A while back, I did my predictions for the 2016 Team USA Olympic roster. With recent news this week that more players have dropped out from the 31 finalists, I decided to re-make my predictions in regard to Team USA.
Who’s Out: Before I start, here is the list of players that have withdrawn their names from consideration.
- Anthony Davis: The former 2012 Gold Medalist ended this season with multiple injuries and will look to recover this offseason, especially after losing out on $24 million.
- Chris Paul: The veteran point guard has stated that he wants to rest this offseason. This was before he broke his hand during the playoffs.
- Stephen Curry: The two-time league MVP has been dealing with knee issues in the playoffs and will be looking to rest this offseason. He was an automatic lock to make the team so this opens up a spot in this stacked point guard list.
- LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge has never represented Team USA and will not be this summer. The Spur told ESPN that he will be recovering from a hand injury. This is not the first time Aldridge has withdrawn from consideration.
- John Wall: He was considered a long shot to make it, but with Curry out this would of opened the door for Wall. He will be having offseason knee surgery.
- Blake Griffin: Griffin had a season to forget, missing time with injuries and suspensions. His quad has been bothering him so he will also be out for the Olympics.
So that now leaves 25 players competing for 12 spots. Who makes the cut? There has been talks about players being concerned with the ongoing Zika Virus in Rio but for this selection purposes I did not put that factor into my predictions.
Who’s in?: Again like last time, the order is most likely making the team.
- LeBron James: While he won’t make a decision until the Finals are over, you can pencil him in unless he chooses to withdraw. He has the potential with three consecutive gold meals.
- Kevin Durant: Kevin Durant has stated before that he intends on playing for Team USA. He led the national team in scoring during the 2012 Olympics. Like LeBron, an automatic lock.
- Carmelo Anthony: Anthony was a star on the 2008 and 2012 Gold Medal teams. I still believe that he will be an automatic lock due to his ability to score at any time.
- Russell Westbrook: With Curry, Paul and Wall out, this opens the door for Westbrook. He will most likely start for Team USA baring he withdraws. He should be one of the more exciting players to watch this summer.
- Kawhi Leonard: The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has quietly (literally) become one of the best players in the NBA. He will play a key role with the team if selected.
- Draymond Green: Green will look to take a huge role if selected to Team USA. His ability to play and defend multiple positions, as well as his all-around game should land him a spot on this team.
- James Harden: He is one of the top offensive players in the league and should have a spot on the team. Harden led Team USA in scoring during the 2014 FIBA Games.
- Klay Thompson: The other “splash” has stated that he will keep his name in the roster pool for the Olympics. He could have a valuable role on the team and his late playoff run gives him notice.
- Damian Lillard: Having the point guard class thin out has really helped Lillard. I think he made his case for a spot after the way he played this past year. The man has a chip on his shoulder and it is great.
- Paul George: From the looks of it Paul George has not dropped out of the running. I really thought he was going to withdraw after suffering that leg injury two summers ago with Team USA. He came back strongly this year and will be a vital role player for USA if selected.
- DeMarcus Cousins: His ability to drop 20 and 10 a night will help his cause to make the team, not to mention that his size gives USA an advantage inside the paint. He played an important role during the 2014 FIBA Games and will probably do the same here.
- DeAndre Jordan: The team needs size and rebounding and Jordan fits the mold. He can come in during certain defensive situations and protect the paint.
The chopping block: The guys who will not make the cut. The order is guys who have the best chance to make the team, barring injuries and withdrawals.
- Kyrie Irving: I know people will be bashing me that he should be on the 12-man roster but with his injury history, I give the nod to Lillard over Irving. Even with Paul, Curry and Wall out the point guard list is tough.
- Jimmy Butler: He was hurt most of the year but has an intend to play for USA if selected. If he makes it; look for Butler to be that lockdown defender every team loves to have.
- DeMar DeRozan: He had a career year but struggled in the playoffs. He played well for the 2014 Team but needs a lot of different factors to fall into place to make the team.
- Andre Drummond: Last time I had him making the team but now I gave the edge to Jordan because of his ability to block shots. It could be a toss up between the two, but both need some work on their free throws but that is another story.
- Andre Iguodala: The former gold medalist and 2015 Finals MVP is one of the older players in this selection pool, but does have veteran leadership that gives him an edge. Still with limited playing time compared to 2012 and many top swingmen ahead of him, the odds of making it are low.
- Kenneth Faried: While he did play well for the 2014 team, there are many players ahead of him. Who knows, management might only take one center and add another power forward.
- Rudy Gay: The veteran forward has many players ahead of him and might be on the outside looking in when it comes down to the team announcement.
- Dwight Howard: I hate to say it but Howard has been on a decline these past couple of years. There are many better centers ahead of him if they want to go big.
- Gordon Hayward: He is on the same boat as Gay, a great player but with many other options ahead of him.
- Mike Conley: Even with a lot of point guards dropping out, Conley has a low chance of making the team. I would not be surprised if he decides to withdraw, as he is recovering from an achilles injury.
- Kevin Love: His inconsistent play hurts his chances, not to mention there is other options at power forward.
- Harrison Barnes: While he has stated that he wants to play for USA, he will need a lot of factors to work in his favor if he wants to be considered.
- Bradley Beal: There are plenty of other shooting guards ahead of him plus he cannot stay healthy and that hurts his chances.
Team USA is expected to announce the official lineup sometime this month. Training camp starts in July and the Olympics begin in August 2016.