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All-time best International 3-on-3 lineups we wish we could have seen in the Olympics

All-time best International 3-on-3 lineups we wish we could have seen in the Olympics

The IOC is set to add 3-on-3 basketball to the Olympics in 2020 which naturally has basketball fans dreaming up all sorts of scenarios. Could anyone actually challenge the U.S.?

In this scenario, we pick the best all-time 3-on-3 lineups from each country, but to make sure we have enough teams, we are picking from players' birth country according to Basketball Reference.  This is taking into account all the greats who have played for an NBA franchise. Let us know if we missed anybody...

Argentina: Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni, Luis Scola

Argentina has always played well at the international level, but this doesn't seem that intimidating given some of the other teams. Manu will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Australia: Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Andrew Bogut

Kyrie Irving was born in Melbourne, which is definitely something I knew before starting this list. Simmons over Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova was tough, but I wanted to do anything I could to keep Delly off this team. Grit can only go so far in 3-on-3.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Vladimir Radmonovic, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jusuf Nurkic

This team has a ton of size and rebounding. Playmaking will be a significant issue. Bogdanovic will really have to go off, much like he did in Rio, for this team to have any success.

Brazil: Leandro Barbosa, Nene, Anderson Varejao

Tough omission leaving off Oscar Schmidt, but I wanted to stick to NBA guys. Brazil is really going to struggle given some of the other trios.

Canada: Rick Fox, Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson

Yeah, I know what you're thinking "Where is Steve Nash?" Well, he was born in South Africa. Disappointing, I know, but not as disappointing as Anthony Bennett. 

[RELATED: EACH NBA TEAM'S BEST 3-ON-3 LINEUPS]

China: Tom Meschery, Yi Jianlian, Yao Ming

Meschery was born in Harbin, China and rocked an incredible mustache in the 1960's. I would give him this spot on the team just for the mustache. 

Croatia: Drazen Petrovic, Peja Stojakovic, Toni Kukoc

This would be a really fun team to watch and would be hell to play with their size and shooting ability. Dark horse team to medal.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo: Emmanual Mudiay, Bismack Biyombo, Dikembe Mutombo

Well, you have a guard and two forwards, but will lack scoring from behind the arc. Good luck going inside against Biyombo and Mutombo though.

France: Nicolas Batum, Dominique Wilkins, Rudy Gobert

Yes, I know Tony Parker and Joakim Noah both play for the French National Team, but neither were born in France. Parker was actually born in Belgium, but you get the bonus of Dominique Wilkins, who was actually born in Paris. This would be a really solid team.

[RELATED: BRADLEY BEAL ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH JOHN WALL]

Germany: Dennis Schroder, Detlef Schrempf, Dirk Nowitzki

This was actually a difficult decision, but having the option of Kiki Vandeweghe and Carlos Boozer made it more difficult than I originally suspected. This could be a sneaky good threesome.

Italy: Reggie Jackson, Marco Belinelli, Danilo Gallinari

Sorry, Andrea Bargnani. It turns out Reggie Jackson was born in Pordenone, Italy and gives this team a playmaker. They are going to shoot a lot of three's.

Lithuania: Sarunas Marciulionis, Arvydas Sabonis, Jonas Valanciunas

Sabonis is going to be the star of the team and carrying two bigs will force Marciulionis into more of a playmaker role. Given that, it's tough to leave off Sarunas Jasikevicius, but he didn't have as much NBA success as Marciulionis.

Russia: Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, Timofey Mozgov

Yeah, good luck.

Serbia: Marko Jaric, Nikola Jokic, Vlade Divac

A lot of height on this team and a lot of skill from the two big men. Maybe could have gone Darko Milicic instead of Jaric, but that's way too much height and not enough athleticism.

Slovenia: Goran Dragic, Beno Udrih, Rasho Nesterovic

This team will probably look different whenever Luka Doncic makes his way to the NBA, but until then this team screams "first round exit."

South Sudan: Luol Deng, Thon Maker, Manute Bol

This team has all the height and all the length and they will be difficult to break down on defense. Offense, on the other hand, will be a significant issue.

[RELATED: MAKING THE BEST BULLETS/WARRIORS 3-ON-3 TEAM]

Spain: Ricky Rubio, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol

This is the team that probably challenges the U.S. the most. They don't have the shooting that other teams have, but the Gasol's can probably knock down just enough jumpers to make up for Rubio's lack of a consistent shot.

Switzerland: Thabo Sefolosha, Enes Kanter, Clint Capela

Apparently, Kanter was born in Zurich, Switzerland and Turkey can survive without him.

Turkey: Hedo Turkoglu, Ersan Ilyasova, Mehmet Okur

Without Kanter, Turkey subs in Mehmet Okur. You could do worse. Plus, you have Turkoglu.

Ukraine: Vitaly Potapenko, Slava Medvedenko, Alex Len

This is the team Stephen A. Smith will mock the most. No contest. 

United Kingdom: Ben Gordon, Kelenna Azubuike, James Donaldson

More Ben Gordon isn't necessarily a bad thing.

United States: LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal

This isn't fair. Honestly, you could sub in Kevin Durant, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson... whoever, it doesn't matter. What is the worst American trio that could probably win gold?

Rest of Africa: Steve Nash (South Africa), Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria)

This is a serious contender with a 2x MVP in Nash, 1x MVP in Olajuwon and a social media MVP in Embiid. I'm all-in on this team.

Rest of Caribbean: J.J. Barea (Puerto Rico), Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), Patrick Ewing (Jamaica)

It was a tough call between Barea, Mickael Pietrus (Guadeloupe) or Raja Bell (U.S. Virgin Islands) for the third spot. Al Horford (Dominican Republic) and Mychael Thompson (Bahamas) were tough to omit, but neither were going to make it over Duncan or Ewing.

Rest of Europe: Tony Parker (Belgium), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Kristaps Porzingis (Latvia)

This is a medal contender. I love everything about this team, but they do lack a deadly three-point shooter. Rik Smits (Netherlands), Zaza Pachulia (Georgia), and Marcin Gortat (Poland) were the big omissions.

Rest of the World: Greivis Vasquez (Venezuela), Eduardo Najera (Mexico), Steven Adams (New Zealand) 

Admittedly, I just wanted Greivis Vasquez in this hypothetical tournament. 

[RELATED: BRADLEY BEAL, JOHN WALL BEST BACKCOURT IN NBA?]

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Expect Wizards trade rumor reboot with upcoming arrival of LeBron James, Lakers

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USA Today Sports

Expect Wizards trade rumor reboot with upcoming arrival of LeBron James, Lakers

LeBron James is coming to town. Normally the focus remains with the four-time MVP whenever he makes an appearance. Those looking beyond Sunday’s Lakers-Wizards meeting in Washington might split their concentration. Think trade.

The Wizards (11-17) are still trying for a foothold after early-season wobbles. Now 9-8 since a 2-9 start, they enter Friday’s game at Brooklyn having lost three in a row. The notion of adding help or breaking up the band exists. There are also salary cap concerns going forward.

Possible trade partners vary, but the Lakers may target All-Star level help to pair with James. The rumor mill is aware of those factors and constantly churning out ideas typically involving John Wall or Bradley Beal. All will take the court together this weekend.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith offered his own Washington-centric take to NBC Sports Washington following Wednesday’s Celtics-Wizards overtime thriller.

 “You have to trade Bradley Beal,” Smith said.

“The reason why you have to trade Bradley Beal is he’s three years younger (than Wall), he’s got two years less left on his contract, and if you scour the league every executive will tell you he’s the higher commodity because John Wall’s game is predicated on athleticism and speed and conditioning. Usually, father time says that dissipates, which means you’re going to lower in value.”

Wall’s four-year, $170 million contract extension begins next season. Beal, 25, signed a five-year, $128 million contract in 2016. Otto Porter is the highest paid player on the roster this season ($26.011 million). His deal includes a player option for the 2020-21 season.

Those salary numbers combined with production shines a light on Beal.

“He’s a shooter in a game where shooting is incredibly important in this day and age,” Smith said of Beal. “His value will only elevate. The fact is with Wall the perception is there’s a bad contract. In Porter, the perception is there’s a bad contract. In Beal, no one has called it a bad contract.

“So when you look at it from that perspective, he’s the guy that you may need to move in order to acquire the attributes that you need in order to make this team better down the line or at least get enough cap space so you can somewhat start over because you’re not going to get anybody to take John Wall’s contract right now.”

The Lakers may seek immediate help with the West wide open beyond the dominate Warriors. They also may not want to add long-term money or trade potential player assets including Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball or Josh Hart. Los Angeles is expected to make plays for headliners Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard this summer.

As for the Wizards, reports of potential deals does not mean the team is actively shopping Wall and Beal or even considering such moves. Washington, Boston, and Philadelphia are the only Eastern Conference teams with at least two All-Stars from last season. If the Wizards are going to rally, those are the types of players needed. Does such thinking change if 11-17 turns into 22-28 as the Feb. 7 trade approaches? We’ll see.

All we know for sure is that James and crew will be in Chinatown Sunday night. We should probably just focus on that. Good luck with that.

 

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Three things to watch for Wizards at Nets, including if Otto Porter will play

Three things to watch for Wizards at Nets, including if Otto Porter will play

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr. and the Washington Wizards take on Spencer Dinwiddie, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Allen and the Brooklyn Nets. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington Plus. 

Here are three things to watch.

1. Will Porter play?: 

The Wizards may be getting a key player back on Friday with Otto Porter Jr. on the road back from a right knee contusion. He left Monday's game against the Pacers after suffering the injury, then missed Wednesday's game against the Celtics. The Wizards lost both of those games.

Porter, 25, was close to playing on Wednesday as a gametime decision, so it seems likely he will be available on Friday. If he does play, he will look for better success against the Nets than he has in their other match-ups this season. Through two games against Brooklyn, Porter is averaging only 7.5 points while shooting 35.3 percent from the field. He is 0-for-6 from three.

Porter, though, had been playing very well before the injury. In his previous three games, he was averaging 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and a block. He shot 55.3 percent overall and 47.1 percent from three.

2. Wiz Need to Bounce Back:

The Wizards head to a Brooklyn in the middle of a slump. They have lost three straight games following a three-game win streak that happened to begin against this same Nets team on Dec. 1. 

The Wizards have found some balance recently, having gone 9-8 in their last 17 games after going 2-9 to begin the year. But real, sustained momentum has been elusive. 

The Nets are a team that they should beat. This game begins a manageable stretch that includes some good teams like the Lakers and Pacers, but plenty of potential cupcakes like the Hawks, Suns and Bulls.

3. Nets On a Roll: 

Though the Nets (11-18) have an even worse record than the Wizards (11-17), they are on a bit of a roll. They have won three straight games, including an overtime victory over the Raptors and one on the road against the Sixers.

They held Toronto to only 105 points, including the extra period. And against the Sixers, they scored 127 points in regulation.

Spencer Dinwiddie has been leading the way, averaging 27 points and 6.3 assists during this three-game stretch. Allen Crabbe has also stepped up with 16 points and 4.3 boards per game.

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