LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 12: Lebron James #6 (R) of United States bites his gold medal after defeating Spain in the Men’s Basketball gold medal game on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The initial Team USA roster pool was announced on Monday, full of familiar names and a glut of talent. It’s an embarrassment of riches, really, and Jerry Colangelo, coach Mike Krzyzewski and staff have their work cut out for them in deciding who to bring to Rio for the Olympics. Luckily for them, we’re here to help. Here’s who we think are the mortal locks for the roster (if they want it, that is):

Carmelo Anthony

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 18: Stephen Curry #30  drives down court after stealing from LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers while under pressure from Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on January 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

DeMarcus Cousins

Stephen Curry 

Anthony Davis

Kevin Durant

Draymond Green 

Kyrie Irving

LeBron James

Kawhi Leonard

Chris Paul

Russell Westbrook

Obviously, that doesn’t leave the rest of the choices much room to compete for a spot, but it’s highly likely at least two of those likely locks drop out at some point before the Olympics begin. If that does indeed happen, the following players will be left battling for those open slots. (Spoiler alert: we’ll have two number ones, to mark the two players who will get in).


18. Bradley Beal

Just…just take the summer to recover, Beal. Please. We need you to be great, not hurt. 


17. Dwight Howard

The Dwight Howard that dominated nearly 10 years ago would be a lock. This Dwight Howard, inconsistent and injured? Not so much.


16. LaMarcus Aldridge

Theoretically, Aldridge would be a nifty addition to Team USA, especially with his size and shooting. However, the Spurs will likely… politely suggest that he withdraw.


15. Kevin Love

A floor-stretching, outlet-passing big would work so, so well in Coach K’s system. That’s why DeMarcus Cousins and Draymond Green are on the team.


14. DeAndre Jordan

Similar to Drummond’s case, Jordan would be an added bonus to a team that can always use more size and athleticism. Still, it’s hard to see him leaping over other, more versatile bigs.


13. Rudy Gay

Gay provided some much-needed shooting to previous Team USA iterations, but he probably won’t get the opportunity to do so again, just because of how many better shooters are ahead of him.


12. Harrison Barnes

Though he’s a better shooter than DeMar DeRozan, he still has a similar issue in that he doesn’t do any one thing better than any of the players ahead of him.


11. DeMar DeRozan

He doesn’t stretch the floor enough and isn’t enough of a lockdown defender to supplant any of the other perimeter players in consideration.


10. Andre Drummond

Team USA will lack a bit in size, but probably not the point where Drummond is an absolute need. He’d be a luxury, and a nice one, but it’s probably better to use that last spot on a shooter or someone who can make an impact on a few more areas.


9. Gordon Hayward

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 06:  Gordon Heyward #20 of the Utah Jazz takes a shot over Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics in the second quarter at TD Garden on November 6, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

If Andre Iguodala isn’t making it, Gordon Hayward definitely isn’t, either.


8. Klay Thompson

Shooting: Check. Size: Check. Defense: Check. Ballhandling: Check. Thompson pretty much has everything you want from a guard in an international setting. Here’s the problem: so does everyone else that’s already a lock for the team.


7. Andre Iguodala

Iguodala was a favorite of Coach K’s on team’s past, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make another one. But Iggy is creeping up there in age, and there already a few other gifted perimeter defenders and passers on the roster to make Iguodala nearly redundant.


6. Kenneth Faried

Faried burst onto the scene in 2012, surprising everyone by not only making the team but dominating as well. Since that time, though, Faried hasn’t really grown as a player. He’s exactly who he was, and while that was just fine two years ago, now that Blake Griffin’s healthy, it’s hard to see how he secures a spot for himself.


5. Mike Conley


Conley would actually be a really great addition to Team USA: he’s got the size, speed, shot and defense to make an impact. However, he probably can’t beat out any of the point guards ahead of him. Plus, the guy seems to always be harboring at least two nagging injuries, so it’s a good idea for him to just rest during the summer.


4. James Harden

Harden will probably end up battling with Jimmy Butler for the final guard spot. He’s a better offensive weapon than Butler (though not by much), capable of wreaking absolute havoc on defenses. However, his defense is a major concern, especially when it comes to the perimeter-oriented attacks of several other countries.


3. Paul George

One would think George to be a lock, especially since he missed out on his chance to play in the FIBA world cup after his gruesome leg injury, but his comments about the selection make him seem a little more iffy.


 1. Jimmy Butler

jimmy butler 76ers

Butler’s emergence as a star in the NBA rightfully garnered him Team USA consideration, and it could earn him much more than that. Shooting is always at a premium, as is perimeter defense in international play. Butler brings both of those to the table, which might land him a spot over James Harden.


1. Blake Griffin


We’ve been Blake Griffin starved when it comes to FIBA and/or olympic competitions. Injuries have kept him out every summer, which is sad, since his athleticism alone would be dazzling in an international setting. If Griffin had played in any international games prior to this summer, he’d be a lock. Since he hasn’t though, he’s just barely on the outside. His odds are pretty good, though.

About Jordan White

Jordan White has written for ESPN, VICE, FOX Sports, Uproxx and The Classical.