It's a universally agreed upon Internet truism that the past and the future are each more interesting than the present. In that vein, let's skip discussions centering around the boring, dominant edition of Team USA's basketball squad at the 2012 Summer Olympics to instead focus our attention on the 2016 roster.
Rumor has it that USA basketball at the next Olympics will be a 23-and-under team, meaning the LeBron/Kobe/Carmelo faction that has dominated international play for some time will all be well past expired. Hell, even reigning rookie of the year Kyrie Irving will be too old, as the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard is set to turn 24 just before the cut-off date. For what it's worth, Derrick Rose will be 27.
So what would a 2016 Team USA squad look like? According to CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman, it could have a decidedly Chicago feel. Goodman sees Chicago natives Anthony Davis and Jabari Parker each starting for the U.S. at the next Olympics.
Here's a look at Goodman's projected roster for Team USA's 23-and-under squad in 2016:
SF - Jabari Parker (3-15-95), Simeon High (Illinois)
PF - Cody Zeller (11-5-92), Indiana
C - Anthony Davis (3-11-93), New Orleans Hornets (NBA)
PG - Trey Burke (11-12-92), Michigan
SG - Shabazz Muhammad (11-13-93), UCLA
SG - Bradley Beal (6-28-93), Washington Wizards (NBA)
PG - Kyle Anderson (9-20-93), UCLA
PG - Andrew Harrison (10-20-94), Travis High (Texas)
SF - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (9-26-93), Charlotte Bobcats (NBA)
SF - Adonis Thomas (3-25-93), Memphis
BF - James Michael McAdoo (1-4-93), North Carolina
PF - Aaron Gordon (9-6-95), Archbishop Mitty High (Calif.)
C - Nerlens Noel (4-10-94), Kentucky
It's certainly interesting that Goodman sees Parker, an incoming high school senior at Simeon, and three current college players in the starting lineup while incoming NBA rookies Brad Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are relegated to the bench. Regardless, an Olympic team featuring Jabari and A.D.? Oh yeah, I could get down with that.
Given the physical toll the Olympics put NBA players through right after the playoffs, it's easy to see why the 23-and-under idea is being floated. Just image the type of bodily torment LeBron James would be going through right now if he weren't The Terminator? Yahoo! Sports basketball know-it-all Adrian Wojnarowski believes the change is likely. It's good news for NBA fans who spend the Olympics crossing their fingers their star player doesn't come away with a big injury.
Even the 23-and-under team should have more than enough talent to compete for gold in 2016. Yes, Spain boasts a very solid roster, as do several other countries. Is it out of the question that Team USA could *still* boast several of the best players in the tournament even with the age restrictions? I don't think so. Davis is a stud. Jabari and Shabazz Muhammad are each projected to have very bright pro futures. That bench is loaded, too.
It would certainly be a welcomed challenge for USA basketball to tie its own hands on players under consideration. What's wrong with adding a bit of a handicap?