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No Phoenix Suns on USA Basketball team... again

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We haven't seen a Phoenix Suns player part of USA Basketball since Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion in 2004, more than a decade ago. No, I'm not counting Miles Plumlee's cup of tea with the practice squad last year.

But before you start worrying about conspiracy theories because Jerry Colangelo runs USA Basketball, remember that Steve Nash is Canadian and that the Suns haven't had an American All-Star since Stoudemire in 2010. Stoudemire and Marion last participated in 2004, but only because of injury concerns.

Olympics teams

Olympic teams are picked once every four years. Most of the players are among the very best in the game, while some are there as filler. In 1976, only four Phoenix Suns have ever made an Olympic team roster while they wore the purple and orange.

Walter Davis made the 1976 team. Dan Majerle joined the team in 1988. Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire were both on the 2004 team (as was Stephon Marbury, who the Suns had just traded away a couple months prior).

That's it.

World Championships

The Worlds are played every four years as well, staggered against the Olympics schedule. While the Americans tend to focus on winning the Olympics, the rest of the world sees the World Championships as the panacea of basketball.

There hasn't been a representative on the Suns for the Worlds since Stoudemire and Marion either. C Miles Plumlee got on the 'practice squad' last year, but was cut pretty quickly.

This year's team

While there aren't any major championships this year, the USA Men's team has already formed its pool of players for next year's 2016 Olympics.

USA Basketball announced a robust 34-man team who will workout this summer in Las Vegas, and from there will be pared down to 12 by next August.

  • Point guards: Stephen CurryChris Paul, Kyrie IrvingRussell Westbrook, John Wall, Mike Conley, Michael Carter-Williams
  • Shooting guards: Klay Thompson, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo
  • Small forwards: Kevin DurantLeBron JamesPaul George, Carmelo AnthonyKawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Chandler ParsonsRudy Gay, Gordon Hayward, Tobias Harris, Harrison Barnes
  • Power forwards: Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Kenneth Faried
  • Centers: DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Mason Plumlee

Potential Suns participants

Depends on your goal.

The Suns don't have anyone on the current roster who could make a 'final 12' to actually play in the Worlds or the Olympics.

While Mason Plumlee made the Worlds team last year as a backup center, the Suns centers are a Ukrainian (Alex Len) and a geezer. Tyson Chandler, just signed by the Suns this summer, already had his run on the big teams for the Worlds as well as the Olympics. Now 32 years old, he won't be participating anymore.

But guys on the Suns who could make a 'practice squad' like this year's group of 34? Sure.

Both Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe are better players than MCW, but that just means they'd be 7th on the PG depth chart. Markieff Morris is arguably better than Kenneth Faried, so he could be named someday. But then he'd only be fighting for 5th or 6th on this team, and he wouldn't bring what Faried brings to separate him from the others: ferocious rebounding.

The small forward depth chart is so impossibly deep that it doesn't even matter if T.J. Warren could someday beat out the guys on the bottom half of that depth chart if his career takes off. He'd still be no better than 6th, and that doesn't even factor in the young guys still to come.

You could put on your orange-colored goggles and imagine some day Devin Booker making the squad to replace what Klay Thompson currently brings: shooting, shooting and more shooting. But that's only if everything goes impossibly right in his career.

As we all know, the Suns just don't have that young difference-maker on the current squad. And they don't have any on the horizon either.