What if USA Basketball only sent kids for the Rio Olympics?
Who would make USA Basketball's 'junior' roster?
What if USA Basketball passed on sending the best of the best and went with a younger roster? Here's Ben Standig's look at what a 23-and-under roster would have looked like in Rio this summer.
On the outside
Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Jaylen Brown (Celtics), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Pistons), Markelle Fultz (Washington), Harry Giles (Duke), Brice Johnson (Clippers), Zach LaVine (Timberwolves), Nerlens Noel (76ers), Otto Porter (Wizards), Bobby Portis (Bulls), Norman Powell (Raptors), Julius Randle (Lakers), Denzel Valentine (Bulls) ... Davis would be a mortal lock if healthy. Alas, the "Brow" underwent knee surgery, which is why he's not in Rio now. Noel and Randle vie for "final Olympic cut" status.
Jabari Parker, PF, Milwaukee Bucks
The second pick in the 2014 NBA Draft might start receiving All-Star consideration by next season after averaging 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in his first full season. The versatile forward is a career 49 percent shooter from the field. Against many non-NBA power forwards, Parker would likely top that in the Olympics.
Rodney Hood, SG/SF, Utah Jazz
The 6-foot-8 shooter had a breakout season in his second campaign, bumping his scoring nearly six points to 14.5 per game. Hood plays guard for the Jazz, but has enough size to handle frontcourt minutes.
Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons
It's unclear why, but the 7-footer reportedly passed on Rio. Assuming he's good with Team USA, Drummond would give his side the powerful center in the tournament. His dismal free throw shooting won't be a hindrance in any blowouts.
Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards
One of only a handful of locks seeing as Beal received an invitation for the actual 2016 team, but turned it down to focus on the upcoming season. He's stepped up his game in the playoffs and Team USA would need that version here with such a young team. Beal's perimeter shooting behind the shorter international 3-point line would make him a dangerous man.
Marcus Smart, PG, Boston Celtics
Might be the most imposing physical presence on the roster outside of center Andre Drummond. Smart isn't a classic point guard, but he's loaded with intangibles and a defensive presence. Opposing point guards wouldn't relish bringing the ball up the court against Smart or tangling with him on the low block.
Aaron Gordon, PF, Orlando Magic
Dunking is legal in Olympic play. Some countries might push for a change if the rugged Gordon entered the tournament. Gordon grabbed an impressive 6.5 rebounds in 24 minutes per game during his second season. Still raw offensively, but could be frightening running the court as a small-ball five.
Brandon Ingram, SF, Los Angeles Lakers
With his 3-point shot, 73-inch wingspan and zero NBA experience, Ingram could be a Team USA surprise or the 12th man. Some thought the former Duke standout should have been the top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Instead, Ingram gets to play with Mike Krzyzewski one more time.
Justise Winslow, SF, Miami Heat
These Team USA squads are hastily thrown together relative to most of the world, so having a high-impact role player to fill in the cracks is sweet. Winslow becomes the primary wing defender and a sneaky threat to lead the team in rebounding any game.
Myles Turner, C, Indiana Pacers
The safe and perhaps more logical backup center pick is the lengthy and high-top fade wearing Nerlens Noel. Yet the late game scenario gets dicey since both Noel and Andre Drummond shoot under 60 percent on free throws. Turner doesn't have those issues and also provides points, boards and blocks.
Devin Booker, SG, Phoenix Suns
The Kentucky product was a bit overshadowed by some of his teammates coming out of college, but the lottery picked shined bright in the Valley of the Sun. The 6-foot-6 guard turned up his game after the All-Star game, averaging 19.2 points and 4.1 assists. That all happened even though his impressive outside shot didn't arrive as advertised just yet.
Kris Dunn, PG, Minnesota Timberwolves
One of two pure rookies, but the two-time Big East Player of the Year has three years of college ball on his résumé. The John Wall comparisons stem from Dunn's speed/size combination and passing prowess. He can run an offense and find ways to produce points regardless of the defensive plan.
D'Angelo Russell, PG, Los Angeles Lakers
The second pick in the 2015 Draft made his biggest NBA impact with a video gone wrong. The 20-year-old dialed up plenty of offense during his rookie season, averaging 13.2 points while shooting 35.1 percent from deep. As long as the coaches buy into his maturity, Russell would give Team USA a constant one-on-one scoring threat. That he might think that as well would make Russell a true wild card.