Team USA Announces 30 Finalist for 2016 Olympic Basketball Squad

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USA Basketball announced their 30 finalists for the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio. Out of these 30 terrific players, only 12 can be selected. Below are my picks for the team with some explanation of my thought process.

Team USA 2016 Rio Games

In no particular order.

Kawhi Leonard

Carmelo Anthony

Stephen Curry

Klay Thompson

Anthony Davis

Chris Paul

Lebron James

Kevin Durant

Russell Westbrook

Kyrie Irving

James Harden

Blake Griffen

Locks

Melo, Bron, CP3 – These 3 simply have a spot until they say they don’t want to play anymore. They were at the center of the resurgence of USA Basketball and the clear leaders of the program. These 3 demonstrated the values that are so important for USA Basketball going forward and made it cool and a desire to play for Team USA again.

KD, Steph, AD, Kyrie – This is the future core of Team USA for 2020 and 2024 (AD,Kyrie). AD rightfully earned his spot in the last Olympic games before he was in the NBA. Kyrie was the MVP of the last World Games. Also bluntly, there is no way he doesn’t make a team led by Coach K. KD has been a staple of USA basketball and is also a former World Games MVP. Steph is the reigning MVP (possibly back to back) and can play off the ball spotting up from half court.

Should Be Safe

Harden, Blake, Russ – Injuries have prevented Blake from being a part of Team USA on multiple occasions. This should again be his only road block to the team as he would be an integral part in 2020. Russ is arguably the top lead guard in the league and can also play a role similar to Dwayne Wades memorable performance in the 2008 Olympics (video below just in case you forgot). Harden is someone that can’t be left off the team because of his dominance of the league in previous years and willingness to commit to the USA Basketball program fully.

Wild Cards

Kawhi Leonard – I am personally a huge fan of Kawhi but let’s get to the facts. Gregg Popovic will be taking over next year and will not be doing so without the future of his franchise and the best two way player in the game. Leonard’s involvement with this years team will allow him to learn up close from guys like Melo, Bron and CP while developing a feel for the international game. I don’t believe he will get a lot of run but his role will be huge going forward in the program and will need to take on a leadership role for the new class of young players with no international experience.

Klay Thompson – Literally my last pick on the team. I struggled between him and a couple of other guys who I thought would have a chance. I picked Klay because of his youth, his shooting ability and ability to guard 1-4 internationally. Coach K has always tried to keep a designated shooter on his teams and Klay checks that box while bringing other skills.

These two define the true meaning of program. The best collection of talent doesn’t need to be assembled. The best 12 for the program today and going forward need to be selected.

Near Misses

Kevin Love, Paul George , DeMarcus Cousins – For the record I have Boogie Cousins as my 12B. He would benefit the most from being around the professionalism of this group, especially with keeping him bought in for the future. It will be close between him and Klay based on what they want to do with the roster. I just believe  Blake, Kd, Bron, AD, Melo can realistically play big internationally. I do feel DeMarcus may be the pick just because he will be the only guy of his type on the roster and will be desperately needed going forward.

The emotional card comes into play with Paul George making his comeback but ultimately I feel there is no room for him on the team. Kevin Love has history with Team USA but will be left off as well.

What do you think? Who is your 12?

 

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2 comments

  1. G-Chris Paul
    G-Steph Curry
    G- Jimmy Butler
    G- Kyrie Irving
    G- James Harden
    G- Russell Westbrook
    F- LeBron James
    F- Carmelo Anthony
    F- Anthony Davis
    F- Kevin Durant
    F- Blake Griffin
    C- DeMarcus Cousins

    I know Kawhi is going to be there but I’d personally rather have Butler. Both great defenders, but I feel like Butler has a slight edge on offense. JB will be on the roster one day if not this time around.
    I like to have at least one true center on the team so Cousins gets the nod over Klay for me. Klay is dangerous, but very streaky. In a short tournament, if that streak isn’t hot, it’ll be tough to justify him.
    I’d love to see Draymond Green get on here but just not enough room for him right now with this group. Kawhi would be my 12B

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    • Ryan this is a great post and I appreciate you reading and commenting. Butler does have the edge on offense but also with the bulls he must play a bigger role on offense so I’m not ready to grant him the better offensive player because of situation and need. Also offense is the last thing needed on this team. Kawhi is important because of the transition to Pop. I am coming off my pick of Klay and leaning toward Cousins the more and more I think about it. I do agree with that. Draymond will be on the next group. He has definitely earned his spot with his rise but I think he will be a key contributor going forward.

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