San Antonio Spurs DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Derrick White were among the 44 finalists named for the 2020 Olympic team.
The NBA season is fully in swing but it’s not too early to begin looking ahead to the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics. USA Basketball took the first steps in building their final roster today, announcing the 44 finalists who will eventually make up the Olympic roster. The San Antonio Spurs were strongly represented among the names released. Marc Spears of ESPN tweeted out the full list of players earlier today.
Team USA will once again be led by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and three Spurs players were also included among the finalists. Derrick White is back after making the final FIBA World Cup roster this past summer and will be joined by DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. It’s nice to see all included among the finalists but to be frank, it’s unlikely that all, or any, of them, make the final roster.
The USA has dominated international basketball for years, this makes last summers disappointing FIBA World Cup performance all the more painful. As defending champions, Team USA was bounced out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by France and then lost a meaningless game to Serbia to put a final painful stamp on their summer adventure to China.
One of the most striking things about last summer’s roster was the absence of premier stars like Stephen Curry and James Harden. The FIBA World Cup simply didn’t have the draw that the Olympics have. As a result, the roster was made up of up and coming stars like Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Donovan Mitchell. All great players, but not quite on the level of Olympic teams of years past.
Looking at the 44 named finalists is clear that this year’s Olympic group will be vastly better than last summer’s roster. There’s plenty of top-level talent and several stars have already committed to playing. The presence of younger, more talented stars makes it somewhat unlikely that any of the San Antonio Spurs named as finalists end up making the final roster.
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With all due respect to White, there is almost no chance he makes the final roster over guys like Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, or James Harden. There’s simply too much talent at the guard position for him to have a real shot. DeMar DeRozan has a chance but even his odds are slim. If all named players are fully healthy and able to play it’s tough to see DeRozan making it past the final cuts.
Of the three, Aldridge has the best chance of making the final team. And even his odds aren’t great. Kevin Durant‘s health will be a big question mark, it’s unlikely that he would rush his recovery in order to play in the Olympics but recent videos of KD working out show him looking healthy. He could be ready to play in time.
Aldridge will also be competing against younger players like Anthony Davis, Brandon Ingram, and Bam Adebayo, all of whom would be great members of the team. These younger guys will have more energy in their legs and Aldridge couldn’t be blamed for bowing out of the competition early in order to focus on resting up for the 2020-21 NBA season.
Even if no San Antonio Spurs end up on the final roster for the 2020 Olympics, Spurs fans can take comfort knowing that Team USA is in good hands with Gregg Popovich at the helm.