Gary Gramling

What Would USA Basketball's Under-23 Team Look Like?

  • Hoophead
  • Gary Gramling
  • July 19, 2012, 11:20 AM

There's been a lot of talk about the Olympic basketball competition adopting an under-23 rule (just like Olympic soccer). A lot of it is because NBA owners don't like the thought of their veteran players putting themselves at risk for another team (even if that team is Team USA). Another part of it is because, after playing 100-plus games in a season if they make the Finals, a lot of veteran players don't like feeling pressured to go out and play even more when they're worn out. And finally, there's the fact that the NBA is thinking about taking over the World Championships, and making it like soccer's World Cup. That tournament would have the best of the best, and they want a way for it to overshadow the Olympics.

That under-23 rule could be in place for 2016. But what if it were in place this year? It would mean no LeBron, Kobe, or even Durant for Team USA. (Remember, guys like Durant and Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love are 23 when the tournament starts, but if they follow soccer's rules anyone who turns 24 in the year of the tournament would be ineligible. And those three guys all turn 24 in 2012).

So THIS is what we think the 2012 USA Olympic basketball team would look like if it were under-23 only...

Blake Griffin, C/F, Los Angeles Clippers: Okay, so he's hurt. But in our parallel universe, we're saying he's healthy. A true All-Star, The Blake Show is a no brainer as one of the low-post players.
Anthony Davis, C/F, New Orleans Hornets: The top pick of the draft is the kind of guy who can carry this team defensively. Davis is actually replacing the injured Griffin on the 2012 Olympic team.
Paul George, SF, Indiana Pacers: George is one of the best young defenders in the NBA, with a blossoming offensive game.
James Harden, SG, Oklahoma City Thunder: Every Olympic team needs sharp-shooters, and Harden certainly fills that role. He can also run the point in a pinch.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers: The NBA's next great point guard, Irving has it all. He can get into the lane at will, and he's an outstanding shooter.

Derrick Favors, C/F, Utah Jazz: Favors provides some muscle off the bench.
Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana University: The best player in college basketball, Zeller is the total package in the post. He has the skills to score in the halfcourt game, runs the floor like a deer, and has the toughness to push around down low.
Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Antonio Spurs: He's a key cog in the powerhouse Spurs' lineup. Leonard is not only a great defender, but if teams lose track of him he can knock down the open three or score at the rim.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Charlotte Bobcats: Kidd-Gilchrist is the kind of relentless competitor who makes any team better. He's the kind of guy you want on the court in a close game.
Jabari Parker, SF, Simeon Career Academy (Chicago): He'll be a senior in high school next year, but Parker is already being called the best high school basketball player since LeBron. He's a heady point forward who could fill a number of roles off the bench.
Jrue Holiday, PG/SG, Philadelphia 76ers: Holiday's ability to play both guard spots, plus his great defensive ability, makes him a natural to bring off the bench.
John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards: If Team USA wants to run-and-gun, Wall is the kind of guy they'll want on the court.

And these are the guys who just missed the cut...
SG/SF Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz; C/F Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons; SG Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics; C/F DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings; SG Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards; SG Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors; PF DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs; PG/SG Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings; SG Demar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors; PG Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers; PG Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks; PF Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets; SF Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors

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The USA U-23 team would be pretty good wait take that back ......
it would be amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am not in favor of the under 23 rule

Me niether

I can't believe DeMarcus Cousins isn't on the team! He's probably the best player on the Kings.

It's a stupid idea, but USA would still dominate.

Good Roster!

i think the idea to have under 23 is idiotic. many NBA player finish college, meaning they are already around twenty one when they enter the NBA, having only having a few short seasons befor they are no longer elligible.

i think they should combine them let the rookies play with veterans because either way we r dominant USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA

do u have any stuff for my blog?

kyrie irving an athony davis

Annothony Davis

Love Paul George.
He has brought so much to the pacers!!!
He also is going to bring lots for the Select Team!!

USA is my state

I thimk the whole 23 and under idea is dumb. Most of the NBA's greats are over 23 like Kobe Bryant is 35 Lebron James is 28. Now I'm not saying that all guy's under 23 are all bad, but we'd have a better chance not doing that idea. This is again a bad idea from David Stern.

i dont like lebron james

i think 6 and older should play i'm seven (7).

Well LeBron James started just like that!!!!
He was just a young guy like these guys.

Totally agree. usually guys find they're full talent at around 25. Fans like watching the best nba players compete. No one wants to see Micheal-kidd gilchrist lead the USA to the olympics. Yeah maybe when he's 27 and we know the real deal about all these guys.

i would be happy if that happened because i wouldnt have to see lebron;]

Love Jabari Parker, he is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooamazing!!! The U.S. could still kill at the Olympics, even if only we played with the under 23 rule!!! Go United States in London!!!

You definetly got your facts right! :o


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