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Zion Williamson among players added to U.S. Olympic men’s basketball finalists

Zion Williamson

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 31: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots over Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Memphis Grizzlies during a NBA game at Smoothie King Center on January 31, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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Zion Williamson is among 15 players added to USA Basketball’s list of finalists for the Olympic men’s basketball team.

In February 2020, USA Basketball announced its largest player pool for 12 roster spots -- 44 in total, including every NBA superstar -- since it began naming finalists in 2008. Now, after the Olympics were postponed and the NBA season pushed closer to the Opening Ceremony -- the list ballooned to 57.

Two players from the original finalist list have dropped out -- injured Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.

Williamson, 20 and the 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick by the New Orleans Pelicans, is the youngest in the player pool.

He could become the fourth-youngest U.S. Olympic basketball player since NBA players replaced collegians in 1992. Anthony Davis (2012), LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony (both 2004) were younger.

Other new additions included five-time NBA All-Star John Wall and Trae Young, the lone 2020 NBA All-Star who wasn’t among the initial 44 finalists (and appeared to react to the omission on Twitter).

Players can still be added or removed from the player pool leading up to the roster being named (likely in late June or early July).

None of the biggest NBA stars have publicly committed to accepting or declining a U.S. Olympic roster spot if offered (though Kawhi Leonard made his stance pretty clear). It’s a tougher question this year given the NBA season will end later than usual. A potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals would be July 22, the day before the Opening Ceremony.

Complicating matters: The deadline for nations to submit Olympic teams is July 5 -- during the NBA playoffs -- though there is a late athlete replacement policy that extends closer to the start of competition. This usually comes into play for injuries.

Plus, USA Basketball plans to hold a player training camp in early July, also during the NBA playoffs. It hasn’t said whether camp participation will be mandatory for Olympic participation.

USA Basketball petitioned for the rules to be changed on when Olympic basketball rosters must be finalized. Whether a ruling has been made by international officials has not been announced.

The U.S. finished seventh at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, its worst-ever senior national team tournament result.

From 1992-2004, a USA Basketball committee chose Olympic teams without naming large pools of finalists. There were 33 finalists in 2008, 22 in 2012 and 30 in 2016.

The full list of finalists:

Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs)
Jarrett Allen (Cleveland Cavaliers) -- NEW
Harrison Barnes
(Sacramento Kings)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers)
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
Mike Conley Jr. (Utah Jazz)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs)
Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets) -- NEW
Jerami Grant (Detroit Pistons) -- NEW
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Blake Griffin (Brooklyn Nets) -- NEW
James Harden (Brooklyn Nets)
Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Lakers)
Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets)
Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Gordon Hayward (Charlotte Hornets)
Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks) -- NEW
Dwight Howard (Philadelphia 76ers)
Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans)
Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)
LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
DeAndre Jordan (Brooklyn Nets) -- NEW
Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)
Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls) -- NEW
Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)
Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
JaVale McGee (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
Victor Oladipo (Houston Rockets)
Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)
Mason Plumlee (Detroit Pistons)
Julius Randle (New York Knicks) -- NEW
Duncan Robinson (Miami Heat) -- NEW
Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks) -- NEW
Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
Fred VanVleet (Toronto Raptors) -- NEW
Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
John Wall (Houston Rockets) -- NEW
Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards)
Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs)
Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans) -- NEW
Christian Wood (Houston Rockets) -- NEW
Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks) -- NEW

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