Sunday 17 December 2017 / 05:25 PM

THE GOOD & BAD OF USA’S YOUTHFUL OLYMPICS SQUAD

The United States basketball team has announced its 12-player roster for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. This team, led by Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, will try to win a third straight men’s basketball gold medal. Durant and Anthony are the only two players on the roster with Olympic experience, with a large number of stars deciding not to participate.

Although a player’s concerns and rights to opt out of the Olympics are understandable, it is a bit disappointing for fans.

The roster is:

Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)

Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)

Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)

Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)

DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)

Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Paul George (Indiana Pacers)

Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)

DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)

DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)

Not to take anything away from this team, but this roster seems almost like a B-List when compared to the 2012 Olympics squad, which included the likes of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love, along with Durant and Anthony.

The 2016 line-up shows outstanding promise for the youth of the NBA.

“I think I can speak for the entire coaching staff and say we’re extremely excited about the team we will field for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,” USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said.

“I love our depth, which is another indication of the depth of talent our national team program is blessed with. We’ve got a great mix of talent, scorers, past gold medal winners and outstanding youth.”

The Bad

On one hand, fans are one of a player’s biggest assets – a player’s popularity can swing a big trade, endorsement deal, or sponsorship in the neighborhood of millions of dollars. But on the other hand, fans can be an insatiable mob that are overly critical of a player’s day-to-day decisions.

The Olympics seem to be heading in the same directions as the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, as the appearances are no longer necessarily the top talent in the league, instead predominantly made up of the up and coming players. It’s a great way to break new players out into the limelight, but NBA fans still want to see the likes of Lebron, Blake Griffin and Vince Carter (in his prime) throw down.

Having too much youth on your Olympic roster can be a bad thing. Think back to the 2004 Olympics. The roster included Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony Tim Duncan and a handful of other NBA All-Stars on the team. This roster sounds amazing now, but this is 2004 we’re talking about. LeBron, Wade, and Anthony were all in the 2003 NBA Draft and were all mostly teenagers. Team USA would go on to win a Bronze medal – a stunning underachievement highlighted by a loss to an early loss to Puerto Rico.

The Good

Having some of the best players in the NBA like LeBron and Steph Curry sit out is a great way to bring out some of the spectacular talent that often has to take a back-seat in the international arena. Indiana Pacers star Paul George said he was grateful to be able to fulfil his boyhood dream. With most of the roster being 26 years old, and the recent champion Kyrie just 24, the USA Olympic team’s experience in Rio is going to provide plenty of leadership development for these young leaders in their NBA franchises.

Notes:

Three players from Golden State’s 2015 championship roster will be at the Olympics, even though an argument can be made that the 2016 Cavaliers’ championship team could have seen more action in the Olympic selection decisions.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, the duo that brought the Raptors to their first Eastern Conference Championship, will get to play alongside high caliber players like Durant, Anthony, Irving, and the Golden State trio. The impact of this association could be huge for the leadership development of the Toronto starters.

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About the author

Alex Moskov

Alex has come on board with CBS as our basketball and gridiron expert, providing opinions and analysis from the bright lights of the NBA and NFL.

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