Anything short of a gold medal should be a major disappointment for the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Tokyo Olympics. Some of the best players in the NBA have committed to being part of the Team USA roster for the 2021 Summer Games.

Half of the roster was selected to this year’s All-Star Game, and eight of the 12 players have been All-Stars within the last two seasons. Four of the top-nine scorers in the 2021 NBA playoffs are part of Team USA.

The roster is led by Kevin Durant, who arguably has become the best basketball player in the world. Durant nearly carried the injury-riddled Brooklyn Nets to the conference finals, averaging 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists in a seven-game, second-round series loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Durant is the only member of the roster that has participated in two Olympics. The two-time NBA Finals MVP led Team USA with more than 19.0 points per game on the way to winning a gold medal at both the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Both Durant and Damian Lillard averaged 34.3 points per game this postseason. Lillard had the best regular season of anyone on Team USA, earning All-NBA Second-Team honors. 

Lillard leads a loaded backcourt that includes Bradley Beal, Devin Booker and Zach LaVine. Beal finished just behind Stephen Curry in the race for the 2021 scoring title. Booker became a bonafide superstar in the playoffs. LaVine was the only player in the regular season to average at least 27.0 points per game while shooting at least 50% from the field and 40% from three-point range.

 

 

Jayson Tatum was selected to be part of Team USA after making each of the last two All-Star teams. Tatum scored 50 points in the Boston Celtics’ play-in tournament game, as well as their only playoff victory.

Along with Durant, Kevin Love and Draymond Green are the only members of Team USA that have competed in the Olympics. Love led the 2012 Olympic Team with 7.6 rebounds per game. Green won a gold medal five years ago and finished third in the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year voting.

Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, two of the Bucks’ top three players, will be in Tokyo. Bam Adebayo will be part of Team USA less than a year after helping lead the Miami Heat to Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals inside the league’s bubble. 

Jerami Grant is the only player on the Team USA roster who has never been an All-Star. Grant was the runner-up for the 2021 Most Improved Player award, leading the Detroit Pistons with 22.3 points per game.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis, James Harden and Kyrie Irving all declined to be part of Team USA as they recover from injuries.

Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant reacts after his shot and no foul was called against the New Orleans Pelicans in the second quarter at Barclays Center in New York Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant reacts after his shot and no foul was called against the New Orleans Pelicans in the second quarter at Barclays Center in New York Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / ELSA