San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will lead the USA National Team for the first time in his career and he is delighted to have some high-profile names such as Houston Rockets James Harden and New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis. Pop will have to select 12 players for the upcoming FIBA World Cup in China, which means eight players from the provisional team will not travel to the Far East.
Alongside Harden and Davis, Popovich has numerous sharpshooters such as Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton.
“This group of players was picked for a variety of different reasons,” Popovich said. “Some similar, but you’ll find some who are already stars, others who have improved year in and year out and others who are budding stars. Each of them certainly deserves the honor to have the opportunity to try out for the team.”
Six new players who never played for Team USA were added including center Brook Lopez who impressed for the Milwaukee Bucks last season while veterans Paul Millsap and P.J. Tucker also made the provisional team.
Top NBA Draft prospect and former Duke Blue Devils star, Zion Williamson, will have an opportunity to play for his national side before appearing in an NBA game, just like it was the case with Anthony Davis a few years ago.
The Americans haven’t lost in major international competition since 2006 and they won the last two World Cups, the previous one in Spain in 2014.
Here is the list of 20 selected players:
James Harden, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets), Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks), Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers), Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), and Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets).