Using NBA Analytics to Select Team USA
Team USA is in the midst of their summer mini-camp leading up to the 2016 Olympics. Only 12 players will be allowed to travel to Brazil to compete for the Gold Medal, and with 34 players in camp this summer, the task of selecting those 12 players is going to be a tough challenge for Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski.
However, we here at numberFire have used our advanced nERD metric as a starting point for the selection process. nERD measures how many wins a certain player would add to a team, with zero being the league average.
The rosters from the 2014 World Cup and 2012 Olympics were vastly different. James Harden and Anthony Davis were the only two members from the 2014 squad that also competed in 2012 for the Olympics, and while both will easily make the roster in 2016, there are still many questions about who is in and who is out.
LeBron James is in camp, but has yet to make a decision on whether or not he will compete. There are several injured players who aren't working out this summer, too, who are either on the roster bubble, or firmly in based on their numbers. We've also got guys who in the past have or could potentially opt out of 2016 for health reasons.
In addition, there's the question of how many players from each position will make the team. Last year's World Cup had a roster with five big men, including four centers. However, in the 2012 Olympics, the roster included only three big men and five wing players. International basketball is also normally played with smaller rosters, so with all of this in mind, and based solely on last season's advanced numbers, here are the 12 players who should make the team.