After a pair of between the legs dunks by Jaylen Brown, an barrage of alley oops, and Carteresque dunks from Spida Mitchell, it is time to let the debate begin.
The case for Team World:
They sport the top two players in this entire comparison. Fast forward 6 years from now. Close your eyes. Joel Embiid is the MVP of the NBA. Close your eyes once more. Another year passes and Embiid is passing the MVP trophy to his partner-in-crime, Ben Simmons. Want to know the crazy thing? This fantasy is not far-fetched. The World team possesses the two players with the highest ceilings. Yes, I know its early still but, is there a future MVP caliber player on the USA team?
The World team is oddly stacked with lights-out shooters. Buddy Hield has been criminally underrated and his career trajectory looks akin to JJ Redick’s. IAmMarkkanen broke all sorts of three point rookie records and Bogdanovic lit it up last night, obviously. Of course, we all know Jamal Murray does Jamal Murray thangs.
The test of the team is brimming with future starters who will maximize their roles. Saric is a brilliant passer who can take the offensive load off of Simmon’s shoulders. Franky Smokes is already one of the top defenders in the League. Dillon Brooks should progress nicely as him and Sabonis become important glue guys for their respective teams.
The case for Team USA:
While they lack the future MVP talent of their opponents, this team has its share of future superstars. Let’s start with their 5 most talented players- Ingram, Brown, Tatum, Mitchell and Kuzma. The amount of All-NBA and All-Star awards these guys will garner will be out of this world. Just give it time. Contrary to Embiid and Simmons, these guys have less questions about their future. While I LOVE Simmon’s game, it is fair to question how he will progress in the NBA without a jump shot. Obviously, we all know about Embiid’s injury history. Team USA has safer bets, but Team WORLD offers a high risk/high reward payout than can result in a 76ers dynasty.
There are a pair of budding point guards on this squad who can end up being All Stars or high-end starters. A native of my home state, Kris Dunn has had a revelatory season. He went from “I can’t believe Chicago traded for him” to “Ight Chicago, I see you.” A lot hinges on his jumper, but Dunn is a floor general with huge defensive upside. Maybe I am still being fueled from the time De’Aaron Fox outdueled Lonzo Ball, but I am enamored with this kid’s leadership. Fox is quick as all hell and has the drive to iron out the kinks in his game. Sacramento found a culture changer.
The rest of the group is filled out by two guys that every GM wants on their team. Fortunately for the Hawks, they have both of them. John the Baptist looks is a steal from his draft and Taurean Prince will have a 10 plus year career in this league.
Team World has two guys that could imaginably win MVP awards. They each, however, have reasonable questions about their ability to reach their massively high ceilings. Team USA, on the other hand, possesses a handful of guys who will make All-NBA/All Star games for years. Yet, does anyone (as of now) foresee anyone in that group of ballers taking home MVP hardware? I am not so sure.
But here’s the good part. We get to watch this all unfold for the next decade.
As always, let us know your thoughts!