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Selecting the Starting 5 for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team


USA Basketball has released the official 12-man roster that will represent the United States in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The 12-man roster includes:

• Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
• Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
• Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
• DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
• DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
• Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
• Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
• Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
• Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
• DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
• Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
• Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)

Now that the team has been assembled, the next question is; who will be named to the starting 5? Here are my thoughts on this particular question:

1. Point Guard, Kyrie Irving
The reason why I pick Kyrie Irving to start at the point guard position is because of the amazing season he had with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is the starting point guard for the 2016 NBA Champions and has demonstrated his ability to play at both ends of the court. In addition, there are only two point guards on the entire roster, one being Kyrie Irving and the other, Kyle Lowry. Although Kyle Lowry is a rising star in the NBA, I think it’s safe to say that Irving will be named the starter for this year’s Olympic Team.

2. Shooting Guard, Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is arguably one of the best shooters in the NBA and has proven his ability to score and defend. Having Thompson at the shooting guard position will provide the team with instant offense as well as a solid defensive presence.

3. Small Forward, Carmelo Anthony
The small forward position is a bit tougher to choose in my opinion. There are many options for this position, but I believe Coach Krzyzewski will ultimately end up starting Carmelo Anthony. Anthony is the only player on the current team to represent the United States in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Although he has not had a lot of success (in terms of winning) with the New York Knicks, Anthony has proven himself to be an excellent player in international competition. He is the veteran of the group and will play a key role in leading the team to gold.

4. Power Forward, Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant will obviously be named a starter as he is the most notable player on the team. Now, the question is what position? Durant can either play the small forward or power forward position, but I believe he should play at the power forward position because of the make-up of the roster. Durant is talented enough to excel at virtually any position on the court.

5. Center, DeAndre Jordan
Lastly, I believe DeAndre Jordan will start at the center position over DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins is a much better offensive player than Jordan, but looking at the personnel, the team has enough scorers. USA will need a solid defensive presence and rim protector and I believe DeAndre Jordan will thrive at this role. Jordan was also named first team All-NBA for the 2015-2016 season. This position can go either way as both players are good enough to represent the U.S at the center position.

By Dr. Brandon Spradley

Dr. Spradley is the Director of Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at bspradley@ussa.edu.

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