Just over four months have passed since the tournament concluded, but it still doesn't feel like all that long ago since Team USA limped to a fourth-place finish in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. Led by NBA stars Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, and Jaren Jackson Jr., the Americans were unseated from their throne atop the basketball world as Germany took home gold.
After earning the title of world champions in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, USA has since failed to medal in both 2019 and 2023, finishing in seventh and fourth place, respectively. As a result, Team USA is once again gearing up to re-establish its place atop the basketball world by assembling the best team possible for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris this summer.
We've got our first idea of what that team just might look like, as USA Basketball formally announced the 41 players who qualified for the preliminary part of the process. This pool of players features 28 former members of a Team USA Olympic or World Cup roster, as well as 13 intriguing newcomers.
These 41 players will each have a chance to qualify for the Olympic roster, but it won't be easy. That's because only 12 players can make the final cut before the team heads to Paris. The USA has won four consecutive Olympic gold medals dating back to 2008, and has won seven of the last eight Olympic games as a whole. To put it plainly, there's a reputation to uphold here.
Alex Caruso has a chance to represent the Bulls for Team USA during the 2024 Olympic Games.
As you may have noticed, the Bulls have a player who's been selected to potentially represent the team later this summer. It wasn't Chicago's star duo of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, or even the young up-and-coming talent on this roster such as Coby White or Patrick Williams who caught Team USA's attention, but rather the quintessential perfect role player Alex Caruso.
This wouldn't be the first time Caruso has been approached to play for Team USA either, as Steve Kerr reportedly specifically pursued Caruso, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. to join 2023's World Cup roster. Of these three, Caruso would be the only player to decline the offer in the end.
Judging by their disappointing finish, Team USA could have really used a player like Caruso on their roster in September. There's still time for the two to correct their mistake, however, as I'm sure he'd jump at the opportunity to win an Olympic gold medal. As one of the best perimeter defenders in the world with a rapidly improving three-point shot — shooting 42% from beyond the arc this season — he would be an invaluable asset to complement the skill sets of the stars who will inevitably lead the team.
Even with all his merits, it'll still be a tough call in the end. With only enough space for 12 players to make the cut, Team USA will have to be particularly frugal with whom they extend offers. That much is especially true when certain players are particularly guaranteed to still be on the team later this summer.
I'd expect to see the likes of LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, and Jayson Tatum regardless of what happens in training camp. That realistically only leaves six roster spots up for grabs, with many other superstars likely to get a head start in consideration.
Still, Caruso's favor with Steve Kerr, his world-class two-way ability, and his on-court coaching presence would serve Team USA extremely well. Stay tuned to see if Caruso survives the great many cuts this team will have to make before the Olympics kick off in July.