Finishing in seventh place for the FIBA Basketball World Cup was a shock for the Team USA men’s basketball team. With several top players in the NBA passing up the opportunity, Kemba Walker led the team, but it didn’t have much chemistry or rhythm.
When Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski took over the team, he emphasized building a cohesive group of players that were comfortable playing with each other. The result was three gold medals in 2008, 2012, and 2016 before handing over the reins to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
With a potential roster of NBA stars making them available for 2020, we will look at the perfect team that should secure gold in Tokyo.
Point guards: Stephen Curry, Kemba Walker, and Malcolm Brogdon
When Stephen Curry confirmed that he would be playing for Team USA, it was likely the first domino to fall of an influx of superstars heading to the roster. Curry is the best point guard in the NBA right now, and his inability to play on the 2016 team due to injuries will fuel him next year in Tokyo.
Kemba Walker gets a slot on the roster because of his commitment to Team USA while leading them in the FIBA World Cup. He will provide excellent scoring off the bench along with leadership in pressured moments.
The surprise inclusion here is Malcolm Brogdon. Many would think Damian Lillard would be the choice here, but we feel Brogdon is the better fit. He will provide a punch at either guard position, and having two players that can realistically shoot 50-40-90 during the Olympics would put Team USA a cut above the rest of the field.
Shooting guards: James Harden and Klay Thompson
At first, we weren’t going to include James Harden because of his style of play, but ultimately his ability to draw fouls and pass the ball won us over. The former MVP will have another excellent 2019-20 season if healthy and is the clear starting shooting guard for Team USA.
It was a tough choice, given that Klay Thompson will be just a few months away from a torn ACL. We think he will be healthy enough to return for the postseason, and will then focus on the Olympics, giving the team a sharpshooter who is arguably a top-three perimeter defender in the NBA.
Forwards: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Draymond Green, and LaMarcus Aldridge
You can make a strong case that LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George are the three best American basketball players in the league (we feel Giannis Antetokounmpo is the No. 2 player in the NBA). LeBron likely will be making his final Olympic run, and he’ll want to go out with another gold medal.
Kawhi Leonard cemented himself as the top dog in the NBA after leading the Raptors to an NBA championship, and his new teammate Paul George finished third in MVP voting.
When you include the Swiss-army knife Draymond Green and LaMarcus Aldridge, it will be tough to stop any of these guys when they are in the zone.
Centers: Anthony Davis and Myles Turner
Anthony Davis is a lock for the Olympic team, as he is, in our opinion, the most dominant big man in the league. He will easily make life hard for all challengers in the paint, especially if a zone defense is implemented in crunch time.
Myles Turner is another addition from the World Cup squad, and he will provide scoring and rebounding off the bench when Davis needs to take a breather.
How do you feel about our Team USA roster?
When you look at the players who make up the 12-man roster for Team USA, are there any surprises on the team? We think this squad will be destined for gold, and it could have the highest margin of victory for an Olympic team since the Dream Team did it in 1992.