A Look on World Best Basketball team, Team U.S. at Olympic 2020

This year’s USA Basketball team hasn’t been especially successful to date. They have faced an amusing series of drawings and lost in a scrimmage to a Jeff Van Gundy-coached mishmash of fringe NBA players.

It would still be astonishing if they fall short, given the star power remaining on the team and the depth of starting-level NBA players. But the team is noticeably weak. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics almost a year away, USA Basketball will hope some superstars commit to playing.

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Here’s an interesting theoretical for next year, If every eligible American basketball player is healthy and willing to play in Tokyo 2020.

So, let’s make an Olympic 2020 version of the Dream Team. There is one crucial difference between now and 1992, Some of the league’s best players now aren’t from the United States, so we have no Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, or Joel Embiid to choose from, among other players. I’m still confident this team would beat the ‘92 team handly because that’s the way things go.

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U.S. Team Rosters Listed

Point guards: 

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A Look on World Best Basketball team, Team U.S. at Olympic 2020

Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving. I’m carrying three-point guards because I couldn’t bring myself to leave any of these guys off. Steph will start for this team, and both Lillard and Kyrie will get minutes off the bench because a Curry-Harden backcourt is weak defensively.

Walker and Russell Westbrook are the two notable snubs here, but I don’t feel too bad about leaving them off because it’s clear that Curry, Lillard, and Irving are the class of the position. Maybe Trae Young will break out with an All-NBA season and throw a wrench into this discussion.

Shooting guards: 

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A Look on World Best Basketball team, Team U.S. at Olympic 2020

James Harden, Klay Thompson. It is far from a guarantee that Thompson will make an appearance in Tokyo 2020. He may want to avoid putting too much strain on his torn ACL after a possible late-season return to the Warriors, and he already has a gold medal in his trophy case.

But in an ideal world, Klay is here because he is the perfect shooter and low-key personality to have around on a team like this. Harden can also shoot, obviously, and is probably the best scorer in the world now that Kevin Durant is rehabbing a long-term injury. There is no way that Harden is not the starting shooting guard on this 2020 team.

If I had to replace one of these two, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, Devin Booker, Middleton, CJ McCollum, and Mitchell would be in the conversation.

Small forwards: 

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A Look on World Best Basketball team, Team U.S. at Olympic 2020

LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George. This is a fun and versatile group. If we wanted, we could play these guys all over the place, even all together at the same time. Imagine facing a team with all three of LeBron, Kawhi, and George. You’re not scoring, and you’re not going to have enough defenders to keep up with them.

The starting lineup will have to be configured so that LeBron and Kawhi can both start. But as with the original Dream Team, the starting lineup doesn’t matter too much. They’re just fun thought exercises.

Power forwards: 

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A Look on World Best Basketball team, Team U.S. at Olympic 2020

Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green. An important caveat: I’m going to want AD to play center a good bit because we already have 11 players and thus can only afford one more. Davis at the 5 unlocks a number of combinations that include as well as one or two of the above trio. Draymond can play the five too, in smaller lineups, so we have some nice versatility.

I imagine Draymond as the Charles Barkley of this team: an undersized, outgoing power forward who commands attention. Draymond will score less than Sir Charles but make a huge impact on the defensive end.

Among the forwards, Jimmy Butler was the toughest omission. He was close and would’ve made it as another forward if we didn’t have three-point guards that I didn’t want to leave off. I could have included Al Horford and Blake Griffin, too, and you never know if Zion Williamson forces his way here.

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Melvin Obinna Ejim – Canadian Basketball Player will run up in Olympic 2020 Games

Melvin Obinna Ejim is a Nigerian-Canadian professional basketball player for Unicaja of the Liga ACB and EuroCup. He played college basketball for Iowa State University before playing professionally in Italy and Russia, as well as the NBA Development League.

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Melvin Obinna Ejim – Canadian Basketball Player will run up in Olympic 2020 Games

Melvin Obinna Ejim High school career

Ejim attended St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Maryland, where he made the 2007 Provincial team before transferring to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. In 2008–09, he averaged 12.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for Brewster. In his final year in 2009–10, he averaged 13.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists per game, leading Brewster to a 34–4 record and a National Prep School championship.

Melvin Obinna Ejim College career

Ejim started 30 games out of 32 in his freshman campaign for Iowa State, averaging 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, shooting 48.6 percent from the field (121-249 FG) and tallied 39 steals, second-best total on the team. He became one of just 13 Iowa State freshmen in school history to average double figures in scoring, and his 214 rebounds were the third-best rookie total in school history.

One of Iowa State’s top post players, Ejim started 29 games out of 34 in 2011–12, averaging 9.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He earned Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades and was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection.

One of the best forwards in the Big 12 in 2012–13, Ejim earned All-Big 12 third-team honors and was an NABC All-District 8 second-team selection; he was also privileged as the initial Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award winner and was a Capital One Academic All-District 6 selection. Ejim became the first Cyclone to lead the Big 12 in recovering (9.3 RPG) since Jackson Vroman and was just the third player in Big 12 antiquity to lead the league in rebounding at 6’6” or shorter.

As a senior in 2013–14, Ejim had one of the best seasons in school history, earning Big 12 Player of the Year honors and All-America honors from five organizations. Ejim was a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, became the fifth Academic All-American in school history, earned Capital One first-team Academic All-America honors and was named the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second time. He became just the fourth player in league history to record 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career, finishing his career with the most wins of any Cyclone men’s basketball player at 88 wins. He also finished 12th in scoring (1,643), second in rebounding (1,051), tied for 10th in steals (146) and 15th in blocks (59); he also broke the school record for games played (135) and games started (126).

2014 on February 8, Ejim scored a Big 12-record 48 points against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Hilton Coliseum, surpassing Michael Beasley and Denis Clemente who had 44 points in 2008 and 2009 respective.

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Melvin Obinna Ejim Professional career

After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft, Ejim played for the San Antonio Spurs during the Las Vegas Summer League. He then moved to Italy for the 2014–15 season, signing with Virtus Roma. In 29 league games for Virtus, he averaged 7.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He also averaged 8.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18 EuroCup games.

After initially signing with German team Medi Bayreuth for the 2015–16 season, an impressive stint with the Orlando Magic during the 2015 NBA Summer League led to a training camp contract. He was waived by the Magic on October 21 after appearing in four preseason games, and subsequently joined the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. He was waived by Erie on March 16, 2016. In 39 games, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Days later, he signed with Italian team Reyer Venezia Mestre for the rest of the season. In 16 games for Reyer Venezia, he averaged 9.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

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Melvin Obinna Ejim – Canadian Basketball Player will run up in Olympic 2020 Games

On June 17, 2016, Ejim re-signed with Reyer Venezia Mestre for the 2016–17 season. In June 2017, he helped Reyer Venezia win the Italian League championship while earning the Finals MVP.[20] In 46 league games, he averaged 10.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He also averaged 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.4 steals in 22 BCL games.

On July 12, 2017, Ejim signed with Russian club UNICS for the 2017–18 season. In 30 league games, he averaged 9.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He also averaged 9.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 19 EuroCup games.

In June 2018, Ejim re-signed with UNICS for the 2018–19 season. In 23 league games, he averaged 8.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He also averaged 7.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 14 EuroCup games.

On July 25, 2019, Ejim signed a 1+1 deal with Spanish club Unicaja.

Melvin Obinna Ejim National team career

In June of 2012, he played for his motherland Nigerian national team on their tour of China. In July 2013, he played for the Canadian national team at the World University Games, where he averaged eight points and four rebounds per game. In July 2015, he was named on the Canadian national team roster for the Pan American Games. He also played at the Tuto Marchand Cup and FIBA Americas Championship in 2015. In 2016, he represented Canada at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

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Artistic swimming: Great Britain’s Duet aims to qualify for Tokyo 2020

A total of 10 teams and 22 duets will be aiming to gain qualification for next year’s Olympic Games at three events during the next 12 months. One team place and two duet spots will be up for grabs at the LEN Cup, taking place in St Petersburg, Russia.

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Artistic swimming: Great Britain’s Duet aims to qualify for Tokyo 2020

Duet of Great Britain’s Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe will be a command to seal an Olympic sport at the first available opportunity – although the standard of the competition is likely to be ‘exceptionally high.

The team that wins the LEN Cup, and therefore books their place at the Olympics, will also have their duet automatically entered.

One further duet place can be secured by the winning pair or the next best-ranked duo at the LEN Cup if the gold medallist’s country had also won the team event.

Should Great Britain’s team or duet not qualify in the first instance, five more team spaces will be available at the FINA World Championships in Korea, in August, and the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament, in Tokyo, next April. Seven duet spots can also be worn at the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament.

Shortman and Thorpe will be competing in Tokyo between 27-29 April in the fourth leg of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series.

The duet impressed during the first leg of the competition in Paris when they set a new personal best score for their karate-themed routine.

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Artistic swimming: Great Britain’s Duet aims to qualify for Tokyo 2020

They will then team up with Victoria Usher, Daniella Lloyd, Millicent Costello, Greta Hampson, Ilaria Brandimarte, Cerys Larsen, Cerys Hughes, Laura Turnerville and Isobel Blinkhorn for the LEN Cup.

The team’s confidence will be boosted by the silver medal they won at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Paris in the free combination final.

Russia will be the first time this season that the Great Britain squad will compete in the technical, free and combo team events.

Karen Thorpe, Swim England Artistic manager, said: “We are expecting the standard in Russia to be exceptionally high as we’re a year out from the Olympic Games.

“The duet hopes to place and score well as a stepping stone towards the World Championships in July and we are hoping to be as close to 80 points in all the team events.

“It’s going to be a busy few weeks but all the athletes have been working hard on a camp in Bristol and are relishing the opportunity to perform on these big stages.”

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Artistic Swimming – Canada has gained a place with a duet gold in Olympic 2020

Artistic Swimmers, Jacqueline Simoneau, and Claudia Holzner established a pre-swimming regular routine to calm their nerves when they joined forces as an artistic tandem. It involves a declaration of trust and a reference to a Disney character.

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Artistic Swimming – Canada has gained a place with a duet gold in Olympic 2020

Simoneau, of Chambly, and Calgary’s Holzner combined to defend Canada’s artistic swimming duet title Wednesday at the Pan American Games and earned Canada a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the process.

The Canadian duet finished first with a total score of 180.0343 points. And Mexico was second with 174.3661 points scores, and the United States was third with 170.6698 points scores.

“It was such a superior moment,” Holzner said. “Before we swam our coach was like, ‘Jackie, go for a second Olympics,’ and ‘Claudia, become an Olympian.'”

Simoneau and Holzner payback to the pool later Wednesday as part of Canada’s nine-swimmer team in the competition, with another Olympic berth on the line, and took the top of the platform for the second time with 179.6731 points. Mexico took the second position with 175.1243 points and the U.S. scored 170.8114 points.

Simoneau and Holzner, who were both followers of Canada’s gold-medal winning team entry at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, started swimming together as a duet in 2017. Simoneau said she and Holzner came up with a unique pre-swim routine the moment of their partnership was fashioned.

“We hold each other’s hands and we look each other in the eye and we say, ‘I trust you.’ And then there’s a secret word that we say right before we go.”

“We came up with this the moment we started swimming together. It’s a ridiculous word, but for us, it just means having calm confidence. It’s Perry. Perry the platypus. It’s a TV character on the Disney show “Phineas and Ferb.”

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Artistic Swimming – Canada has gained a place with a duet gold in Olympic 2020

Canada swept artistic swimming events at the Toronto Games, with Simoneau and Karine Thomas gained duet gold to go with the team victory. Simoneau and Thomas went on to place seventh at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Later Wednesday, gymnast Ellie Black of Halifax added to her record Pan Am medal haul with a silver medal in the women’s beam event, her fifth medal this year. Black won 10 medals from the last two Tournaments to become Canada’s most adorned Pan Am gymnast.

Black had a chance at an 11th medal but finished fourth in the floor competition. There was extra good news for Canada, though, with Brooklyn Moors of Cambridge, Ont., winning gold.

“It’s unbelievable to come away with one more medal,” Black said. “It’s great for this team that we’ve done so well.”

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Women’s Baseball World Qualifier: Canada falls in aslant loss to the USA

Mexico – After three wins to open the COPABE Women’s Baseball World qualifier, the Canadian Women’s National Team dropped its first game of the tournament in a 21-4 lopsided loss to Team USA on Wednesday.

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Women’s Baseball World Qualifier: Canada falls in aslant loss to the USA

The squad from north of the border notched eight hits in the matchup, the offense led by multi-hit games from 16-year-old Ellie Jespersen and 21-year-old Kelsey Lalor, but couldn’t solve the American pitching any further. Team Canada’s staff was undone by eight-run frames from the USA in both the fourth and seventh to dig into a hole too deep to climb out of.

“It’s a wakeup call,” Canadian manager Aaron Myette said. “We were chatting before the game about how we came out flat yesterday, and then we came out a little flat today, lacking intensity. As a group, what we can take away from that is that we need to be on point for every game.

“We’ve got to be prepared and not just come in and hope that we get things started later in the game. We’ve got to start from the minute we show up to the park, be mentally prepared and focused on each game.”

The Americans scored 21 runs on 23 hits, also capitalizing on five walks and four errors from the Canadian national team to earn their fourth straight victory of the qualifier, while Canada moves to 3-1 in the tournament.

“They’re a fantastic team,” Myette said of the USA. “They have a ton of good arms and a very strong lineup. The runs and hits speak for themselves. They hit balls hard today, and you have to give them credit for hitting pitches hard. We made a lot of mistakes and got away from our strengths and our game plan, and pitched into their strength and their game plan. That’s an adjustment we have to make.”

Amanda Asay got the start for the Canadian squad and the 14-year national team veteran allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with three strikeouts, before making way for two relievers.

The leader on a team with 10 different players from last year’s bronze-medal winning World Cup squad and eight players facing international competition for the first time, Asay hopes the young team can learn from Wednesday’s game to help it as it moves forward in the event.

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Women’s Baseball World Qualifier: Canada falls in aslant loss to the USA

“Luckily, this came in the middle of the tournament,” Asay said. “It may be a devastating loss because of the score, but not so devastating in the standings, which is nice. It’s not the worst thing that we got to experience a loss before we came to the end of this tournament because it will be good to build from here and to have something to come away from and refocus us a little bit. Our game against Cuba didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked, so this is a wakeup call that we can all take away from.”

Heading into Thursday’s matchup against Venezuela, before Team Canada takes on Puerto Rico and Mexico ahead of Sunday’s medal games, the squad’s skipper hopes his players can learn from the loss and quickly look ahead to what’s next.

“I’d like them to individually look at their performances and self-assess where they could have been more focused – that’s the first step,” Myette said. “As a group, they’ve got to understand they’re not going to go through their whole lives undefeated, but it’s about what we do now. We got our butts kicked, but it’s baseball.

“We have another game, we have another day, and we’re not out of this. We’re going to look at what we could have done better, make adjustments and come out stronger, more aggressive and more focused. The feeling we had today sucks, so we’re going to come to the park with the mentality that we’re not letting that happen again.”

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Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

Lithuanian team won the last EuroBasket tournaments previous to World War II, in 1937 and 1939. The 1939 team was running by Frank Lubin, who helped TO promote basketball in the country and was named the “grandfather of Lithuanian basketball”.

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Later the refurbishment of Lithuanian independence in 1990, the national Lithuanian Basketball team was revived. Lithuania gained bronze medals in the first three Olympics to include NBA players – 1992, 1996, and 2000 – in addition to finishing fourth in 2004 and 2008, and in eighth place at the London 2012 Olympics. The Lithuanian team gained the FIBA EuroBasket for the 3rd time in 2003, and also won a bronze medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

Lithuanian Basketball Rosters

Mantas Kalnietis

Mantas Kalnietis
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

Kalnietis has a lot of intriguing aspects as a point guard: he has good size for the position at 6’5”, has the speed to allow him to stay on the floor regardless of the matchup, and has a wealth of experience in the program.

He’s been the lead playmaker for Lithuania for the past fourteen years and while he’ll be well into his 30s by the time the Olympics take place, the experience is always going to be the most valuable commodity in international basketball.

Sure, he has a skinny frame and he’ll never be a go-to scoring option for a team, but he’s the scrappy defender and consistent playmaker that Lithuania will be looking to have to lead the office in two years’ time.

Jonas Maciulis

Jonas Maciulis
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

If I had to describe Mačiulis’ game in a single word, it’d be “scrappy.” Maciulis plays like the middle-aged guy in every pickup game that knows that every game might be his last: he’s throwing elbows, scrambling for every loose ball, and dodging picks like Neo from The Matrix.

His effort and willingness to leave it all on the court is definitely his calling card, but Mačiulis can also spread the floor and can score pretty well in the paint, especially when he’s crashing the offensive boards. Basically, he’s an ideal “jack of all trades, master of none” type of guy.

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

As a son of Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, Sabonis has already had more exposure to the game at just 22 years old than most people have in their entire career. Sabonis began his professional career at 16 before heading to Gonzaga to compete in the NCAA for two seasons, eventually getting drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Heading into Tokyo in a couple years, Sabonis will likely be the most talented player on the Lithuanian roster, if he isn’t already. In his sophomore season with the Pacers last year, Sabonis has a fairly pedestrian year in terms of statistics, but his game had clearly evolved and grown from the year prior.

He was in better shape, extended his range, started to work on using his right hand, and was a much stronger presence on the interior. Despite his youth, this steady development is promising and is a big reason why I think he’ll be starting for Lithuania in 2020.

Jonas Valanciunas

Jonas valanciunas
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

Having two Jonas’ in the same starting lineup is a bold move and one I always recommend against for the sake of confusion, but it’s impossible to keep the face of Lithuanian basketball off the starting lineup.

Valanciunas became the face of the Lithuanian program not simply because his beard makes him look like he just strolled out of the mountains of Juozapinė Hill, but because he’s poured years into the program to help bring it to the height that it’s reached today.

Heading into his seventh season in the NBA and with 10 years of experience under his belt with the national team, Valanciunas will be entering Tokyo as one of the most experienced and matured players the roster has to offer.

In terms of on-court production, Valanciunas will be the best interior defender on the team, a valuable scorer from the post and the midrange, a reliable pick-and-roll option, and the owner of the most inexplicably effective pump-fake the world has ever seen.

In two years’, time, Valanciunas is just going to be entering his prime and will be poised to add the toughness and experience needed in the international game.

Renaldas Seibutis

Renaldas Seibutis
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

Seibutis will be 35 by the time the 2020 Olympics roll around, but a combination of maturity, size, and improved shooting ability should warrant him a starting role at the shooting guard position.

His NBA career isn’t anything to write home about, but Seibutis’ experience bouncing around the EuroLeague and his career with the national team has given us more than enough of a sample size.

His game resembles that of a less-athletic Brent Barry, which actually amounts to a pretty versatile player. He certainly doesn’t have the speed that made him a standout in Lithuania years ago and his defense has gone downhill over the years, but he’s still able to slash to the basket and his long-range shooting has become more consistent with age.

He’s not the scorer he used to be, but his combination of skills, including good playmaking ability, will give the Lithuanian offense the versatility it craves.

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