As Team USA's Olympic opener versus China approaches, a national collection steeped in parity currently prepares for the celebrated Rio stage. With ten fresh faces joining Olympic veterans Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant, starting positions are within each players' grasp. For departing National Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, his third-- and final -- Olympiad iteration may be the most difficult to assess from a talent standpoint.
When examining Team USA's roster, only Kevin Durant figures to be a unanimous lock within the starting lineup. Though Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson have the inside track as starting back-court, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler and DeMar Derozan cannot be discounted.
Meanwhile, in the front-court, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan all sport realistic hopes of joining Durant in the opening group. With a myriad of All-NBA stars opting to forgo this summer's Olympics, training camp and a five-game exhibition schedule should allow Team USA's best available blend of on-court efficiency to emerge.
Here is an early prediction of what Team USA's depth chart may be come August 6.
- Point Guard: Kyrie Irving/ Kyle Lowry/ Jimmy Butler
- Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson/ Jimmy Butler/ DeMar DeRozan
- Small Forward: Kevin Durant/ Paul George/ DeMar DeRozan/ Harrison Barnes
- Power Forward: Draymond Green/ Carmelo Anthony/ Paul George
- Center: DeMarcus Cousins/ DeAndre Jordan/ Draymond Green
Argentina— July 22 in Las Vegas
China — July 24 in Los Angeles (Staples Center)
China — July 26 in Oakland (Oracle Arena)
Venezuela — July 29 in Chicago (United Center)
Nigeria — Aug. 1 in Houston (Toyota Center)
Team USA has won 17 consecutive contests since falling to Argentina during the semi-finals of 2004's Athens Olympics.
Other notable news around the association includes:
Greg Popovich will take over for Mike Krzyzewski following this Olympic tournament.
Mexico City Arena will host two regular-season contests when the Phoenix Suns take on Dallas and San Antonio January 12 and 14.
Bass, who played last season with the Lakers, won't have to get used to new rims.
According to league sources, the Celtics have shown keen interest in pairing Okafor with newly acquired Al Horford.
Former champion and sixth-man award winner Jason Terry will be looking for a new basketball home next season.
Will it be Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown or perhaps Dragan Bender? NBA.com's blogtable theorizes which 2016 draftee will make it big.
NewsOk's Barry Tramel explores the parallels between euro-stars Alex Abrines and Rudy Fernandez.