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US Olympic Basketball: Zion Williamson, Trae Young among 15 players added to roster

USA Basketball initially named 42 players as finalists in February 2020 before coronavirus pandemic caused the Olympics to be delayed; Chicago Bulls' Zach Lavine, New York Knicks' Julius Randle and Toronto Raptors' Fred FanVleet also among new call-ups

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (AP)
Image: Zion Williamson is averaging 25.6 points per game for the New Orleans Pelicans this season

Zion Williamson and Trae Young are among 15 players who have been added by USA Basketball to the list of candidates for their Olympic basketball team, bringing the total player pool to 57.

Added to the 2021 USA National Team roster, from which the US Olympic Basketball Team will be selected, were: Jarrett Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers); Eric Gordon, John Wall and Christian Wood (Houston Rockets); Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons); Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (Brooklyn Nets); Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks); Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls); Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks); Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat); Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors); Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans); and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks).

The previous 42 were named as finalists in February 2020 and feature a number of the NBA's top players, including Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis and LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers); Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets); Paul George and Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); and Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz).

AP - Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young passes the ball during the second half
Image: Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young has also been added to the US roster

The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for July 23-August 8. They were postponed in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it's important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible. These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that," said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of the USA Basketball Men's National Team since 2005.

"Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honour of representing your country means to these men."

Joel Embiid, James Harden and LeBron James are among the current frontrunners to win the MVP award this season.
Image: LeBron James was included on the original 42-player list of finalists

Team USA will be coached by Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs. He will be assisted by Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, former Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova coach Jay Wright.

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The list of finalists includes nine members of the gold medal-winning 2016 US Olympic Team, seven gold medallists from the 2012 US Olympic Team and three gold medallists from the 2008 US Olympic Team.

The USA National Team's complete training schedule for 2021 has yet to be announced.

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