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USA Basketball: Predicting the roster for the 2016 Olympics

Now that the 2012 Olympics are over and Team USA won gold again, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2016.

There has already been a lot of talk regarding the future of USA Basketball. We know that Mike Krzyzewski will not be the head coach although he plans to remain involved with the program to some extent. Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich and Doug Collins are a few of the names rumored as possible replacements.

A lot of the players from the 2012 team are likely to not return in 2016. Kobe Bryant said that this was his last Olympics and a few others may not be back either. Four years is a long time and players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul will all be in their 30’s in 2016.

There has also been some talk of the NBA implementing a 23-under age-limit for future United States basketball teams. It is unlikely though that will come into effect until 2020.

If we look at the 2012 roster, there are a few players who are good candidates to be on the team again in 2016: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis seem the most likely. LeBron and Anthony might be the old guys who decide to give it one more run in what would be their fourth Olympics.

That leaves at least five more roster spots assuming no one else returns. Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin are two of the youngest players who would have been playing on this team. They both missed these Olympics due to injury. If chronic injuries become a growing concern for either, they might not be options in 2016 either. Dwight Howard will still be young enough to be an option as well.

A couple of point guards from the Select Team seem like good options in Kyrie Irving and John Wall. Both were former No. 1 picks which often are invited to the team.

Some other hopefuls from the select team include Kawhi Leonard, Greg Monroe and Paul George. Rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal and Harrison Barnes are likely to be candidates as well.

There is also a very high likelihood that there will be a few players to make the 2016 team that aren’t in the NBA just yet. Some names that come to mind are top recruits Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Muhammad and Jabari Parker.

It’s really hard to tell at this point what the roster may look like in four years but here is what I am projecting:

Point guards: Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving
Shooting guards: James Harden, Paul George
Small forwards: Kevin Durant, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kawhi Leonard
Power forwards: Kevin Love, Blake Griffin
Centers: Anthony Davis, Greg Monroe

I think in 2016, we will make sure to send over a team that has more size than the 2012 team had. Love, Griffin, Davis and Monroe will be a good foursome to have banging down low. Of course, Durant can play a lot of the four as well.

Rose and Westbrook will probably start in the backcourt. Irving is going to be a monster by 2016 and Harden will be in the conversation for best shooting guard in the NBA with George right behind him.

MKG will be the Iguodala of the team. MKG is going to be a very well-liked player at this point and considered a kind of glue guy for this team.

Leonard seems like another guy who a lot of people are high on. He was impressive in his rookie season with San Antonio and is expected to increase his role with them going forward.

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Tags: 2012 Olympics 2016 Olympics Andrew Wiggins Anthony Davis Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Chris Paul Derrick Rose Doc Rivers Doug Collins Dwight Howard Gregg Popovich James Harden Kevin Durant Kevin Love Kyrie Irving LeBron James Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Mike Krzyzewski Russell Westbrook USA Basketball

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