Selecting the perfect 12-man USA men's basketball roster to guarantee Olympic gold  

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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Bigs: Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, and Bam Adebayo

If Embiid can’t play due to injury: Jarrett Allen

One thing about international basketball that is different from the NBA is the level of physicality level. That is something that was exposed in the last FIBA World Cup. The US did not have a lot of size in order to combat that. Even in 2021, when they won gold, the frontcourt was not that strong. Fortunately, that will likely not be the case at this year’s Olympics.

When Joel Embiid announced that he would suit up for the US instead of France, a collective sigh of relief could be heard in the Team USA headquarters. Embiid gives the US exactly what they have been missing in the last couple international tournaments: a dominant inside presence. 

The 2023 MVP is one of the best big men in the NBA and was leading the league in scoring prior to his injury. He will likely be healthy by the summer, but the US should have a good backup plan in case he doesn’t. Enter Jarrett Allen.

Allen has been one of the more dominant big men in the league this season. He is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds and he’s at 33 double-doubles and counting, putting him in the top ten amongst big men. Allen is also a stout rim protector, which is a huge reason why the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the top five in defensive rating this season. If Embiid can’t go, the fro is the way to go.

As for Davis and Adebayo, they are two of the best defensive bigs in the NBA. Davis ranks fifth in the NBA in blocks per game and Adebayo can guard all five positions at an elite level. They also bring Olympic experience, as they have won one gold medal each. Having elite rim protection is imperative to international success, and all four bigs provide that.

The goal is simple for Team USA this summer: show the rest of the world that they are still the country to beat. With the number of stars expressing their desire to represent their country, the brain trust of Jerry Colangelo and Grant Hill should have no problem assembling another iteration of the Dream Team.