What a U.S. men’s basketball roster looks like based on All-NBA teams

Jayson Tatum, Stephen Curry

The All-NBA teams released Wednesday indicate a hypothetical but ideal U.S. men’s basketball roster for this summer’s FIBA World Cup, and early top candidates for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

For the first time in history, four or the five players on the All-NBA first team are international — center Joel Embiid (Cameroon, though he is also eligible to represent France and the U.S.), forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) and guards Luka Doncic (Slovenia) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada).

That’s another sign that a U.S. team that doesn’t have a large group of its best players will be vulnerable come the World Cup in August and September in the Philippines and the Paris Games. The U.S. World Cup roster is not expected to be named until after the NBA Finals.

In total, Americans filled nine of the 15 slots on the All-NBA first, second and third teams. Players who also received votes were also announced, which allows creating this fantasy roster of the top 12 U.S. players from the past regular season (as voted on by people who cover the NBA):

Guards: Donovan Mitchell (second team, 349 vote points), Stephen Curry (second team, 188 vote points), De’Aaron Fox (third team, 144 vote points), Damian Lillard (third team 137 vote points)
Forwards: Jayson Tatum (first team, 484 vote points), Jimmy Butler (second team, 182 vote points), Jaylen Brown (second team, 169 vote points), Julius Randle (third team, 125 vote points), LeBron James (third team, 81 vote points)
Centers: Anthony Davis (also receiving votes, 65 vote points), Bam Adebayo (also receiving votes, 9 vote points)

The hypothetical 12th and final spot would go to Ja Morant at guard (44 vote points) or Kevin Durant at forward (35 vote points).

The All-NBA voting supports what recent years have shown: center is the position of need for USA Basketball over the next two years. Getting an Olympic commit from Davis or Embiid could be paramount for U.S. national team director Grant Hill and head coach Steve Kerr.

Though he didn’t make an All-NBA team this season, Davis received by far the most votes among U.S. centers and is the lone American to make an All-NBA first, second or third team at center in the last six seasons. However, he did not play in either of the last two Olympics after injury-filled seasons.

Then there’s Embiid, the NBA MVP. He has never played in a major international tournament and appears to be eligible to play for his native Cameroon, France or the U.S. Cameroon didn’t qualify for the World Cup, making it unlikely that it qualifies for the Olympics, so it’s expected that Embiid will choose between the U.S. and France.

France’s head coach said two weeks ago that he doesn’t think Embiid will play at the World Cup because he is getting married this summer, giving Embiid more time to decide on his nationality.

What’s more, France, which beat the U.S. in group play at the Tokyo Olympics and lost the final 87-82, could field a team with three premier 7-footers: Rudy Gobert, projected No. 1 NBA Draft pick Victor Wembanyama and Embiid.

For the last World Cup in 2019, the U.S. roster included one of the 11 Americans who made an All-NBA team the previous season (Kemba Walker). That U.S. team lost twice at the World Cup and finished seventh overall, the worst major tournament result in U.S. men’s basketball history.

For the Tokyo Olympics, the original U.S. roster included two of the 10 Americans who made an All-NBA team the previous season (Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard). Beal withdrew before the Games due to COVID-19.

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Iga Swiatek wins third French Open title, fourth Grand Slam, but this final was not easy


Iga Swiatek won her third French Open title and her fourth Grand Slam overall, pushed to a third set in a major final for the first time.

Swiatek, a 22-year-old Pole, outlasted unseeded Czech Karolina Muchova 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday at Roland Garros. Muchova tested Swiatek, the only singles player in the Open Era to win their first seven major final sets. She became the first player to take a set off Swiatek in the tournament.

Swiatek looked en route to another major final sweep, up 3-0 in the second set. She then committed 11 unforced errors (versus four winners) over the rest of the set as Muchova rallied back (with 10 winners versus 11 unforced errors).

Muchova then won the first eight points of the third set. Swiatek, under the most pressure of her career on the sport’s biggest stages, passed the test. The players exchanged breaks of serve, and Muchova had another break point for a chance to serve for the championship, but Swiatek fended her off.

“After so many ups and downs, I kind of stopped thinking about the score,” Swiatek said. “I wanted to use my intuition more because I knew that I can play a little bit better if I’m going to get a little bit more loosened up.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

No woman lower than the 14th seed has beaten both world Nos. 1 and 2 at a Grand Slam since the WTA rankings began in 1975. Muchova, ranked 43rd, nearly pulled it off.

“The feeling is a little bitter because I felt it was very close,” she said. “But overall, I mean, to call myself Grand Slam finalist, it’s amazing achievement.”

The French Open finishes Sunday with the men’s final. Novak Djokovic faces Casper Ruud, eyeing a 23rd major title to break his tie with Rafael Nadal for the men’s singles record. NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock air live coverage at 9 a.m. ET.

Go back to the fall 2020 French Open. Swiatek, a 54th-ranked teen, won the tournament without dropping a set for her first tour-level title.

Since, she climbed to the top of the rankings (and has stayed there for 62 weeks running), tied the longest WTA win streak in 32 years (37 matches in a row in 2022) and won majors on clay and hard courts.

She beat challengers from different categories in major finals: a Slam champ (Sofia Kenin), a teen phenom (Coco Gauff), an emerged rival (Ons Jabeur) and now an unseeded (because of injuries)-but-dangerous veteran in Muchova. Swiatek is the youngest woman to reach four major titles since Serena Williams in 2002.

Yet this French Open began with talk of a Big Three in women’s tennis rather than singular dominance. Since last year’s French Open, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and Russian-born Kazakh Elena Rybakina both won their first major and beat Swiatek multiple times.

Swiatek faced neither in Paris but still called it “a pretty stressful tournament,” noting a right thing injury that forced her to retire during her last match before the tournament.

Sabalenka was stunned by Muchova in Thursday’s semifinals, the erratic serving and nerves of her past reappearing. Rybakina had to withdraw earlier in the tournament due to illness.

Next up: the grass court season and Wimbledon, where Swiatek hasn’t made it past the fourth round in three tries. She did win the 2018 junior title at the All England Club. but Sabalenka and Rybakina have had more recent success there.

If Swiatek can lift the Venus Rosewater Dish, she will be an Australian Open shy of a career Grand Slam. Her chances of adding an Olympic gold medal to that collection are very high, given Roland Garros hosts tennis at the 2024 Paris Games.

“I’m not setting these crazy records or goals for myself,” she said. “I know that keeping it cool is the best way to do it for me.”

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Novak Djokovic into French Open final with records at stake after beating Carlos Alcaraz


Novak Djokovic heads into Sunday’s French Open final with all sorts of history at stake after eliminating a cramping Carlos Alcaraz in a showdown semifinal.

Djokovic faces Casper Ruud, eyeing a 23rd major title to break his tie with Rafael Nadal for the men’s singles record. NBC, NBCSports.com/live, the NBC Sports app and Peacock air live coverage at 9 a.m. ET.

On Friday, Djokovic took out the top seed Alcaraz 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, but the match was even when Alcaraz began showing signs of right leg cramping. The 20-year-old Spaniard attributed it to the “tension” of the match, saying he was nervous for his first time facing Djokovic at a major.

“I have never felt something like I did today,” he said, adding that it was full-body cramps. “If someone says that he get into the court with no nerves playing against Novak, he lies.”

Alcaraz stopped play at 1-all in the third set and had trouble walking. He forfeited the next game, stipulated by the rules for receiving medical treatment for severe muscle cramping when not at a change of ends or end of a set.

Djokovic then won the next nine games. Alcaraz played with limited mobility and without the charismatic magic that’s charmed the tennis world.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

“First and foremost, I have to say tough luck for Carlos. I feel for him. I feel sorry,” Djokovic said to begin an on-court interview. “I told him at the net he knows how young he is. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him, so he’s going to win this tournament, I’m sure, many, many times.”

Djokovic was told of Alcaraz’s reasoning for the cramps.

“I have experienced that several times,” he said. “Early in my career I was struggling quite a bit physically. I can understand the emotions and circumstances that affect you mentally and emotionally.”

The semi was billed as perhaps the greatest inter-generational match in men’s tennis history, the first time that Alcaraz played a member of the Big Three at a major.

Their 16-year age gap was the largest to take place for men this deep in a major since the 1991 U.S. Open (Jim Courier d. Jimmy Connors) and the largest age gap for any major match between Slam champs since 2006 Wimbledon (Rafael Nadal d. Andre Agassi).

Unlike Friday, most of the previous torch-passing meetings took place when one man was not yet at his peak or the other was past his prime.

Typically, the younger player wins these types of duels. Djokovic, by prevailing over a foe 16 years younger this late in a major, broke the Open Era men’s age gap record of 14-plus years set by Roger Federer, who beat Hyeon Chung at the 2018 Australian Open.

Now, Djokovic heads to Sunday’s final as an overwhelming favorite against the Norwegian Ruud, a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 winner over German Alexander Zverev in the later semifinal. Ruud was runner-up to Nadal at last year’s French Open and runner-up to Alcaraz at last year’s U.S. Open.

Djokovic can become the first man to win all four majors at least three times. He can break Nadal’s record as the oldest French Open singles champion.

“I’ve been very fortunate that most of the matches in tournaments I’ve played in the last few years, there is history on the line,” he said. “The motivation is very high, as you can imagine.”

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