At the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2023, who should start for Team USA? 

As the players were unveiled for the United States squad for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, there was some criticism, but you should hold off until you see the final roster.

(Basketball news) As more players were revealed and the team’s whole roster took shape, it became clear that USA Basketball had a plan for this group of players. The idea was to start young and develop some of the NBA’s brightest future talents so they could play in future FIBA and Olympic competitions.

Josh Hart and Bobby Portis, who are both just 28 years old, are the oldest players on the squad. Paolo Banchero, the youngest player on the team, is only 20 years old, making him too young to even legally consume alcohol in the United States.

The average age of the roster is 24.4 years old, with Anthony Edwards (21) being the youngest at 25, followed by Tyrese Haliburton (23), Jaren Jackson Jr. (23), Austin Reaves (25), Walker Kessler (22), and Brandon Ingram (25). A talented 12-man unit is completed by Cam Johnson (27), Jalen Brunson (26), and Mikal Bridges (26), who should gel well together based on their expected playstyles and positions.

Who should start for Team USA at 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup?

  • Guard: Jalen Brunson
  • Guard: Anthony Edwards
  • Forward: Mikal Bridges
  • Forward: Paolo Banchero
  • Center: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Coach Kerr must make a difficult choice for his starting five, especially in the backcourt and the two forward spots. As the best real big man on the roster, Jaren Jackson Jr. is the only player I can declare with certainty will start. Based on matchups, Walker Kessler and Bobby Portis will probably fill the reserve minutes behind Jackson Jr. The other four starting positions appear to be equally replaceable after the current Defensive Player of the Year.

Backcourt discussion:

For the two starting backcourt positions, Jalen Brunson, Anthony Edwards, and Tyrese Haliburton are likely to compete. The trio can play either on or off the ball, therefore any combination of them is effective.

Edwards will be given the nod at the two since he has a strong argument for being the team’s best player and will likely wind up scoring the most points for the United States. Even though I believe Haliburton is the team’s best playmaker, I can imagine Kerr giving Brunson the starting one spot based on his experience and leadership in the starting five. The odd man out, Austin Reaves, should still play a few minutes to provide some offense off the bench.

Forward discussion:

There are three applicants for two positions, therefore Brandon Ingram, Mikal Bridges, and Paolo Banchero are in a same predicament as the guards. The frontcourt could use Banchero’s size at 6-10, 250 lbs., despite the fact that he may be the youngest player on the squad. He’ll be able to assist Jackson Jr. on the boards, and the United States will have a special weapon thanks to his skill set as a scoring and playmaking power forward.

Bridges is the more effective perimeter defender of the two and might compensate for Brunson’s shortcomings there. Although Ingram is a superior scorer and offensive catalyst than Edwards, his skills might be more useful when Edwards isn’t on the court. Banchero could potentially come off the bench, and the Bridges-Ingram forward combination gives Team USA a potent attack and better outside shooting. Which of these three players will occupy the two starting forward positions is what interests me the most.

Josh Hart will be a high-energy defensive stopper who can ignite the United States with his contagious effort, while Cam Johnson will see time as a 3-and-D floor spacer off the bench. There are several possible lineup combinations, so don’t be surprised if Kerr juggles them during the competition. No matter who begins, the United States will undoubtedly have the most talented team at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Team USA schedule at 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup:

DateOpponentTime (ET)
Saturday, Aug. 26vs. New Zealand8:40 a.m.
Monday, Aug. 28vs. Greece8:40 a.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 30vs. Jordan4:40 a.m.

Also read: Anthony Edwards and Paolo Banchero are the stars of the USA FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 roster, male USA team


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