The 2016 Team USA Olympic Basketball Roster: Are They The Goods or Washed?
By: Brandon Howard
Let me fill you in on who has curved Team USA Olympic basketball this year: Lebron, Curry, Westbrook, Kawhi and Anthony Davis. No problem though, right? Wrong!
But, we still have KD, Paul George, Kyrie, Cousins, Melo, Klay and Draymond! No other country can contend with that right? Wrong again!
The world knows who the top dog is every Olympics when it comes to basketball, and this year, just like every year, the USA is favored to win it all. Don’t get it twisted though, because these countries also know LeBron is not playing, 2012 Kobe is not walking through that door and the best big man (Anthony Davis) is not playing either.
The USA will dominate most of the competition this year, but teams like Spain and France will show up against the USA when the time comes. Spain will roll out their veteran national team led by Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio, while France will be led by Tony Parker and Boris Diaw. Canada had the chance to be a formidable team if Wiggins, Tristan Thompson and other Canadians from the NBA would have joined, but they didn’t.
One thing to keep in mind is the international rules -Lowry, Draymond, Jordan, Paul George and Barnes have not been introduced to these rules and styles of play, so it will be a quick adjustment for those guys to get used to. Coach K and his staff are proven vets when it comes to international play, so any obstacle they see shouldn’t stop this team from reaching their peak form unless injuries happen.
I will always root for USA basketball no matter who they put on the court, but this year is looking a lot like the 2004 Summer Olympics team in Beijing. Now that squad had Iverson, Duncan, Amare Stoudamire (when he was a beast), Shawn Marion, Richard Jefferson (when he was a scoring beast) and all three rookies (Lebron, Melo, Wade) and still came up short against Argentina.
It wasn’t the best squad the USA had to offer, but it had proven leaders and the talent (both young and old) to bring home the gold. They got the bronze though, and that was what reignited the stars coming back to the team in the two past Olympics, but now it seems like we may have gotten complacent. Hopefully it’s not 2004 all over again.
The only two guarantees we have this Summer Olympics is that it will be LIT with competition in the knockout games, and the USA MVP will be Coach K.
Ever since Coach K took over the reigns as the USA head coach, his teams have been about defense first. Almost every player from this squad is a really good or great defender at their position. He knows his players can’t be stopped one-on-one but he also knows that the international game is not about who can beat who one-on-one. I guess the real question this summer is how many times Kyrie will use the “Shammgod” move on these international players. The answer? Probably every chance he gets.