Despite growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, as of today, the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are still scheduled to take place from July 24 through August 9. One question on the minds of basketball fans: Who will represent the United States in the men’s basketball competition? Currently, there are 44 announced finalists for the 12-member roster. We used this list (with one notable exception) to form our own 2020 team. Our criteria were based on a blend of experience and youth; unselfishness and reliability; shooting and defense; and versatility and specialization. Team USA has dominated the Olympics since the 2008 “Redeem Team,” and we’re pretty confident that this line-up would be no different. Take a look:
OUR STARTING FIVE
F – LEBRON JAMES: The captain. At age 35, he can still do it all. Currently leads the NBA in assists (10.7 per game). On this squad, he’ll be asked to do a little of everything, but he won’t be burdened with having to carry a heavy load. If he decides to play on the team, this would be his fourth Olympics experience (2004, 2008 and 2012).
F – KEVIN DURANT: The shooter. Durant’s been on the shelf for the entire season while rehabbing his Achilles injury. Participating in the Tokyo Games would be a good way for him to prepare for the NBA’s regular season.
C – ANTHONY DAVIS: The dominator. Would probably lead this team in scoring, averaging at least five alley-oop slams a game.
G – KAWHI LEONARD: The chameleon. Has never played on the U.S. Olympic team. Good enough to play any role on the team. And with so much talent on the roster, he can have all the “load management” he wants.
G – STEPH CURRY: The sparkplug. No one has better handles, and no one can shoot the lights out quite like Curry. And, like Leonard, this would be his first opportunity to win gold as a member of the U.S. Olympic team.
F – ZION WILLIAMSON: Okay, he’s not listed on the U.S. team roster. But this rookie phenom needs to be on the team. If he’s not, we’re rooting for the Russians.
F – DRAYMOND GREEN: He’s had better years, but his versatility and defense make him invaluable. Every team needs a Draymond Green.
F – JASON TATUM: His blend of youth and talent can’t be denied. He could be the breakout star of this squad.
C – ANDRE DRUMMOND: Rebounds and defense, rebounds and defense, rebounds and defense.
G – JAMES HARDEN: The insurance policy. Some players might have the occasional off game offensively. Harden can be counted on to score consistently.
G – DAMIAN LILLARD: He’s having an outstanding season (29.4 points per game) and simply deserves to be a part of this team.
G – BEN SIMMONS: The current league leader in steals (2.1 per game) and fifth in assists (8.2). Multi-dimensional player who can lead future U.S. teams in the years to come.
The coaching staff is already set. Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs) is the head coach. Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriiors) and Lloyd Pierce (Atlanta Hawks) are his assistants.
# # #