Published On: Mon, Aug 22nd, 2016

2020 vision: Guessing Team USA in Tokyo

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

With all due respect to its players, the 2016 edition of USA Basketball’s men’s Olympic team was far from the best the country could field. For whatever reason, from legitimate injury or fatigue to concerns over the Zika virus and crime, Rio de Janeiro didn’t beckon America’s best.

It’s impossible to predict what will happen in the next four years, and even harder still to guess what global concern could dampen enthusiasm for the next Summer Olympics. Yet, using what we know, here’s what should be Team USA’s optimal entry for Tokyo 2020.

Guards


Stephen Curry

Would be: 1st Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 32

Curry would’ve been a shoo-in this summer, but chose to rest the knee he tweaked in a long postseason run. He didn’t make the 2012 team because of ankle problems – back before he became a transcendent superstar.

Russell Westbrook

Would be: 2nd Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 31

James Harden

Would be: 2nd Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 30

Kyrie Irving

Would be: 2nd Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 28

Damian Lillard

Would be: 1st Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 30

Lillard has had the misfortune of being passed over for both NBA All-Star nods and national team duty by virtue of being a point guard in a deep talent pool. But he’ll be on the short list for 2020 alongside John Wall.

Frontcourt players


Kawhi Leonard

Would be: 1st Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 29

Leonard is a USA Basketball prototype: A hard-working, two-way star. It won’t hurt his case that his San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will be overseeing the 2020 Olympic team.

Kevin Durant

Would be: 3rd Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 31


LeBron James

Would be: 4th Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 35

James is on record saying he could play if his body is “in the form that it is today four years from now.” At age 35 in 2020, he would be the oldest Team USA Olympian since Jason Kidd in 2008, but assuming good health, there’s little reason to doubt the best player of his generation.

Anthony Davis

Would be: 2nd Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 27

Draymond Green

Would be: 2nd Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 30

Paul George

Would be: 2nd Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 30

DeMarcus Cousins

Would be: 2nd Olympics

Age in Tokyo: 29

With wings and guards covered, a big-man debate could be had between Cousins and the younger Andre Drummond. As of 2016, however, Boogie is an infinitely better foul shooter. USA Basketball would unquestionably love Karl-Anthony Towns as an option, but he said he remains interested in playing for the Dominican Republic, the birth country of his mother.



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