Team USA roster, schedule, rules

The road to a fourth straight gold medal, at least in the beginning, has been thorny for Team America’s men’s basketball team.

It lost its first two show games – to Nigeria and Australia. Some of the top NBA stars have turned down the invitation. Two late substitutions had to be added and the roster remained stable even as the team moved to Tokyo. It sets up a fascinating 2021 Olympics for the United States, which has lost four of its last five games since the 2019 World Cup, in which the Americans finished seventh.

This team, coached by Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, was not allowed to struggle to finish first in Tokyo. Despite the ominous early signs, however, there is every possibility that the US team will be fine – they are still a favorite of -350 people, according to BetMGM – with a lot of high-level talent at hand.

Follow all the action of the 2020 Olympics

Here are the details for the 2021 Olympics men’s basketball tournament:

Team USA

No LeBron James. No Steph curry. There is no Kawhi Leonard. No James Harden or Kyrie Irving. Some of the NBA’s top American players have opted out of the Olympics for a variety of reasons, ranging from lethargy to injury to a preference for rest. That doesn’t mean the team lacks stars. It still includes superstars like Kevin Durant of the Nets, Damian Lillard of the Trail Blazers and Jayson Tatum of the Celtics.

Gregg Popovich chats with Draymond Green during Team USA practice.
Gregg Popovich and Draymond Green
NBAE via Getty Images

Bradley Beal of the Wizards must be replaced due to complications with COVID-19. And Cavaliers’ Kevin Love withdraws, leading to the additions of Keldon Johnson of the Spurs and JaVale McGee of the Nuggets. Suns star Devin Booker and Bucks duo Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are flying in to join the team after playing in the NBA Finals. It’s a very fledgling team in terms of Olympic experience: Only Durant and former Warriors teammate/antagonist Draymond Green have competed at the Olympics before, winning gold in 2016.

Popovich was joined on the sidelines by Villanova assistants Jay Wright, Warriors Steve Kerr and Pacers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce.

Schedule of the US team

The 12 teams are divided into three groups of four. The top two teams in each group along with the two best third-placed teams advance to the quarter-finals. Team USA is in the same group with France, Iran and Czech Republic. Each team played three matches in the group stage.

Sunday, July 25: Team USA vs France, 8am ET (live on Peacock, replays on NBC after 12:15pm)

Wednesday, July 28: Team USA vs Iran, 12:40 a.m. ET (live on Peacock, replays on NBC at 3 p.m. ET)

Saturday, July 31: Team USA vs Czech Republic, 8 a.m. ET (live on Peacock, replays on NBC at 4 p.m. ET)

Rudy Gobert of France defends Marc Gasol of Spain in a pre-Olympic tuning match.
Rudy Gobert (France) and Marc Gasol (Spain) lead their teams to the 2021 Olympics tournament.


Nigeria and Australia are not entitled to a discount after take down Team USA in the exhibits.

Nigeria has eight NBA players, the most from any team outside the United States, and Australia has NBA stalwarts Patty Mills and Joe Ingles. Other countries to watch include Slovenia, which overtook Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic for the first time; France, featuring NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert as well as Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina and Clippers forward Nicolas Batum; and Spain, including the Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc, along with point guard Ricky Rubio.


The international game is different from the NBA. The games were shorter – 40 minutes instead of 48 – although overtime was the same five minutes. Players are only allowed 5 fouls and a technical foul is considered a personal foul. The 3-point line is shorter: 22 feet, 1.75 inches at the top of the arc (23 feet, 9 inches in the NBA) and 21 feet, 8 inches at the corners (22 feet in the NBA). All zone defense manners are allowed. No defense three seconds. Finally, there is no such thing as basket intervention. After it hits the rim, it’s fair game. | Team USA roster, schedule, rules


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