It is always an exciting honor for NBA fans when stars from their favorite teams go on to represent the United States of America in international competitions.
For Cleveland Cavaliers fans, it appears as though the upcoming 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup and 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris might offer a double dip of such an honor. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Cavs All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen have expressed strong interest in joining Team USA.
“Everybody wants to go to Paris,” Garland said.
Garland added that it has been a goal for him to win a gold medal since very early in his basketball career when he first started playing for Team USA.
“Representing my country means a lot to me,” said Garland, who’s nursing an eye injury at present. “I’ve been in USA Basketball since I was 16 and I’ve never won a gold medal. That’s something I really want to do, something I’m going to accomplish.”
As for Allen, he’s reportedly already expected to get “strong consideration” from new Team USA head coach Steve Kerr.
Not only will Steve Kerr be the next Team USA coach, I’m told, but Cavs center Jarrett Allen is going to get strong consideration to be on the next team. The World Cup is in 2023 and the Olympics in 2024.
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) December 10, 2021
Allen offers the kind of skill set that is extremely valuable for international teams. He’s a defensive anchor that can be plugged in to overpower opposing players. Though that kind of defensive-minded big man has become less common in NBA basketball, it is still prevalent in European and international playing styles.
“I understand that there’s not a lot of traditional bigs like that in America, like the back-down bigs,” Allen said. “Even I’m not even really like that typical, I guess, European basketball big in terms of just banging down there. But I’m here to fill a role, whatever they need, and I feel like I can fit into any role.”
At the moment, it seems like Allen may have more of an inside track to the team than Garland. Allen himself told Vardon that he is interested in joining the team, saying that he would “take a lot of pride in representing us on a stage in front of the world.”
What is interesting to note is that the Cavs player most likely to be a part of Team USA in 2024 might be star guard Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell is widely considered to be one of the best shooting guards in the league today, and he has taken his game to another level so far in the 2022-23 NBA season.
Through three games this season, Mitchell is averaging an incredible 33.3 points per game.
It seems very unlikely that Team USA doesn’t have at least one Cavs player on the roster by the time the 2024 Summer Games begin.
At this point, it’s just a matter of how many Cavs players will be there when the Olympic torch is lit in the City of Light in 2024.