Youth Takes Center Stage: U.S. Men’s Basketball Embraces All-NBA-Free Roster for FIBA World Cup

U.S. men's basketball team for FIBA World Cup features a youthful roster devoid of All-NBA players, signaling a new era for American hoops on the global stage.

The U.S. men’s basketball roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup has raised eyebrows with its distinct lack of All-NBA players and the absence of anyone over the age of 28. The 12-man team features three 2023 NBA All-Stars, including Anthony Edwards, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Tyrese Haliburton, but none of them have yet made an All-NBA team in their careers.

The remainder of the squad includes Paolo Banchero, Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Cameron Johnson, Walker Kessler, Bobby Portis, and Austin Reaves. Portis, at 28 years old, is the oldest player on the team, while 20-year-old Banchero would be the youngest American man to play at a World Cup since Dwight Howard in 2006.

This marks the first time under NBA participation that a U.S. men’s basketball roster for an Olympics or a World Cup lacks any All-NBA players. Although there were no NBA players on the 1998 World Cup roster due to a lockout, previous teams had included All-NBA talent.

This trend can be attributed to a rise in non-Americans being recognized on All-NBA teams, as well as star players opting to rest during the offseason. Furthermore, some of the world’s top players, such as NBA MVP Joel Embiid and French prodigy Victor Wembanyama, have chosen not to participate in the World Cup.

The U.S. men’s basketball team’s recent performances have also impacted the roster composition. In the 2019 World Cup, the team suffered two losses and finished in seventh place, their worst result in a major tournament. However, they rebounded to claim the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics, despite experiencing their first Olympic loss since 2004 in a group stage defeat to France.

The previous three U.S. rosters for the World Cup included at least one player who had made the All-NBA team in the previous season. In contrast, Olympic rosters tend to feature more well-known names.

The upcoming World Cup, co-hosted by Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia, will take place in August and September. The U.S. team will exclusively play their games in the Philippines. Steve Kerr has assumed the role of head coach from Gregg Popovich.

As the U.S. men’s basketball team embraces a youthful and All-NBA-free roster, they aim to improve upon their disappointing performance in the 2019 World Cup and assert their dominance on the global stage once again.

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