Kevin Durant headlines the U.S. men’s basketball roster for Tokyo, which includes three returning Olympians, announced Monday.
Durant, a two-time gold medalist, is joined by 2012 Olympic teammate Kevin Love and 2016 Olympic teammate Draymond Green.
The other nine are Olympic rookies: Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Jerami Grant, Jrue Holiday, Zach LaVine, Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton and Jayson Tatum.
The team is, not surprisingly, low on Olympic experience. It lacks most NBA superstars, in part due to the NBA season starting and finishing later than usual (currently in the conference finals).
But the 2016 team had fewer returning Olympians (two) and still earned a third consecutive gold medal (albeit with close calls — three-point wins over France and Serbia and a six-point win over Spain).
Since, head coach Mike Krzyzewski was succeeded by Gregg Popovich. At the only major tournament in this Olympic cycle, the 2019 FIBA World Cup, the U.S. had its worst result ever — seventh place after losing to France in the quarterfinals. That roster had two 2019 NBA All-Stars (Kemba Walker and Middleton) and one player with Olympic experience (Harrison Barnes).
The U.S. men are grouped in Tokyo with France, Iran and the winner of a last-chance qualifying tournament in Victoria, B.C., potentially Canada.
This roster includes six 2021 NBA All-Stars (two replaced due to injuries) and nobody listed taller than 6 feet, 10 inches (Adebayo, Durant) for the first time since 1976.
Durant can this summer break the men’s U.S. Olympic record for career points.
Carmelo Anthony, not going to the Olympics for the first time since 2000, scored 336. Durant, in half as many Olympics, is at 311. Lisa Leslie holds the overall U.S. record of 488. Brazilian Oscar Schmidt holds the overall record for all nations with 1,093.
If the U.S. takes gold, Holiday and Lauren Holiday (née Cheney) become the first U.S. married couple to win Olympic titles in different sports, according to Bill Mallon of Olympedia.org. Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe, who are engaged, are already Olympic champions in different sports.
Green is the first player in the Dream Team era to make an Olympic team after averaging fewer than 10 points per game in the preceding NBA season (excluding Magic Johnson, who didn’t play in 1991-92, and collegians Christian Laettner, Emeka Okafor and Anthony Davis).
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