On the heels of its stunning loss to Australia in the early hours of Saturday morning, the United States men’s basketball team announced the 12-man roster that will travel to China for the FIBA World Cup. The announcement comes a little earlier than anticipated, in part because one player competing for a spot had to leave the team due to an injury.
The team announced that Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, who did not play in Saturday’s game against Australia due to a left ankle injury, will not make the trip to China. As such, the 12 players who will don the red, white, and blue this summer are Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Joe Harris, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Mason Plumlee, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Myles Turner, Kemba Walker, and Derrick White.
Considering where the team was at the start of the summer, when names like Anthony Davis and James Harden looked prepared to join the squad, it is a bit surprising where the group is now. Still, it’s a good group that has 12 NBA players, and beyond the various stars, it’s really cool that lesser-heralded guys like Harris, Plumlee, and White all made the team.
There are still some big questions about this squad — slowing down guys like Serbia’s Nikola Jokic, France’s Rudy Gobert, and especially Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo will be really hard, and outside of Middleton and Walker, there aren’t any current All-Stars on the roster. But there’s still a whole lot of talent, and Saturday’s loss to Australia aside, the expectation is this team can (and should) win a third consecutive World Cup.