Tha Sports Junkies 101

New Faces, Same Goal for US Team in 2016 Olympic Games




With the first exhibition game against Argentina just around the corner, the lack of familiar faces on the US Mens National Team roster has raised some concern. Notable NBA superstars and former gold medalists such as LeBron James, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul are absent from the roster, forcing the Mens National Team to rely on a new cast of stars to capture a third consecutive Gold Medal in the Olympic Games.

With Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony as the only returners from the 2012 team that gold medaled in London, the US will look to new faces such as Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler to help lead the charge. George and Butler are among the best two-way players the game has to offer while Irving is riding high off of a legendary finals performance that saw him hit one of the greatest shots in recent playoff history to seal a win for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sharpshooters Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes will look to add some floor spacing for the US team, while defensive specialist Draymond Green brings a wide variety of skills to the table with his ability to defend multiple positions and function as a facilitator for the offense. All NBA first teamer DeAndre Jordan will help anchor the defense and the Toronto Raptors duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozen can provide some scoring off the bench.

While this new look USA roster has no shortage of star talent, international competition is becoming more formidable with each passing games, making this task anything but easy for a young US squad. The Australian National Team boasts a roster of six current NBA players, including NBA champions Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes and Matthew Dellavedova. 

Aside from Australia, Spain will be a team to keep an eye on throughout the tournament as they are once again led by NBA All Stars, Marc and Pau Gasol. The Gasol Brothers will help make up what is arguably the finest front court in the games that also includes Ilimane Diop and Nikola Mirotic, and they will be aided on the perimeter by sharp shooters and NBA veterans, Jose Calderon and Rudy Fernandez. 

France may prove to be the US teams biggest threat in the 2016 games as they are led defensively by the Utah Jazz’s big man and shot blocker extraordinaire, Rudy Gobert. He will be accompanied by two highly skilled jack-of-all-trades type players in Nicolas Batum and Boris Diaw. France’s offense will be orchestrated by four-time NBA champion and 2007 Finals MVP, Tony Parker, as he looks to continue his solid play in international competition.

Capturing a third straight gold medal is no small task for the United States due to an abundance of international talent like we’ve never seen, but we can’t forget the offensive attack will be led by two of the best in the business in Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. This will be Anthony’s fourth time representing USA basketball in the olympic games, the most of any player. Many argue that Melo is at his best wearing a USA basketball jersey and his impressive numbers help back that claim. In the US Olympic career record book, Melo is 1st all time in 3 pointers made, 4th in total points, and 4th in total rebounds.

On the other wing the US will have Kevin Durant. A 6’10” forward with guard skills who has established himself as one of the most gifted scorers in NBA history at the age of only 27. The 2012 Olympic Games in London saw Durant lead the team in scoring at over 19 per game and the US team will once again look to Durant to head the scoring charge in Rio.

With the best coaching staff in the business headlined by the legendary Coach K, and some of the games finest and most eager young stars hungry for their first taste of Olympic competition, the Unites states will still be the favorite entering this years Olympic games. However, the road might feature a little more resistance than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in recent years. The US team always has a target on their back, and with less star power than usual it will be interesting to see how well the team can gel together, and if they can accomplish their goal of capturing a third straight gold medal.