If you look at U.S. men’s Olympic team, you’ll notice several big names aren’t there. There’s no LeBron James, there’s no Steph Curry, there’s no Russell Westbrook, there’s no Chris Paul.
But there is Kevin Durant. And Carmelo Anthony. And Kyrie Irving. And Klay Thompson. And Draymond Green. And Jimmy Butler. And DeAndre Jordan.
“That’s the advantage we have over other countries,” NBCSports.com’s ProBasketballTalk writer Kurt Helin said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench, referring to Team USA’s depth. “Pau Gasol is an easy example. He’s getting a lot of pressure to pay. Marc Gasol can’t play because he’s not healthy enough, they’re getting older and that’s not quite the same Spanish team – and he gets pressured. We’re kind of like, ‘Oh, Russell Westbrook can’t play? All right, we’ll replace him with Kyrie Irving.’ We’re so deep and so loaded that even when we go down to our third and fourth choices, it’s DeMar DeRozan and All-Stars. It’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan and quality players. Harrison Barnes might be the last guy in that group and Harrison Barnes does some really nice things and is about to get paid massively.”
Needless to say, the United States will be heavy, heavy favorites to bring home the gold in Rio this summer. The team stacked, and the competition, quite frankly, isn’t what it used to be.
“The other thing we have a really huge advantage (in) is the rest of the world regressed,” Helin said. “Spain has been the next-best team (for several years). They’ve gotten old. Canada can be really good in a couple years, but they’re not there yet. We’re just so deep and the rest of the world has slid back. France has to qualify, but if France qualifies, they might be the second-best team, and some of the Eastern European teams have really nice Euro players. But we could have won easily the silver and gold if we formed two teams and the bronze if we formed three.”