So the question is whether or not we can repeat in the 2012 Olympics in London (although of course, they ought to make a splash in the World Championship in 2010). By then though, four years would have gone by and some of the players would have aged severely:
Carlos Boozer - 31
Jason Kidd - 39
Kobe Bryant - 34
Michael Redd- 33
Tayshaun Prince - 32
True, Boozer's 31 years or Prince's 32 years aren't exactly siren calls to a retirement home, but it must be noted that teams all around the world will be looking to get younger. Just check out 17-year old Ricky Rubio of silver medalists Spain and some of the guys on the China team. With the American game revolving around transition offense, we'll need young legs to run. So, who's still 30 and under on the 2008 team?
Lebron James - 28
Deron Williams - 28
Dwayne Wade - 30
Dwight Howard - 27
Chris Bosh - 27
Chris Paul - 27
Carmelo Anthony - 28
That's a great core right there. You have the tri-captains, James, Wade and Anthony, point guards in Paul and Williams, and two big men, Howard and Bosh. What we'll want now are young complimentary guys who will form the core of the team when these guys move on. Remember, continuity is the key.
I hearby nominate the following:
#1 Kevin Martin (Sacramento Kings - SG)
We need a consistent perimeter threat to replace Michael Redd and Kevin Martin is my man. He has an unorthodox shooting style but that doesn't stop him from being one of the NBA's best offensive threats. From outside jumpers to attacking the rim, this guy can do it all.
#2 Kevin Love (Minnesotta Timberwolves - PF/C)
Love is a versatile big man who is comfortable in the post and on the outside, nailing three's. His game is not only very throwback, it's very Euro. Toss in his great passing game, and you have a guy who can scoop up rebounds, and then ignite a transition fastbreak with an insanely long outlet pass to someone like James or Wade.
#3 Greg Oden (Portland Trailblazers - C)
Team USA had only three big men in Beijing and I think we ought to bring one more just in case. Oden is great defensively, but let's not forget that he can finish with either hand AND hit jumpers. Toss in his fun loving personality and he can also be a hit with the international community that often tries to paint the team as stodgy and standoff-ish.
#4 Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City - SG/SF)
When Lebron, Wade and Melo all become too old, someone will need to score, and that someone will be Kevin Durant. This guy has unlimited range and the capability to put up ridiculous numbers. He's also a good hustle type of guy, and when your #1 option on offense is hustling his butt of on defense, the others on the team will follow.
#5 Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics - PG)
We'll need a third point guard for roster depth's sake but Rondo is hardly what you would call "a bad pick." This guy has really grown playing with the Big Three and you just know he'll be a star down the road. He gets the ball to just where you want it, plays great defense, and he's got the speed to keep up with all the Euro guards.
Some other names to throw out there:
Michael Beasley - can score like crazy, but will he have the discipline?
Brandon Roy - can play both point and shooting guard, passing and scoring as needed
Monta Ellis - if he has developed a passing game in four years then you'll need to make space for this guy
Derrick Rose - if either Deron Williams or Chris Paul can't make it, he's the guy to plug in
Russell Westbrook - he's more shooting guard than point right now, but the defense more than makes up for it
Lamarcus Aldridge - big guys who can shoot are always appreciated, especially under FIBA rules. If Bosh can't make it, you put him in.
OJ Mayo - another possible disciplinary case but Kobe loves the guy. He can shut people down and score with the best of them (but then, scoring will probably not be an issue on any US team)