USA Olympic Basketball Team: Who Would Start for Potential 2016 Under-23 Team?
If David Stern’s proposed rule of only allowing players 23 and under to represent countries in the Olympic basketball tournament passes, the game will be in for some major changes.
No longer will stars like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James roam the court.
Instead, younger players who are finishing up college or just getting started in the NBA would have to represent the United States.
So, if that rule goes into effect before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, who would represent Team USA?
Obviously, a lot can change in four years time, but let’s take a look at who would fill the starting lineup if it had to be chosen today.
PG: Nate Britt
The North Carolina commit will need to strengthen up his 6’1”, 165-pound frame before the Rio Games if he wants to be successful.
But, right now, Britt is an excellent point guard and a natural at the position. He’d be comfortable leading Team USA on a fast break or slowing things down in a halfcourt set.
His unselfish play would allow his teammates to carry the scoring load.
He’s a lot like another Tar Heel point guard, Kendall Marshall (pictured here), in his ability to do what it takes to win.
SG: Rasheed Sulaimon
The 6’4”, 190-pound Sulaimon will be taking his talents to Duke this fall.
But, in 2016, Team USA would be wise to start this multi-talented shooting guard.
Sulaimon is comfortable scoring off the dribble or shooting off screens. His versatility and ability to score from anywhere on the court will really stretch defenses and create opportunities for his teammates in the paint.
SF: Jarnell Stokes
Stokes was an outstanding freshman at the University of Tennessee this past year, averaging 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for the Volunteers.
He was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team and should keep improving as he gets more playing time.
Allowing him to play alongside Shaq Goodwin will make Team USA very dominant in the post.
PF: Shaq Goodwin
Goodwin, a Memphis commit for the 2012-13 season, is a 6’8” beast of a forward.
He averaged 21.2 points and 12.3 rebounds in high school and doesn’t appear to be slowing down in his preparations for college.
In a Team USA under-18 game against the Virgin Islands, Goodwin dropped 30 points on 12-for-12 shooting.
He could be a real offensive leader for Team USA in Rio.
C: Anthony Davis
Davis will be exactly 23 in 2016, so his spot on the team is secure.
Assuming he keeps up his high level of play, he’ll be the star this team needs to keep the potential gold medal streak going.
His domination of the paint both offensively, with high-flying dunks, and defensively, with stellar blocks, will strike fear into Team USA’s opponents.
Hopefully, he’ll have bulked up a little bit by then too, making him even more intimidating.