2020 United States men’s Olympic basketball team

The men’s national basketball team of the United States won the gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympics were delayed a year until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] It was the fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal for the Americans. Team USA qualified for the Olympics by finishing as one of the top two teams from the Americas at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019.[2]

2020 United States men’s Olympic basketball team
Head coach Gregg Popovich
2020 Summer Olympics
Scoring leader Kevin Durant

20.7
Rebounding leader Bam Adebayo

5.7
Assists leader Jrue Holiday

3.8
 2016
2024 

The U.S. team returned two Olympic gold medal winners in Kevin Durant (2012, 2016) and Draymond Green (2016). Unlike the 2019 World Cup team that finished in seventh place with a team of traditional centers and limited shooting, the Olympic team featured multi-positional players and adept shooters.[3] After the disappointing World Cup, in which only four of the initial 35 candidates were on the final roster,[4] star players began openly expressing an interest in joining the Olympic team.[5][6] While other countries had a core roster that has played together for years in multiple international tournaments, the U.S. team changed every year.[7][8][9]

Complicating the decision for National Basketball Association (NBA) players to commit to the Olympics was the pandemic’s impact on the league’s schedule. The 2020 NBA Finals did not end until October 11, 2020.[10] Although the start of the 2020–21 NBA season was delayed,[11] it still began 71 days after the prior Finals, as opposed to the usual 100 days or more.[1] The season was condensed with many back-to-back games.[10] While the 2021 Finals were scheduled to allow players time to travel to Tokyo,[12]the playoffs were ongoing while other countries were practicing.[11] The delayed season cut into Team USA’s time to gel and learn to play as a team.[13] Moreover, three team members played in the Finals, which did not conclude until July 20, and they missed all of training camp and the pre-Olympic exhibitions in Las Vegas.[10][14] The United States played their first game in the Olympics on July 25.[14]

. . . 2020 United States men’s Olympic basketball team . . .

  • February 10, 2020: 44 finalists announced[15]
  • March 30: Olympics postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic[16]
  • March 11, 2021: Player pool expanded to 57[17]
  • May 22 Start of NBA playoffs[12]
  • June 28: Initial 12-man roster named[18]
  • July 6: Start of training camp[19]
  • July 10–18: Exhibition games[20]
  • July 19 Initial flight to Tokyo[21]
  • July 20 End of NBA Finals[22]
  • July 25 – August 7: 2020 Summer Olympics[23]

The United States was coached by Gregg Popovich, who had won five NBA championships as head coach of the San Antonio Spurs. He made his head coaching debut for Team USA on the 2019 World Cup team in China.[24] In February 2020, USA Basketball announced an initial list of 44 finalists for the 2020 Summer Olympics, originally scheduled for July–Aug 2020.[15] After the Games were postponed until 2021, the list of finalists was expanded to 57 to remain flexible.[17][25] By the end of the 2020–21 NBA season, a number of All-Star level players were either injured or requiring extended recovery time for the upcoming season.[7] Olympic training camp took place while the 2021 NBA playoffs were ongoing.[19] No tryouts were held, with decisions on the final 12-man roster based in part on player health and availability.[17]

Kevin Durant winning a gold medal on the 2010 FIBA World Championship team in Turkey

An initial 12-man roster was named with a combined 37 NBA All-Star selections, led by Kevin Durant with 11.[3][26] He entered the 2020 Games ranked second in U.S. men’s Olympic basketball history with 311 career points,[27] needing just 25 more to match Carmelo Anthony‘s record of 336.[28][29] A two-time Olympic gold medalist from the 2012 and 2016 teams, Durant was joined on the squad by one other gold medal winner, his 2016 teammate Draymond Green, who he also played with on the Golden State Warriors.[30] Also committing to the team were four of the NBA’s top 10 scorers from the 2020–21 season with Bradley Beal (31.1 points per game), Damian Lillard (28.8), Zach LaVine (27.4) and Jayson Tatum (26.4).[31] Six players on the roster were named All-Stars in 2021,[32][33] but only two were among the past season’s 15 selections to the All-NBA Team—Lillard (first team) and Beal (second team).[34][35] While stocked with scorers, the original roster was limited in size; Bam Adebayo and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kevin Love were the lone traditional interior players.[30][36] The team also lacked a primary facilitating guard;[37][38] when not leading a pick and roll, Lillard is primarily an isolation scorer.[39] Alternatively, the United States could use Durant as a point forward and utilize big men Green and Adebayo’s playmaking skills.[38]Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks and Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns were named to the roster, but missed all of training camp and the exhibition games while playing in the 2021 NBA Finals.[24][40] Middleton and Tatum were the only returnees from the 2019 World Cup team.[9]

After playing in three exhibition games, Beal was ruled out for the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.[41][42][43] A starter in all three games, he was expected to be one of the team’s primary scorers.[44] Love also withdrew from the team, stating that he was not fully recovered from a right calf injury that sidelined him for much of the prior NBA season.[45] They were replaced by JaVale McGee and Keldon Johnson. A journeyman, 7-foot (2.1 m), shot-blocking center, McGee was a finalist for the Olympic team and has won three NBA championships,[45][46][47] including two with Durant and Green on the Warriors. He helped to fill Team USA’s need for size after being outrebounded during exhibition games.[8] The second-year forward Johnson had been playing with the Olympic team as a member of the U.S. Select Team and had been with San Antonio for two seasons under Popovich.[46][47] USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo stated that injuries and players’ contract status, among other factors, impacted the roster decisions. “Some people say, ‘Well what about that guy?’ Well, there is a reason. You think we’re stupid? We know who can play and who can’t play”, he said.[47]

The roster was updated on July 16, 2021.[48][49]

United States men’s national basketball team – 2020 Summer Olympics roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Age – Date of birth Height Club Ctr.
F/C 13 Bam Adebayo 24 – (1997-07-18)July 18, 1997 6 ft 9 in(2.06 m) Miami Heat
G 15 Devin Booker 24 – (1996-10-30)October 30, 1996 6 ft 5 in(1.96 m) Phoenix Suns
F 7 Kevin Durant 32 – (1988-09-29)September 29, 1988 6 ft 10 in(2.08 m) Brooklyn Nets
F 9 Jerami Grant 27 – (1994-03-12)March 12, 1994 6 ft 8 in(2.03 m) Detroit Pistons
F 14 Draymond Green 31 – (1990-03-04)March 4, 1990 6 ft 6 in(1.98 m) Golden State Warriors
G 12 Jrue Holiday 31 – (1990-06-12)June 12, 1990 6 ft 3 in(1.91 m) Milwaukee Bucks
F 4 Keldon Johnson 21 – (1999-10-11)October 11, 1999 6 ft 5 in(1.96 m) San Antonio Spurs
G 5 Zach LaVine 26 – (1995-03-10)March 10, 1995 6 ft 5 in(1.96 m) Chicago Bulls
G 6 Damian Lillard 31 – (1990-07-15)July 15, 1990 6 ft 2 in(1.88 m) Portland Trail Blazers
C 11 JaVale McGee 33 – (1988-01-19)January 19, 1988 7 ft 0 in(2.13 m) Denver Nuggets
F 8 Khris Middleton 29 – (1991-08-12)August 12, 1991 6 ft 7 in(2.01 m) Milwaukee Bucks
F 10 Jayson Tatum 23 – (1998-03-03)March 3, 1998 6 ft 8 in(2.03 m) Boston Celtics
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Legend
  • Club – describes last
    club before the tournament
  • Age – describes age
    on July 25, 2021

Roster

The following were also candidates to make the team:

Earlier candidates
Player NBA Team[lower-alpha 1] Added Removed Reason
Marcus Smart Boston Celtics February 10, 2020[15] March 11, 2021 Injured[17]
Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors Injured[17]
LaMarcus Aldridge Brooklyn Nets April 16, 2021 Retired[51]
Victor Oladipo Miami Heat May 12, 2021 Injured[10][52]
LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers June 3, 2021 Withdrew[53][54]
Anthony Davis Los Angeles Lakers June 7, 2021 Injured[55]
Jimmy Butler Miami Heat June 16, 2021 Withdrew[53][56]
Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors June 21, 2021 Withdrew[53][57]
Donovan Mitchell Utah Jazz Injured[53][58]
Chris Paul Phoenix Suns June 22, 2021 Withdrew[53][59]
Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets June 23, 2021 Injured[60][61]
Kyle Lowry Toronto Raptors Withdrew[53][62]
James Harden Brooklyn Nets June 24, 2021 Injured[53][63]
Harrison Barnes Sacramento Kings June 28, 2021 Not named to 12-man roster[18]
Malcolm Brogdon Indiana Pacers
Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics
Mike Conley Utah Jazz
DeMar DeRozan San Antonio Spurs
Andre Drummond Los Angeles Lakers
Paul George Los Angeles Clippers
Montrezl Harrell Los Angeles Lakers
Joe Harris Brooklyn Nets
Tobias Harris Philadelphia 76ers
Gordon Hayward Charlotte Hornets
Dwight Howard Philadelphia 76ers
Brandon Ingram New Orleans Pelicans
Kyle Kuzma Los Angeles Lakers
Kawhi Leonard Los Angeles Clippers
Brook Lopez Milwaukee Bucks
Mason Plumlee Detroit Pistons
Myles Turner Indiana Pacers
Kemba Walker Boston Celtics
Russell Westbrook Washington Wizards
Derrick White San Antonio Spurs
Jarrett Allen Cleveland Cavaliers March 11, 2021[17]
Eric Gordon Houston Rockets
Jerami Grant Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin Brooklyn Nets
DeAndre Jordan Brooklyn Nets
Julius Randle New York Knicks
Duncan Robinson Miami Heat
Mitchell Robinson New York Knicks
Fred VanVleet Toronto Raptors
John Wall Houston Rockets
Zion Williamson New Orleans Pelicans
Christian Wood Houston Rockets
Trae Young Atlanta Hawks
Bradley Beal Washington Wizards February 10, 2020[15] July 15, 2021 COVID-19[41][43]
Kevin Love Cleveland Cavaliers July 16, 2021 Injured[45]
  1. Team at the time player was a candidate

. . . 2020 United States men’s Olympic basketball team . . .

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. . . 2020 United States men’s Olympic basketball team . . .