Passing The Torch

usabball

By Stefan Anderson

Since the 2004 collapse in the Athens, the USA basketball committee has been persistent with comprising the best talent to represent the stars and stripes.  The 2016 Olympics in the Brazil is shortly coming up and the United States is faced with the same dilemma.

With seasoned vets like Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James and Chris Paul, once again at the head of the talent pool of over 30 players, that all want to star in the Olympics.  The question arises, should the same players be selected due to seniority and talent instead of giving the emerging talent of the NBA an opportunity to play?

I don’t believe so.

Although these players are far from their prime, the likes of Bryant, Paul, Anthony and James should not be selected for the 2016 Men’s National team. I believe that those players should give their opportunity to younger players that could benefit from the experience.

After playing in 3 consecutive Olympics James and Anthony should be excluded definitely and Paul and Bryant have played in the last two as well.

Many players have transformed following their Olympic experience.

  • After the 2000 Olympics- Vince Carter not only made his greatest highlight over (moment of silence) Frederic Weis, but posted his best statistical season averaging 27 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.9 apg and was a series away from heading to the NBA Finals.
  • The 2006 FIBA World Championship games, where the USA fell short and was awarded the bronze medal, a rising Carmelo Anthony was at the forefront for the USA, and went on to average a career high 28.9 ppg in 2006-07.
  • When the Redeem Team came together in 2008, Dwayne Wade played one of most pivotal roles as the team’s 6th Wade was struggling with concurrent injuries and failed to play on a full season, but following the Olympic experience played his most games during a season (79) and as well posting a staggering 30 ppg. Dwight Howard was also supplanted to the league’s premier post player and the only one the 2008 roster. Howard went on to secure his first DPOY award and led the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals.
  • The 2010 FIBA World Championship was led by Kevin Durant, who helped the USA to win the gold medal. Durant’s play during the World Championship translated into the regular season as the Thunder begin to excel in the Western Conference and fell short of the Finals after their loss to eventual championship Dallas Mavericks.
  • Even more recent in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, where the leading MVP candidates James Harden and MVP Stephen Curry where made into household names and NBA superstars after their international play.

Not to say the elder statesmen don’t deserve their opportunity to play in their final Olympics, but why not let a young star get the opportunity to turn into the next Lebron James or Kobe Bryant. There are so many players amongst the pool who could benefit greatly from the experience, but will not be able to if these vets don’t find a way to pass the torch.

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