(Reuters) – When it comes to the men’s U.S. Olympic basketball team, the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts.
U.S. national team General Manager Jerry Colangelo told Sirius XM NBA Radio that he and head coach Gregg Popovich are focused on creating a cohesive team for the Tokyo 2020 Games, and would not hold a formal “try out” as they whittle down the preliminary roster from 44 to 12 men.
“We’re just going to pick 12 players,” said Colangelo, in a video clip posted to Twitter on Wednesday. “You don’t take the 12 best players, necessarily. You take the best that make the best team.”
The team is likely to lean on veteran athletes, with no first or second-year players on the initial 44-person list – a move that 15-year national team veteran Colangelo said was by design.
“We think you have to earn your keep, earn your spurs, pay your dues,” the former Phoenix Suns owner said. “There’s a lot of good, young players. But not for this Olympics.”
The U.S. team is a regular powerhouse in Olympic basketball, winning gold at the last three Games.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Ed Osmond)