2016 Summer Games

The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is going to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and the men’s national team is looking to capture its third consecutive gold medal. The talent pool that USAB gets to evaluate is one of the best in recent history, and this summer’s team could feature one of the most talented teams that the Olympics has ever seen.

Every time the Olympics come around, the United States is viewed as the perpetual favorite to win the gold, and debate boils down to what team will win the silver medal.

This mock team will feature a total of six guards and nine forwards, along with some honorable mentions towards the end. As previously mentioned, the talent pool is very, very impressive and some notable players aren’t going to be selected.

Backcourt

PG: Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul

SG: James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Jimmy Butler

A majority of the offense will revolve around the two guard spots. Both Curry & Westbrook will explode during the 2016 games because they have ridiculous talent around them, and are ridiculously talented themselves.

Curry’s going to have a remarkable shooting stretch in 2016 with the FIBA three-point line being more than a foot shorter than the NBA’s. Westbrook, on the other hand, is the most athletic player that will be playing this summer. His quickness off the dribble, athleticism, and outstanding rebounding ability will have him running in transition and either finishing himself or finding a shooter.

Harden will be the recipient of many passes off of dribble drives by Curry & Westbrook, but can be the team’s go-to scorer if needed. Butler will serve as the lead defender at the guard position, and CP3’s role will be more about leadership than anything else. Already with two gold medals under his belt, Paul can provide valuable insight to the slew of young guards on this team.

Frontcourt

F: LeBron James, Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard

F: Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant

F/C: Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside, DeMarcus Cousins

The forwards that team USA will get to pick from, regardless of who they are, will feature players with proficient offensive and defensive abilities.

In what’s possibly his last Olympics, LeBron James will be the undoubted leader of this team. It won’t be a shock if LeBron is a lot more passive on offense and focuses on being a facilitator. In the 2012 Olympics, LeBron dished out 45 assists and with this roster, could dish out many more. Primarily due to the talent surrounding him.

I believe both Green and Leonard will be appearing in their first Olympic games this summer. Green’s role on the team is similar to LeBron’s because Green & LeBron have a similar play style. As for Leonard, almost all of his energy is going to be spent playing defense. As the team’s best individual defender, he’ll draw the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s most talented player. Offensively, Leonard is going to get a lot of three-point looks, and could be used a mismatch if Team USA runs a tall lineup.

Griffin, Durant, Cousins, and Davis will have their talents on both sides of the floor used equally. All are good on offense — KD being the most talented — and they all possess terrific tools on defense: length, athleticism, etc.

Rounding out the team we have Drummond & Whiteside, both with only two things they need to worry about: rebounding and rim protection. Both are pushing seven feet (Whiteside 6’11.5″; Drummond 6’11.75″) and have big bodies that clog up the lane and allow them to dominate the offensive glass.
Along with having big bodies, both men are athletic enough to get out and run, something that team is going to be doing a lot of with this lineup. That same athleticism will be utilized to challenge opponents at the rim.

Honorable Mentions: 

Dwyane Wade, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, John Wall, and Carmelo Anthony.

Conclusion

If team USA were to put together this lineup, or one similar to it, they would seemingly cruise through the Olympics and capture yet another gold medal. The roster that I constructed attempts to balance great scorers, great defenders, and great all-around talents.

I have a steadfast belief that the United States has the best overall talent group and would finish with the gold if they put out a lineup with only half of the players listed here.

*Photo Courtesy of USA Basketball*