Barring another bizarre disease outbreak or safety scare, we should be geared up for a loaded Team USA squad for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and it’s entirely possible the roster will be filled with several former Wildcats.
With a new batch of UK talent heading into the NBA each season, it’s tough to decipher who all would represent our country, but here’s my best shot at who might make it happen and what their likelihood of earning a roster spot would be.
This one should be obvious, he’s one of the greatest players on the planet right now, and is a matchup nightmare for anyone in international play. He won gold for USA back in London, and the only reason he’s not in Rio right now is due to injury and health conditions in the area. Davis will only continue to get better these next four years, and will be playing for Team USA in Tokyo. Signed, sealed, delivered.
I was a little confused with the whole Towns-Dominican Republic eligibility thing, but after looking into the rules, I believe he’ll be good to go for Team USA in 2020. Because he played for the DR back in 2012, but was under the age of 18 and was born in New Jersey, he’s eligible to choose wherever he wants to play in the next go-round. Should he decide to play for USA, he’ll without a doubt make the team, especially considering he dominated the league as a rookie and is only getting better. Sign him up now, he’s suiting up in red, white, and blue in Tokyo.
After proving he’s one of, if not the best center in the NBA, Cousins should have his spot locked up for the next go around, especially with some of the older generation guys likely calling it quits after Rio. Cousins hasn’t necessarily dominated in his time on the floor, considering the Olympic tempo has been fast and run-n-gun in nature, which definitely does not play to Big Cuz’s strengths. He’ll have to work on his fouling tendencies and defense to get major minutes, but they’d be stupid to not include the best big man in the world on the roster.
If it weren’t for a knee injury/surgery late in the 2015-16 season, Wall would be playing in Rio right now. Wall proved to be one of the best point guards in the game last season, and still has yet to hit his prime at 25 years old. If he can manage to stay healthy and improve his jump shot further, Wall will likely take over Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozen’s roster spot and manage big minutes in Tokyo.
With Booker lighting up the scoreboard towards the end of his rookie year, it’s hard to imagine he won’t at least get a shot in four years. He was the fourth youngest player in the history of the game behind Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant to score 1,000 points in a season, most 30 point games in a rookie season, etc. It seemed like Booker was breaking records every game at one point, and the kid is 19 years old. The comparisons to Klay Thompson have been there since he was in high school, and judging by Thompson’s Rio dominance, I’m sure similar production out of Booker isn’t out of the realm of possibility. It’s not a lock by any means, but he’s on a great path to make it happen.
Considering this is supposedly Coach Cal’s greatest recruiting class ever, we have to include one of these guys, right? Monk is an uptempo, high-energy, athletic guy, fitting the Team USA mold perfectly. That being said, we have yet to see one minute of action out of Monk in a college uniform, let alone playing good enough in the NBA to solidify himself as an Olympic athlete. This is entirely grasping at straws, but this kid is going to be good.
These are just six guys of dozens (eventually) dominating in the NBA, especially here in the next four years. Who knows who all will have the chance to compete? The 2018 FIBA Championships will be a great indicator of how the 2020 Olympic roster will shape up.
Aside from the American kids, we could have guys like Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles suit up for Canada, Enes Kanter for Turkey, Skal Labissiere for Haiti, etc. Former Wildcats will be loaded in Tokyo.
Who do you think will represent the BBN in Tokyo?