USA Basketball has released the names of the 12 players who will compose the roster it will be fielding for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Several big names are noticeably absent as many top players have begged off, citing the need to recover from injuries among other concerns. 2015-16 regular season MVP Stephen Curry declined to joined the team in order to give his ailing knees and ankles some extra time to recover before the 2016-17 season. He is coming off a grueling seven-game Finals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Speaking of the Cavs, Finals MVP LeBron James also explained that he is opting for some much needed rest and likewise declined the invitation to join the squad. Other familiar players who have opted not play in Olympics are Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, and Chris Paul; all of whom are still recovering from various injuries sustained in the season.
Despite the loss of those players, Team USA is still a heavy favorite to bag the Gold medal in the basketball event. Carmelo Anthony is the veteran presence in the squad as he is set to compete in his fourth Olympic games. Anthony is joined by vets DeMarcus Cousins, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant. Half of the team are first-timers. Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Lowry, and Paul George are the new faces. This competition will be very special for Paul George, who missed out on competing in the World Cup two years ago, after suffering a horrible leg injury during practice.
While this is by far not the “best possible” roster that the USA can send, they are still very dangerous and will be tough to handle. Team USA is in Group A, along with Australia, China, and Venezuela.