floor with his shooting.

At age 26, Tatum would be a good bridge to eventually lead the team when some of these older players bow out. 

Paul George

George is another forward with size who can do a little bit of everything. He fits well on any team, particularly this one where he doesn’t need to be the best player on the floor at all times. He’s already shown this year on the Clippers that he can succeed in that role.

Apologies to: Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Zion Williamson, Khris Middleton, DeMar DeRozan, Mikal Bridges, Brandon Ingram.


This is the crucial part of Team USA’s roster build. When they’ve struggled in international play, it’s been because they are overlooking the need for a huge center on the floor.

We’re giving Team USA five big men, each with distinct strengths to go against different types of opponents. The guards and forwards on this team have more than enough scoring punch, and offense hasn’t been a problem for Team USA in the past.

These guys are here to provide defense, rebounding and toughness. 

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

Embiid is going to be maybe the most important player for this roster. He had previously announced at training camp back in October that he wanted to play for Team USA. He should be fully recovered from his torn meniscus by the time that players need to report. 

Embiid’s game is perfectly suited to international play. The Sixers like to keep him as close to the basket as possible, where he is a massive rim deterrent. Imagine if he could stay down there without ever having to clear out. He would be in contention for the best shot blocker in Paris. 

Anthony Davis

Davis is another elite rim protector who gives Team USA more versatility. He can switch better than Embiid, and he gives them a better vertical rim threat.

International teams have struggled with big men who can run the floor well. In that sense, Davis is a perfect fit for this roster.

Draymond Green

Green is obviously a very volatile player, but having old friends Curry and Kerr on the roster should help contain his emotions. And he helps unlock so much of what Curry does.

Green is still an extremely high-level defender, too. He’s maybe the greatest short-roll passer in the league, which will take away the option of double-teaming some of the more talented scoring options on this roster. 

Brook Lopez

Lopez makes this team for his sheer size. He’s 7-1 and 282 pounds. When Embiid needs a break or teams go with two big men, Lopez gives Team USA a player who can rebound, block shots and spread the floor.

Bam Adebayo

Adebayo is a great passer and a Defensive Player of the Year candidate because of how many different types of schemes he can play in. He’s also a good rebounder and ball-handler who can run the floor well. 

Apologies to: Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Robert Williams III, Jaren Jackson Jr., Nic Claxton, Myles Turner.

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