The Winter Olympics are playing out in Pyeongchang, while the NBA has reached the All Star break. The IOC announced this summer that three on three will be added to the 2020 Summer games in Tokyo.
Here’s a look at the potential competition.
Scoring will be hard to come by against Cameroon with Jojo locking down the middle. Mbah Moute can cover a variety of players, and Siakam has been a quality bench producer for the Raptors in his second season. Embiid will get all the post up and isolation opportunities he wants, and less trips up the floor will give #21 even more energy to dominate on offense and defense.
Potential Lineup: Joel Embiid , Luc Mbah a Moute, Pascal Siakam
Croatia has a talented side, full of intriguing young pieces. The team is led by 76ers forward Dario Saric. Sometimes the forgotten player in Philly, Saric has been great in his role this season. Croatia’s attack will be centered around a pick and pop game with Bojan Bogdanovic, the Pacers starting small forward and Croatia’s leading scorer in the 2016 Olympics.
Rounding it out is 22 year old Magic guard Mario Hezonja, a player that has yet to maximize his potential in the NBA. Hezonja is a capable floor spacer, and time will tell whether he develops. In the month of February, Hezonja has shown more, averaging 17.3 ppg and hitting 2 three pointers per game.Lastly, 21 year old Cavs rookie big Ante Zizic gives Croatia great lineup flexibility and upside.
Potential Lineup: Bojan Bogdanovic, Mario Hezonja, Dario Saric, Ante Zizic
France has a talented squad that is centered around the most terrifying shot blocker in the field in Rudy Gobert. The go-to scoring threat on the French wing will be Evan Fournier, a role he assumes with the Orlando Magic. Additionally, their is Nicolas Batum a versatile veteran who’s large contract pays him north of 25 million till 2021.
Fortunately for the French, there isn’t a salary cap to manage in the Olympics, so Batum’s talent and not his contract will take center stage. Tony Parker, who at at 35 is winding down his Hall of Fame career may not be a full time contributor by 2020. Waiting to take the point is “Filthy Frank”, the 8th overall pick in 2017 by the Knicks. Only playing 20 minutes per game, the 19 year old Ntilikina is an exciting prospect.
Potential Lineup: Evan Fournier, Nicolas Batum, Rudy Gobert, Tony Parker, Frank Ntilikina
The length on this 3 man Greek squad may seem like their are a few extra players on the court. The Antetokounmpo duo figures to be a lethal as Giannis will be dominant on both ends. Giannis has a massive impact on and off the court, as he is immensely popular worldwide. Rounding out the group is Georgios Papagiannis, a lottery pick in 2013 by the Kings who was recently waived. Papa G is a 6’11” raw young center, but by the Olympics he should be able to contribute.
Potential Lineup: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Georgios Papagiannis
Perhaps Latvia can consider bringing in Don Nelson to coach this team. Nelson, no stranger to cigars, winning basketball, and unconventional lineups, would probably have a hell of a time with a unicorn like Porzingis. #6’s freshly torn ACL is a huge bummer, but hopefully NBA fans don’t have to miss KP’s sweet shooting stroke and vicious shot blocking for too long.
25 year old Spurs big Davis Bertans, a homeless man’s Porzingis, is a three point threat and will be a solid #2 option. Completing the wacko lineup is Andris Biedrins, who’s name alone probably makes Warriors fan everywhere cringe.
Potential Lineup: Kristaps Porzingis, Davis Bertans, Andris Biedrins
Lithuania produces some of the Association’s top glass eaters. Both JV and Sabonis gobble up boards and attack offensive rebounds, making this a tough matchup for countries without size. Valunciunas is sixth (21.4%) in the NBA in total rebound percentage,while Sabonis is currently fifteenth (18.4%).
Fans figure to see plenty of dazzling low post moves from the green and gold jerseys of Lithuania as Sabonis and JV are excellent finishers in the painted area. Lithuania hasn’t produced many NBA caliber guards, but if they try some funky lineups they will be able to bully teams.
Potential Lineup: Jonas Valunciunas, Domantas Sabonis, Donatas Montiejunas
The Serbian squad may be my favorite to envision, because it will be an absolute passing clinic. The Joker throws some of the niftiest passes in the Association, and he will be a terror in 3×3 competition. Jokic continues to blossom this season with the Nuggets, scoring, rebounding, and passing at elite levels.
Pair him with Teodosic, also a joy to watch distribute, and this offense will be pretty. Bogdan Bogdanovic, a rookie with the Sacramento Kings, will be able to give Serbia plenty of shooting. Lastly, the biggest man in the NBA and possibly the world, Boban Marjanovic will be ready to bruise and back up Jokic.
Potential Lineup: Milos Teodosic,Nikola Jokic, Bogdan Bogdanovic,Boban Marjanovic
If you don’t know about Luka Doncic already, it’s time to take notice. The favorite to be chosen #1 overall this summer, Doncic has performed well this season with Real Madrid in Spain’s Liga ACB. Doncic and Dragic teamed up to capture Slovenia’s first Eurobasket Championship last summer over Serbia. Dragic was the tournament’s MVP and he would lead a lethal Slovenian attack.
Potential Lineup: Goran Dragic, Luka Doncic, Zoran Dragic
This is a talented team that features a good mix of passing, shooting, and defense. The Gasol brothers are staples for the Spanish squad that currently is second in the FIBA world basketball rankings. These brothers are the best in the competition and their combination of skills give Spain multiple ways to play.
Abrines and Mirotic are deadeye from deep and Rubio is a pinpoint passer. This team will be able to spread you out and attack from all angles, making for some exciting competition.
Potential Lineup: Marc Gasol , Pau Gasol, Alex Abrines, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Mirotic
United States of America
You may have heard about a few of these individuals. Their intentions for Tokyo are unknown, but what isn’t up for debate is their talent. Lebron is the King of the basketball world. Nipping at his heels are the likes of Durant, who is an extremely efficient scorer that recently surpassed 20,000 career points and won his first NBA title. That fails to mention his teammate Wardell Stephen Curry, who is the best three point shooter the world has ever seen. There are many more candidates to chose from, but AD’s absurd ability gives the US an overqualified “4th man”.
Potential Lineup: Stephen Curry, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis