In what should come as a shock to no one considering their inclusion on the USA roster that won the FIBA World Cup in 2014, USA Basketball announced this morning that both DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are finalists for the national team in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games this summer.
Via USAB.COM -
Three-time Olympic medalists Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) and LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) headline the list of 30 finalists today named for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team by USA Basketball. The player selections were approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team roster will be announced later this year.
Featuring 18 players who have collected 29 Olympic or FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medals and six bronze medals, the 30 finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team include: LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs); Anthony; Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings);Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); DeMar DeRozan(Toronto Raptors); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder);Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings); Paul George (Indiana Pacers);Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); James Harden(Houston Rockets); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets); Andre Iguodala(Golden State Warriors); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); James; DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs); Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors); John Wall (Washington Wizards); andRussell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Again leading the 2016 USA coaching staff is Duke University’s Naismith Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Serving as USA assistant coaches are Jim Boeheim (Syracuse University), Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Rudy Gay was a late addition to Team USA for the FIBA World Cup in 2014, and I don't like his chances on making the final Olympic roster considering how deep that position is.
DeMarcus Cousins can offer Team USA a skill set a lot of the other finalists can't, but I don't think he's necessarily a lock, either. Cutting these 30 finalists down to 12 is going to be extremely difficult, and Cousins has had a rocky history with USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo. That relationship is in a better place now after Cousins' impressive performance for Team USA in the World Cup, but you just never know where and when his reputation is going to cost him. Cousins has mentioned time and time again that he loves representing his country on a national stage. We know how much this would mean to him, and I'd certainly advocate for his inclusion on the final roster. He should be there.
The 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be held from August 4th - 21st in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.