Since it is never too early to look ahead, let’s predict what the USA Basketball squad could look like in 2020. (Disclaimer: Projecting a roster 2 years in advance is never an exact science, mostly due to injuries. So many things can happen between now and 2020. Also, all the ages below are 2020 ages.)
LeBron James (will be 35 in 2020): LeBron is tied with Michael Jordan with two gold medals, so that might just be something that is in the back of his mind. Regardless of what happens with the Los Angeles Lakers, seeing him out there as the elder statesmen of this squad would be fun.
Kevin Durant (31):Within two years, LeBron will pass the torch for the best player alive to KD. And, who knows, they might even be teammates in real life…but that is another topic altogether. What more is there to say about Durant, other than good luck to the rest of the world in trying to defend his lightning offense.
Russell Westbrook (31): If Durant is lightning, than RW is obviously thunder. I envision Westbrook mouthing the words “no mercy” from Johnny in Karate Kid when he smashes a dunk on one of their opponents.
Steph Curry (32): Chef Curry is one of the most exciting players to watch in the world, so we need him out there, especially after missing the ’16 Olympics. When it is all said and done, Olympic gold might be the only thing missing from his resume, giving him a little extra motivation to be there.
Klay Thompson (30): Thompson is exactly what USAB needs and his game is tailored for International play. I look forward to him hitting wide open 3’s, locking up the other team’s best offensive players, and going into “China Klay” mode in Tokyo.
Kyrie Irving (28): Irving would be one of the younger guys there, which is saying something about this roster. I can’t wait to watch Uncle Drew slice up defenders with his handles. The only thing that can possibly hold him back are injuries.
James Harden (30): After missing the ’16 Olympics like Curry, the newly crowned MVP is ready to show the world his game. Harden is another guy whose game is made for USAB. His combination of dribbling, shooting, and step backs, should wreak havoc on the competition. Here’s hoping for another one of these moments:
Anthony Davis (27): AD will help this particular squad on the defensive side of the ball. He will allow the team to play small ball, without losing a step on defense. He will also be able to score at will off the dribble on the other team’s bigs. With Davis coming into his prime, look for him to put on a show in 2020, which should then elevate him into a global star.
Paul George (30): PG13 averaged 11 PPG in 2016, and plays his bench role perfectly. The fact that PG won gold in ’16, after everything that happened to him, is truly remarkable.
PG is the last of the locks for 2020. So who rounds out the 12-man roster? Who gets left off? This is where it gets tricky…