USA Basketball: Which Current Players Will Be in Rio?
Okay, so this year's men's United States basketball team wasn't quite as good as the "Dream Team," headlined by players such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan. They were, however, gold medal champions in the London Olympics.
The 1992 "Dream Team" humiliated opponent after opponent, winning games by 50 seemingly on a regular basis. However, the international competition has gotten much better since then and this year's team did not lose a single game.
They went 8-0 in Olympic play and put up scores like 110-63 against Tunisia, 156-73 against Nigeria and 119-86 against Australia. This team was good, just not as good as the '92 squad.
Looking forward to the 2016 Games in Rio, there are many question marks as to who will be on that team, especially if David Stern changes the team to an under-23 one. If there are no changes made to the age rules for the Olympic team, this is who will be coming back for the Rio Games in 2016 from this year's squad.
There is no doubt that this 23-year-old phenom will partake in the 2016 Games.
Durant is a young superstar and will be making the trip to at least two more Olympics. He is just a five-year NBA veteran, but he plays like he has been in the league for 15 years.
He is downright scary and to think he hasn't even reached his full potential yet is frightening for opponents in the NBA and in future Olympic competition.
He led Team USA in points per game with 19.5 and was second in rebounds with 5.8. With numbers like these and the track record that he has so far, there is no way he couldn't be on the team for years to come.
When you think about the best point guards in the NBA, Chris Paul's name comes up right away. He is one of the most skilled passers in the world, averaging 5.1 assists per game in Olympic play.
He is just 27-years-old and could make one more Olympic appearance before his career is over.
Paul started all eight games for the United States, leading the point and finding the open man with regularity. He was one of the big reasons, although a quiet one, why the US men's team won gold in London, averaging just over eight points a contest.
He will be back on the team in Rio in four years and you better believe he will once again be the starting point guard.
Kevin Durant's teammate in Oklahoma City, Westbrook is a sure addition to the 2016 team in Rio.
The 23-yeard-old former UCLA Bruin is one of the best young players in the league and a rising star at the point guard position. If there is one area of his game that he needs to work on before joining the team in 2016, it's his passing game.
He only averaged just over 1.5 assists a game during these Olympics and that is unacceptable for a point guard. In his defense, he did not play nearly as much as Chris Paul or Deron Williams.
If you need your point guard to put up some points and take over a game, Westbrook is your guy. He will be looked at to have a much bigger role for the team come time for the next Olympics.
Another UCLA Bruin, and Westrbook's college teammate, Kevin Love is sure to make the trip to Rio.
Love is a solid NBA power forward and some would say a rebounding machine. He averaged over 13 rebounds a game this season for Minnesota and 26 points a game to go along with that.
Any player that can average a double-double and make it look as easy as he does, deserves a spot on the national team. Love averaged 11.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a game in the eight Olympic games, despite only averaging 17 minutes a game.
These numbers are freakish and he will be welcomed back to the team with open arms in four years.
What a year it's been for the big man from Kentucky. He was college basketball's Player of the Year, he won a national championship with Kentucky, got drafted first overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA Draft in June and now he's an Olympic champion.
The latter on that list may not have been possible, however, if Blake Griffin didn't go down with a knee injury. Davis initially failed to make the U.S. team, but was brought back when Griffin couldn't perform.
Nonetheless, Davis is a gifted athlete with a freakish wingspan that averaged almost five blocks a game in college, a number that is almost unheard of.
Although his play was limited during these games because of the superstars already on the team, the young star will be one of the centerpieces on the 2016 team. He is a superstar in the making.
Carmelo is a gifted player and one of the best in the league. This doesn't change the fact that he shocked nearly everyone with his play in the Olympics this year.
He seemed almost unwilling to perform to his potential with the Knicks when he came back from injury. It seemed at times that he didn't care.
Something must have clicked in the 28-year-old's head and he put up monster numbers for the U.S. team. Melo averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 rebounds a game while shooting 50 percent from three-point range. He put up all these numbers while coming off the bench and only averaging 17.3 minutes a game.
He is getting up there in age for an Olympic team member, but he has the skill to make the team even at 32-years-old. He will be in Rio.
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