It looks like Trae Young has a good chance of getting to suit up for Team USA for the first time in his career.
After rejections in 2019 and 2021, Trae and Bradley Beal are seen as locks to play for their country in the World Cup this summer in the Philippines, according to an article from The Athletic’s Joe Vardon.
Young has a good relationship with Grant Hill, who is a minority owner of the Hawks and Team USA’s new managing director. With Hill and Steve Kerr in charge, playing for the National Team won’t require a multi-summer commitment from stars, which should help them receive more interest from older stars
Team USA finished in seventh in the 2019 World Cup before narrowly winning the gold medal in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. It may be easier for them to field a team of former gold medalists like Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Bam Adebayo, Khris Middleton and Zach LaVine when they travel to play in the Paris Olympics in 2024, but the World Cup may be difficult.
Beal, who has played in the Olympics, has yet to play in the World Cup, which seems to be some added motivation for him to participate, despite
“I’ve never gotten the opportunity to do a World Cup. As long as I’m healthy, injury-free, and there’s a place for me on the team, yeah, I’ll probably be there in the Philippines.”
Vardon referenced a handful of other young stars that could land on Team USA’s roster. That list includes Tyrese Maxey, Desmond Bane, Jordan Poole, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Zion Williamson as guys that have a real chance of playing based on fit, connections or previous experience practicing with the team. Vardon also mentions some other possible young guns like Ja Morant, LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Scottie Barnes and Evan Mobley and a more experienced player like Donovan Mitchell, who played in the 2019 World Cup.
Then there’s the X factor. The superstar who gained citizenship in both France and the USA over the summer, which could result in countries making recruiting pitches for his services. Joel Embiid’s decision could impact the landscape of the Olympics.
For Team USA, it won’t be just about getting a superstar of Embiid’s talent on their roster. It’ll be about preventing France from fielding a lineup of Embiid, Rudy Gobert and Victor Wembanyama.
Team USA is always in a good position to fight for a gold medal, but the roster assembly in this new era of the country’s basketball will be crucial in maintaining their place as the top team in the world ranking.