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Rio de Janeiro 2016: Kyrie Irving's Team?


The NBA has quite a few young sensational point guards and the battle for likely three roster spots for the Rio de Janeiro games is going to be very fierce.

Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and Cleveland's own Kyrie Irving are the very early candidates to join incumbents Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook in the fight for the Americans attempt at a third straight gold medal.

At this point the group of players that I just listed will change often as players play their way in and out of the picture and nothing will be set in stone until just weeks before Rio 2016.

At this super early stage though I've definitely got an idea of what I'd love to see happen.

Do you remember the 2008 Olympic "Redeem Team?" That team featured the youthful (and much more talented at the time) Paul and Williams to go along with the aging veteran Jason Kidd. Coach Mike Krzyzewski chose to start Kidd over the young pair as Kidd's leadership and intangibles were deemed more important than the superior talent of Paul and Williams. While I didn't like it, it's clear that it ended up working out as the USA took gold.

Paul and Williams played significant minutes, including important ones, but Kidd was a calm presence for the team.

It's somewhat shocking to think about not including a player such as Rose on the 2016 Olympic Team but I see it going Paul, Irving and Westbrook.

Paul is a near lock to start the entire tournament if he's healthy. Unless he really goes downhill quickly or the new USA coach rates someone else higher then he will probably be leading us out on the floor again. His creating ability and underrated shooting are key assets for an American team which can stall in the half court offense at times.

Irving is the guy who, and I'm not being biased, will surprise the nation in Rio. Hopefully he has broken out nationally by that time but if he somehow hasn't then I expect some crazy moments from him in the 2016 Games just like he showcased in the Rookie-Sophomore Game last winter.

Westbrook, easily one of the most exciting players in the NBA to watch for my money, is simply too athletic and problematic for other teams to leave off the roster. Just watching his speed, quickness, strength and athletic ability gives me goosebumps.

I believe he is the second best athlete in the NBA but is right on LeBron's tail.

With such a dynamic group of point guards I actually see them playing together quite a bit with Irving and Westbrook getting some time off the ball. Without quite an obvious replacement for Kobe Bryant at the shooting guard (Harden?)spot at this stage these guys are definitely going to take some of those minutes because of how strong the point guard spot will be.

All three of our point guards could be better than any of the shooting guards so maybe two of these three will start.

I ultimately expect Kyrie Irving to take over by this time as the top point guard in the NBA and in outplaying Paul at the 2016 games he'll prove to everybody who watches the game how talented he really is.

Rondo, Rose and Williams face a tough spot but it's hard to say any of them will be better than the three players I've chosen. Rose certainly could easily find his way onto the team because it really is hard to see him being left off should he be healthy but I actually do not think he'll be better than any of Paul, Irving or Westbrook in 2016.

What role do you see Irving playing in the 2016 Olympic Games? Who else are your leaders in the clubhouse to join him on the squad?

Keep in mind that Irving's infectious confidence and work ethic will really grow him on many Americans after he shines in that tournament.