Team USA Basketball Roster Has Officially Been Released
The official 12 man roster was recently released for the U.S.A. Men’s Basketball team. There were no major surprises on the team after you take away those who declined due to Zika concerns or injuries. Lebron declined, Steph declined, Chris Paul declined, and a host of others who are incredibly talented, but could not make it to Brazil this year.
I’m most disappointed in Kawhi Leonard for declining. He is an incredible talent who can play both sides of the floor. He has never played on the U.S.A Olympic team before and I thought he deserved a role on America’s greatest team, to be considered as an official “Dream Team” member.
When you think of Olympic Basketball you think of the greatest team ever assembled under the sun. I really thought Kawhi should have been a part of that. He certainly would have made the team this year, even if most of the NBA didn’t decline to join the team. He is expecting his first child this summer and maybe that was enough to keep him out.
Mostly I’m disappointed in Kawhi because his dismissal of the 2016 Olympic team left the door open for another small forward. A small forward who is an incredible talent himself, but I’ve never considered more than an average roll player. That small forward is Harrison Barnes.
I’ll write the sentence again in case you read it too fast. Harrison Barnes is on the U.S.A Men’s Olympic Basketball Team. Of all the greatest players united under Jerry Colangelo, I can’t imagine a more forgettable one than Harrison Barnes.
This is not some referendum on the play of Barnes. He is a capable and unbelievable athlete on both ends of the floor. His basketball acumen, range, IQ and ability have made him a staple in an unprecedented Golden State offense. I remember his days at North Carolina. I remember he scored a million points against Clemson in the ACC tournament and had a bench clearing dunk that I’m sure YouTube could find in .2 seconds.
And I’m not railing against Barnes. He was a first round pick — and deservedly so — and has made a name for himself in the NBA. But, I watch a lot of NBA games and I couldn’t tell you what number jersey he wears and I couldn’t tell you what sneaker he wears, or if he has any endorsements at all.
Being part of the U.S.A. team is being part of the “Dream Team”. And I realize that the dream team might have it’s flaws too. Isiah Thomas was left out, mostly because who else would have been left out? But playing for Team U.S.A. is a privilege and not a right. I understand all that. I understand that a dozen other guys were asked, but couldn’t for their own reasons. I know, I get it.
But of all the characters to adorn the Red, White, and Blue jerseys, to go out and fight for their country, to bring home the Gold yet another year, I just don’t see me remembering that Harrison Barnes made the team.
Barnes will more than likely come off the bench to give Durant and George some rest. He will also more than likely play on the court at the same time as Draymond Green — giving them the advantage of familiarity, much like DeRozan and Lowry.
I just hope Barnes shoots better from beyond the arc than in Game 5 of the NBA finals. He shot 16% in that game from behind the arc, and 14% from inside the arc. Not a great game. His advanced stats throughout the playoffs were not good and maybe that’s why I’m giving a sour face to his nod towards the U.S.A. team.
Either way, he’s on the team, forgettable or not. Maybe he should wear his Golden State Jersey to the lighting of the torch, so the other countries will remember his number when he checks in. Maybe I should just look up his number now.
(Team USA Basketball Roster) (Team USA Basketball Roster)