Predicting the official Team USA basketball rosters

Jul 25, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA White Team guard Paul George pulls down a defensive rebound away from USA Blue Team center DeMarcus Cousins during the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA announced their pool of 28 players that can represent them in the upcoming FIBA World Cup in Spain, as well as the Olympics in 2016 (not technically, but you can expect the same pool).

There can only be 12 guys who make the cut, so that means although it’s an honor to be named in the pool of 28, there are 16 guys who will have to stay back in the states. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and the other members of the 1992 Dream Team popularized playing for your country, and it’s been an honor that all the top stars in the NBA have striven for since. The US has the best talent in the world, and you can see that reflected in the gold medals and world championships over the last two decades.

Let’s take a stab at guessing the final rosters for both events:

FIBA WORLD CUP 2014:

1. Kevin Durant
2. Kevin Love
3. Dwight Howard
4. Derrick Rose
5. Andre Drummond
6. Stephen Curry
7. Klay Thompson
8. Paul George
9. Kyle Korver
10. Anthony Davis
11. Damian Lillard
12. Kawhi Leonard

Kevin Love and Kevin Durant have already announced their decision to play this summer, so those two guys are locked in. Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard are reportedly interested in playing, so you can expect those two to be there as well. As for everyone else, this is a toss up. The older and more established stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will save their legs for the regular season and for the Olympics, and the World Championships (World Cup) is usually filled with younger guys who are starting to mold into international competitors.

The international game is very small ball oriented, and guys like Kevin Durant and Paul George will end up playing a lot of power forward, and Kevin Love will be playing some center. The list above is filled with versatile players who can play and defend multiple positions, and they should work well in international competition. Guys like Kyle Korver are likely to be left off the Olympic squad, but their shooting or skills are nice pieces on this roster.

2016 Olympic Games:

1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant
3. Paul George
4. Anthony Davis
5. Damian Lillard
6. LaMarcus Aldridge
7. Andre Drummond
8. Stephen Curry
9. Kevin Love
10. Russell Westbrook
11. Carmelo Anthony
12. Blake Griffin

The Olympic roster is the toughest to guess, as we are still two years away, and things could change quickly. Also, with a lot of young studs entering the NBA next season, we could see guys like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker enter the pool. Guys like John Wall who were snubbed could make appearances as well. LeBron James is undecided, but it’s hard to see him passing up another chance at a gold medal, and he would be one of the older guys for a change. You can expect to see him take a Kobe Bryant role on the 2016 squad. Kobe has already announced his retirement, and Chris Paul will probably call it quits as well. This roster has a lot of length, and Coach K likes to have two point guard lineups in international play. This roster probably presents the greatest depth and versatility for Team USA.

Clearly, the country is filled with rich, deep talent. It’s going to be hard to leave any of these guys, and I know I wouldn’t want to be the one that has to make the cuts. It’s an exciting time for USA basketball.

 

Topics: Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Kyle Korver, Lebron James, NBA, Paul George, Team USA

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