This week, USA Basketball was eliminated from the FIBA World Cup. The team finished in 7th place; their lowest placement ever. With multiple stars declining the invite to join the roster, what would happen if those same stars came together and joined Team USA for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
This segment looks at a ‘dream team’ for the United States. Regardless of whether it’s realistic or not, this roster would be the best on paper since 1992:
PG: Steph Curry
Off the bench: Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving
Curry has been one of the most interesting NBA stories to date, as his 3P% has never sat below 40% in a single season. With a career average of 3.6 3PM per game, the USA would be in need of a player of his caliber.
Most admire Curry’s shooting, but how about his ability to dribble the ball? Last season, his 2.8 turnovers per game were his lowest since the 2011-12 season.
With Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving off the bench in this scenario, the USA has more than enough depth at this specific position. Both respective players have totaled 20+ points and 5+ assists per game in each of the last three seasons.
SG: James Harden
Off the bench: Victor Oladipo, Klay Thompson
If you’re starting a dream team, it’s only right to include Harden. Over the last two seasons, he has led the league in scoring with 36.1 points per game in 2018 and 30.4 the year prior. Rewinding back to 2016, Harden led the league with 11.2 assists per game.
The individual stats are there, but Harden has also been a leadership figure as well. Since being traded to the Rockets in 2012, the team has seen the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons. In the process, they have made it to two Western Conference Finals.
The bench will consist of Victor Oladipo and Klay Thompson; two players with prior history as apart of USA Basketball. Thompson will still be hampering an ACL injury in 2020, so it makes sense to limit the amount of minutes he sees on the court.
SF: LeBron James
Off the bench: Kawhi Leonard
This would likely be the centerpiece of Team USA’s roster, as both James and Leonard have been regarded as the top players in the world. With five NBA titles between them, it would be difficult to decide who would receive what kind of usage at the small forward position.
Over the last nine seasons, James has been apart of three different franchises in the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers. Despite the departures, he has averaged 25+ points, 6+ rebounds, and 6+ assists per game during that span.
With Leonard in his prime, he could easily handle any minutes given to him. He could also see himself slide in as an alternative to James Harden at the shooting guard position.
PF: Anthony Davis
Off the bench: Draymond Green, Kevin Durant
Despite his complications with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018, Davis has been a consistent double-double machine. In his 56 games played last year, 37 of those ended with double-doubles.
With the length to play either the power forward or center position, Davis would be a forefront leader on both offense and defense. Since entering the league in 2012, he has led the NBA in blocks per game on three separate occasions.
Green would be a valuable bench option, as he’s another defensive household name. With a career average of 2.5 forced turnovers per game, he has won three NBA titles in the process. As for Durant, he is hampering a torn Achilles and would likely come off the bench for light usage.
C: Andre Drummond
There wasn’t a whole lot to go off, but Andre Drummond would be a serviceable player at the center position. He has led the league in rebounds per game in three of the last four seasons, with a career-high 16.0 in 2017.
As Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns represent different countries, they have been deemed ineligible for Team USA. With Anthony Davis also on this particular roster, he could see respective minutes at the center position.
Photo Credit: SB Nation