Despite a slow start against Venezuela on Monday, Team USA still piled on for a 44-point Olympic win in Rio. And frankly, it doesn't look like any team has what it takes to keep a game close against Kevin Durant & Co. at these Games. They still have to play the tournament, of course, but anything short of blowout after blowout on the way to a gold medal will be disappointing. That means it's time to start looking ahead to Tokyo 2020, when we'll at least have the drama of figuring out who makes Team USA. Here, then, is our early look at the next Olympic basketball squad.
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Damian Lillard (guard)
Lillard has routinely been snubbed by Team USA, which he's seemingly used as motivation in his quest to conquer the NBA. He probably would have made the team this year were it not for a plantar fasciitis injury that kept him sidelined for the summer. Should he maintain his current level of play — and if he so desires — there should be a spot waiting for him in 2020.
Getty ImagesSteve Dykes
Kyrie Irving (guard)
Once you're a part of Team USA, you don't really get kicked out. It's up to you to decide your time as an Olympian is over. Irving's only 24 years old, and he's just going to keep getting better. He'll make the 2020 squad without much resistance.
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Stephen Curry (guard)
Believe it or not, Curry has yet to appear on a Team USA roster. He wasn't good enough in 2012, and the injuries he sustained during this year's playoff run kept him off the 2016 squad. As long as his legs don't fall apart between now and the 2020 Games, though, he's a lock for the next Olympic roster.
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Devin Booker (wing)
Of the 12 players on this projected roster, Booker's the biggest reach. Watch out for the Suns wing, though. He's a flamethrower from behind the 3-point line, and he's starting to show a real knack for trying to get in opponents' heads, Kobe-style. With a little bit of improvement on the defensive end, he could be one of the best young wings in the game in 2020. And on top of all that, the young man is just an outstanding teammate. He'd be a great fit for Team USA.
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Jimmy Butler (wing)
Versatility rules the day in international play, and Butler can do a little bit of everything. Like Irving, the Bulls wing will have a spot in the next Olympics if he wants to play. He's part of the family now — and it never hurts to have some consistency from one Team USA squad to the next.
Kawhi Leonard (wing)
Without injury or illness (so far as we know), Leonard passed on playing in the 2016 Olympics. Why would he change his mind for 2020? Spurs coach Gregg Popovich takes over for Coach Krzyzewski after the Rio Games; if there's anyone who can talk Leonard into representing his country on a global stage, it's Pop. Leonard's well on his way to being the best two-way player the game. He'd be a welcome addition to the Olympic roster.
NBAE/Getty ImagesJeff Haynes
Klay Thompson (wing)
Thompson's struggled a bit in Rio, but that's really neither here nor there. He's an outstanding shooter and a solid defender who doesn't need the ball in his hands all the time. And against international competition, he can even show a little creativity off the bounce in unorthodox lineups without a point guard. Like the rest of the potential returning Olympians, Thompson has a spot on Team USA for as long as he wants.
NBAE/Getty ImagesJeff Haynes
Paul George (wing/forward)
Seeing George at the Olympics after the catastrophic injury he suffered in 2014 is one of the highlights for Team USA. For that reason alone, George would be welcome on the Olympic team in 2020. But as we've seen over the past season and into this summer, PG is still one of the top 10 players in the league -- and somehow, he's still improving. By the next Olympics, he'll be one of the most important players on the roster.
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Draymond Green (forward)
Of course, by including Green, we're assuming that his current extracurricular shenanigans won't torpedo his status with Team USA — and that he continues to be a versatile player who can do it all at an elite level. But USA Basketball is always in need of size, so Green should be an easy choice as one of the few true forwards on the roster.
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Blake Griffin (forward)
Griffin will be 31 years old when the 2020 Olympics roll around, so there might be better, younger options for Team USA. But he's one of the best basketball players on the planet, and injury has prevented him from suiting up for USA Basketball. He should get an opportunity to win his first gold medal during the next Games.
NBAE/Getty ImagesAndrew D. Bernstein
DeMarcus Cousins (center)
Cousins owns international basketball, and he's only 25 years old. The rest of the world should just go ahead and prepare to have to deal with Boogie for the foreseeable future, because he'll be back to win another gold in 2020. As a 29-year-old. Sorry, I can't quite wrap my mind around that.
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Anthony Davis (center)
This should be Karl-Anthony Towns, if we're being honest. He's going to be a much better player than Davis, because the Pelicans big man isn't quite the defensive player we expected him to be. Towns has already played for the Dominican team in international competition, however, which means he's ineligible for Team USA, barring some unforeseen change in the rules. So without KAT on the roster, we'll take Davis.
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Even though the rules keep him off Team USA, not being able to include Towns feels like a snub. DeAndre Jordan is a bit of one as well, but he'll win his gold medal this year — and if it weren't for injuries to the rest of the NBA's top big men, he probably wouldn't have made this team in the first place. Sorry, DeAndre. As for the rest of the snubs, John Wall hurts. It'd be nice to see him get a gold medal. Kevin Durant, LeBron James, James Harden? It's hard to see them wanting to give up their summers to play for Team USA once again in 2020.
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Young players on the brink
A few members of the current Select Team who will deserve a long look for the 2020 roster: Julius Randle (probably won't be that good, to be honest), Brandon Ingram (a favorite for the 2024 team, but he's too young and too raw for 2020), Kris Dunn (a sleeper to make the team, in my estimation), D'Angelo Russell (too many veteran point guards ahead of him, although he'll play in the Olympics someday), Aaron Gordon (seriously, do not sleep on the Magic forward), and Justise Winslow (a defensive juggernaut whose ceiling will be determined by his offensive development).