Wizards point guard John Wall has a convincing argument that he is a top-12 player in the NBA today. But the 12-man Team USA roster for the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio comes with that little caveat: Half the team can’t be point guards.
So even if Wall is one of the 12 best players in the NBA, where does he fall in the point guard pecking order? Apparently far enough that he isn’t exactly confident he’ll be on the team come next summer.
“I’ll be out of the picture,” Wall said bluntly when asked about his Olympic hopes for next year in a Saturday interview with Ben Standig of CSN Washington. “I’m just being honest. Chris Paul has already won one (Olympic gold medal). Steph Curry had an amazing last year and just won the World Cup. Kyrie (Irving) just won the World Cup. Russell (Westbrook) will probably be on the team. They’ll use him as a two-guard. So, I probably won’t make it.”
Ah, the pragmatist John Wall keeping it real. And with completely justified pragmatism, might I add. To say that Wall’s competition for what will likely be three point guard spots on the Rio roster might be the understatement of the millennium. For one, we are currently in the midst of an era of NBA floor generals widely considered to be a golden age. Paul, the best pure point guard in the land, and the reigning MVP and world champion Curry are essentially locks for the first two slots.
As Wall alluded to, a loophole might be able to get Westbrook’s basketball psychopathy onto the roster as a shooting guard (which, let’s be honest, is his true position). But even then, and even if Wall could beat out Irving (an even more difficult task considering Irving’s connections to Duke and Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Cavs teammate LeBron James), he would still have Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr. to compete with.
Wall’s bleak assessment is the latest reminder of the great talent paradox in USA basketball. There’s simply so much of it that many ridiculously deserving guys are going to be forced to watch from home. So yeah, suffice it so say, we’re probably not going to be seeing Austin Rivers around Team USA any time soon.