So yeah… this is the 2016 Team USA Olympic Basketball Team. You wanted Curry and Westbrook? Too bad. You get Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler. You wanted Chris Paul and Anthony Davis? Tough break. You get Demar Derozan and DeAndre Jordan. You wanted Lebron James? Welp, you get Harrison Barnes. Harrison Fucking Barnes is on the USA Olympics roster. Harrison “I’m not one of the five best players on my own NBA team” Barnes. Harrison “I should have been benched in the NBA Finals” Barnes. Harrison “I might not even get the max contract people have claimed I’ll get because I missed every big shot I took in the playoffs” Barnes. That’s what we’re working with right now.
And look, obviously this is an exaggeration. It’s not that bad. We still have Durant. We still have Kyrie. We still have Klay and Draymond and Demarcus and, yes, Carmelo Anthony. And in the context of the entire basketball world, Paul George and Jimmy Butler aren’t exactly a terrible combo of wings to have at your disposal.
But when you look at what this team could have been. When you look at the “Death Lineup on Steroids” options that could’ve been. When you think about having Steph, Russ, Kawhi, Durant, and Lebron on the court together… or Steph-Klay-Durant-Lebron-Draymond… or Paul-Russ-Klay-Durant-Lebron… or Steph-Paul-Kyrie-Durant-Lebron… or Paul-Klay-Kawhi-Lebron-Davis… or Paul-Kawhi-Durant-Lebron-Davis… or Paul-Durant-Lebron-Davis-Boogie… or Steph-Klay-Harden-Melo-Lebron… or Steph-Kyrie-Klay-Durant-Lebron. When you see that 7 of the 8 best basketball players in the world aren’t on this team… That sucks.
Knowing what this roster could have been… a roster that could have been the best team since the Dream Team…
Carmelo Anthony (see P.S.)
DeMarcus Cousins (see P.P.S.)
…and then seeing that only 5 of those 12 guys are actually here… not to mention that Blake, Dame, Wall, LaMarcus, Towns, and Kristaps* aren’t here either… then this roster starts to look like the biggest letdown ever. Guess we’ll just have to settle for closer games and an underwhelming Gold Medal.
Thanks a lot Zika Virus, you piece of shit.
*What’s that? Kristaps is from Latvia? Uhhhh, no he’s not. Why do you think he’s not playing for Latvia this summer? Exactly, he’s laying the groundwork for full citizenship. Kristaps Porzingis is more American than you and I will ever be. Don’t ever forget that.
P.S. I know Carmelo “shouldn’t be” one of those 12, but he was always going to be on this team. Would I prefer Draymond or George in his place? Yeah. But Melo is 1) grandfathered into that roster spot, 2) sneaky kind of the most perfect Olympic/International player ever. Shorter threes, less effort defensively, gets to kind of fuck around and make cool passes, and he’s more than fine with playing the catch-and-shoot/hot hand fourth man role with these teammates. International Melo is peak Melo.
P.P.S. Everything else aside, DeMarcus is still the most talented and most dominant actual big man in the world and it’s really not even close.