Though it won’t have the services of either the regular season or finals MVP selections, the 12-member squad for USA men’s basketball is still the prohibitive favorite for the gold medal in the upcoming Summer Olympics. Both the Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry and Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James previously announced they would not be participating in this Olympics, which gets underway in Rio in August. But the two teams from this year’s finals will still be represented. Guard Kyrie Irving, who was a strong contender for the NBA Finals MVP award behind James, will represent the Cavaliers. Draymond Green is one of three Warriors picked for this team. The others are Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes.
One player who suffered injury in the past representing USA Basketball is returning. The Indiana Pacers’ Paul George suffered a near season-ending injury while a member of the 2014 World Championship team. But he said at the time that he would still be open to competing again internationally, and he’s back on this year’s squad. Another returning member is Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. But the top scorer is anticipated to be the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant. The team also has some of the league’s newer stars on board. These include Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls and DeMar Rozan from the Toronto Raptors.
There’s also some size and inside strength added via the presence of Demarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings and DeAndre Jordan from the Los Angeles Clippers. The USA team has won the past two gold medals and also the last two World Champion- ships and once more will be coached by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, with Jerry Colangelo serving as USA Basket- ball director. Both are very upbeat and optimistic regarding this year’s team.
“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,” Colangelo said in a release. “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 out- standing youth.”