So the roster for this year’s US Olympic Basketball team has come out and even though the Zika virus has scared some of our top players away, we still should be clear favorites with these lineups plus the fact that is us (as in US, classic play on words).
The players are as follows
Guards – Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and DeMar DeRozan
Forwards – Kevin Durant, Melo, Paul George, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green
Centers- DeMarcus Cousins and Deandre Jordan
My initial reaction after seeing the official roster was confusion that the Warriors have 3 players on the team not named Steph Curry even though they didn’t win the finals. That’ll happen though when LeBron and Kawhi drop out so Harrison Barnes can make it. Also both of the Raptor’s guards made it but then again the top 5 guards in the league declined the invitation. My final thought was that KD is trying to break the Lil B curse by dying or overcome his leadership deficiencies by overcoming Zika.
Okay on to the potential lineups we can see in Rio.
Starters: Kyrie – Klay – KD – Melo – Boogie
With so many top players dropping out, this is merely putting the best player at each position there and letting Melo get his for being the Gym Class Hero of the Olympics. The 6th and 7th man here would be Draymond Green and Paul George.
Bench: Kyle Lowry – Jimmy Butler – Paul George – Draymond Green – Deandre Jordan
This is just simple math, Initial 12 – starters – worst 2 = Bench.
Small: Kyrie – Kyle – Klay – KD – Draymond
These next 5-6 lineups are where I get to have some fun. I’m assuming that this team will go small whenever it can and early because it’s built that way. Watching a KD and Kyrie run team will never not be exciting plus Draymond getting to bully around big foreign centers will have you chanting U-S-A!
Big: Klay – PG13 – KD – Boogie – Deandre
No point guard? No problem. Klay has proven offensively capable, being the 2nd guy on the most winningest team in NBA history. Both KD and PG are used to running the offense through them. Let Boogie be the PF he thinks he is with a real center.
Scoring: Kyrie – Klay – KD – Melo – Boogie
There’s only one person on this list who qualifies as a 2 way player and that’s Klay and he scored 37 points in a qurter. The rest are offense first guys who can almost get baskets at will. Not to mention KD’s favorite shot and one of Boogies best, the long 2, is now worth 3.
Defense: Jimmy Butler – DeMar DeRozan – PG13 – Draymond – Deandre
Another no point guard situation. But Kyrie can’t do defense and Kyle Lowry is good but his teammate DeMar and Jimmy Butler are that much better.
“Death”: Kyrie – Klay – Paul George – KD – Draymond
The perfect mix of Offense and defense. Almost every player can switch on defense while every single player can create offense for themselves. No other country has enough basketball players to recruit from to make a lineup like this so it will be more deadly than the Zika (bad joke alert).
Crazy: Klay – Jimmy – KD – Melo – Draymond
This is if Coach K gets wild. Instead of the usual, scoring backcourt and defensive frontcourt were pulling the old switcheroo. Good 2 way players in the backcourt, scoring only in the frontcourt and a center who is probably the most versatile player in the world right now. Not to mention said center is also the smallest player on the court. Crazy!
Harrison Barnes isn’t in any of these lineups if you couldn’t see. Well that’s because he’s the lowest forward on the depth chart on a team made up of 80% forwards. He can come in whenever one of them gets tired, which fits his role as the quote-unquote least used max contract player ever.