Team USA Preview: Men’s Basketball

When it comes to basketball in the Olympics for Team USA, not much introduction is needed. We’ve all heard of the star-studded dream team, the gold medal-winning 2008 redeem team, so on and so forth. After all, in the 18 basketball Olympic tournaments the U.S. participated in, 15 resulted in gold. However, with key contributors like Stephen Curry, James Harden, Lebron James, etc., not competing, the U.S. could have a tougher road. Especially given a new era of foreign talents such as Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic on opposing teams.

The Roster

Bam AdebayoMiami Heat
Bradley BealWashington Wizards
Devin BookerPhoenix Suns
Kevin DurantBrooklyn Nets
Jerami GrantDetroit Pistons
Draymond GreenGolden State Warriors
Jrue HolidayMilwaukee Bucks
Zach LaVineChicago Bulls
Damian LillardPortland Trail Blazers
Kevin LoveCleveland Cavaliers
Khris MiddletonMilwaukee Bucks
Jayson TatumBoston Celtics

Roster Analysis

When looking at the Tokyo games team…it’s interesting. First and foremost, it’s a young team. The squad has just two 2016 Olympians returning in Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. The only other previous Olympian apart from the two is Kevin Love (2012). The experience could hinder this team. Jerami Grant is only just getting on his feet in the NBA, Zach Lavine and Bam Adebayo are similarly non-top-tier producers, and Jrue Holiday is his team’s 3rd option.

With Draymond Green declining production-wise, Kevin Durant will really have to step up both on the court and in the locker room. He’s the only member of this team who has bonafide notoriety when it comes to the Olympics.

In all fairness, Kevin Love does as well…kind of. His experience is about the only thing deserving of a spot on this team. His numbers are the worst since his rookie year. Love’s points per game and total rebounds per game have absolutely plummeted, with assists being the only thing that has stayed mostly constant.

To contrast the 32-year-old Love, 24-year-old Devin Booker will be fun to watch. He is co-leading the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals currently, and if he wins, will have all of the confidence going into Tokyo. Throughout the playoffs, Booker has looked, dare I say it, like Kobe on the court. His ability to create his own shot is second to none, and his will to take big shots in big moments is substantial.

Much like Booker, Jayson Tatum is also known as a fearless volume scorer. Despite being only 23, Tatum is already that guy in Boston. He’s certainly one to watch this Summer.

Does Team USA take Gold?

Without pretty much any doubt, yes. The amount of pure talent even on this team, even without being maxed to the highest potential, is absurd. There really isn’t a team who I would even list as a competitor. Serbia perhaps, Spain is always up there, but let’s be honest…when it comes to the U.S. and Basketball, a lot of gold comes to mind.