Check out the updated list of predictions HERE.
This summer, team USA will look to take home another gold medal in the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games. The summer olympics will take place in Rio de Janerio beginning August 5th. Before all that, USA basketball manager Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski will have to set a final 12-man roster by June.
This past January, USA basketball released five players (Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Chandler Parsons and Mason Plumlee) from their training camp roster to make a list of 30 finalists for the 12-man squad. Damian Lillard was added a month later, making the list now 31.
With the NBA season coming to a close and the Olympics coming up, I decided to make my own predictions for the Team USA roster for August.
- Anthony Davis: He’s had a torn shoulder labrum for the past three years. He is having off-season surgery and will not be available for selection.
- Chris Paul: The 30-year-old point guard decided to withdraw his name because he wanted to give his body a break and spend time with his family during this off-season.
The 12-man squad: The obvious picks
- Stephen Curry: The reigning MVP is the best player in the league right and possibly the new face of the NBA. He is an automatic lock.
- LeBron James: The Olympic veteran is looking to make his forth appearance for Team USA, which is a record. Like Curry he is an automatic lock-in, if he wants to play.
- Kevin Durant: A natural scorer who lead in the team in scoring in the 2012 summer Olympics (19.5).
- Carmelo Anthony: Like LeBron, Anthony has the potential to have his name in record books for most Team USA appearances with four. He might not be as much as an obvious pick as the other guys mentioned, but he has the experience.
- Russell Westbrook: The guy has been playing on another level in the past two seasons and should be exciting to watch in Rio.
- James Harden: Say what you want about Harden and his defense, but he is one of the top offensive players in the league. He led the team in scoring during the 2014 FIBA world cup with 14.2.
The 12-man squad: The rest of the guys, in order of most likelihood of making the team
- Kawhi Leonard: He is one of the top two-way players in the league and his ceiling is sky high for him. He has never played for Team USA, but I still think he gets a spot here.
- Klay Thompson: The other splash brother is a excellent shooter as well as a great defender. He was a key member in the 2014 World Cup team.
- Draymond Green: Like Leonard, he has never played for Team USA. He can play not only the four, but also the five and even a little bit of the three. His ability to play multiple positions helps his case for making the team. Anthony Davis withdrawing also helps his chances.
- Andre Drummond: With Davis out, Drummond chances have increased to making the USA team. The nightly double-double machine could be key piece in Rio.
- DeMarcus Cousins: Similar to Drummond, Cousins has great skills to be a key member of this team and maybe take over Davis’ center spot.
- Damian Lillard: He has been overlooked many times before, from the 2014 World Cup to not even being in the original 30 finalists. I think his time as being a second thought comes to an end. He is a dynamic playmaker that can help him make a case for one of the final spots.
Outside the 12: The guys on the bubble. Again in order of who has the best chance of making the team barring injuries or withdrawals from the guys above
- Kyrie Irving: Most people won’t agree with me and most will have him on the final roster. He played excellent in the 2014 World Cup and he has the experience. In the end it can be a toss up between Lillard and Irving. I gave the advantage to Lillard due to he has been healthy the past two seasons.
- Paul George: He has a shot to make the roster if any injuries come into play with the guys above. After suffering a gruesome leg injury in the 2014 Team USA scrimmage I would not be surprised if he decided to skip the activities.
- DeMar DeRozan: DeRozan is currently having a career year in Toronto and his ceiling is only getting higher. Having experience in the 2014 World Cup can help his chances, but their are a lot of wing players ahead of him.
- LaMarcus Aldridge: There has been rifts between Aldridge and USA basketball before. It’s unlikely he will gets spot barring injuries to other bigs.
- John Wall: The point guard group is stacked this year and it is hard to pick 2-3 guys for the team. He might have a chance making it since Chris Paul is out, but again there are many guards ahead of him.
- Jimmy Butler: If he was not injured this season I would make the case that he should make the list over DeRozen or Thompson, but his knee injury has slowed him down a bit and may choose to rest this offseason.
Outside the 12: The guys that need a lot different factors to be considered.
- Blake Griffin: Like Butler, if healthy there is a case to be made for a spot. But being hurt all year and problems off the court could hurt his chances earning a spot, not to mention the rise in Draymond Green.
- DeAndre Jordan: With Davis gone he has a chance. However I believe that his lack of USA experience compared to Drummond and Cousins hurt his chances of making the due unless injuries or personal withdrawls take place.
- Rudy Gay: Despite being a member of the 2014 World Cup, there are too many small forwards that hurt his chances.
- Kenneth Faried: Faried was great for the 2014 USA team, but like Gay there are too many players at his position that have a better chance.
- Mike Conley: Too many guards and being a little banged up do not help his chances. Plus there is chance he might not want to play anyway because he is a free agent and does not want any injures to occur. He wants to get paid this offseason.
- Gordon Hayward: He is having a career year in Utah and is leading them to a potential playoff spot. Again there are too many wings ahead of him that are better.
Outside the 12: The first group of guys to be cut in my opinion.
- Kevin Love: Despite being a 2012 participant, his inconsistent play in Cleveland hurts his chances. Maybe if this was Minnesota Kevin Love that would be a different story.
- Dwight Howard: Howard is still a good center, but he is on a decline and there are better center options (Drummond, Cousins and Jordan) to choose from.
- Andre Iguodala: Iggy was also a member of the 2012 team, but his odds are very low due to the fact that he plays a limited role now compared to four years ago.
- Bradley Beal: Beal has been hurt all year and again too many shooting guards ahead of him. With his injury history it is possible this will be the last time he is on the finalist roster.
- Harrison Barnes: In my opinion, he was never in consideration. He has not had a great season as expected and is looking for a contract this offseason, so he might drop out.
Of course, anything can happen now until June. Injuries will happen and players will withdraw. Maybe even players will be added (*cough* *cough* Kyle Lowry)