Late last week, Chris Sheridan reported the 19 NBA Players that would be on Team USA’s Preliminary Roster for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. It’s old news at this point, but I wanted to weigh in with my opinions. I like writing and I love basketball, so I’m going for it.
Here’s the 20 player roster:
Of course, only 12 of these players will make the final roster and become Olympians, so 7 great and talented players will have to be cut. Who’s likely to make it? Either way, players from both the 2008 Olympics and 2010 FIBA World Championships will be watching from their TV screens. Here’s my depth chart of who I think will make the team:
Guard: Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade
Forward: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love
Center: Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh
That makes 7 players from the 2008 Olympic team, 4 players from the FIBA World Championship team, and 1 who was on neither.
Choosing a 3rd point guard was tough, but I decidedly gave it to Billups for one main reason: veteran leadership. He’d play a similar role to what he did in Turkey and what Jason Kidd did in Beijing, something both (relatively) young PGs like Westbrook and Williams can’t bring. The third point guard roster spot wouldn’t get many minutes anyway coming behind Paul and Rose, so that experience will be key.
Eric Gordon, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, and Tyson Chandler are all players I really liked in the FIBA Championships, but their talents (Gordon’s shooting and Iguodala’s lock down defense) can already be found in better players like Kobe, Lebron, and Dwight and thus are expendable.
A glaring absence from my list is obviously Blake Griffin, but I couldn’t put him in over Kevin Love. In my opinion, though Blake is a great and electrifying player, Love is the better Power Forward, especially for international play. Both players do two things very well: score and rebound, and both are decent passers for their position. The difference, though, is Love’s jump shot. He will be able to space the floor from the perimeter, which should be better for Dwight Howard anyway. Blake’s jumper simply isn’t there.
In spite of his play so far this season, Lamar Odom was tough to leave out. The versatility a team gets out of him is matched by basically no one, so you can make the case that he can take a spot over LaMarcus Aldridge. The biggest reason why I chose LMA over Odom, though, was simply because Aldridge is a much better player. He will be an All-Star this season.
The biggest issue may just be who starts at the point guard spot. Lebron, Durant, and Dwight are easy locks for their starting positions, and Wade came off the bench behind Kobe in 2008, so that shouldn’t be a problem, but who will Mike Krzyzewski choose as the starting guard? You can easily argue for either Chris Paul or Derrick Rose to start at point. Both are great passers with great basketball IQ, and they both know their roles of when to score. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
I also have Aldridge and Bosh under the Center spot in the depth chart because international basketball tends to play smaller. Those two players, as well as Love, can all easily slide into the center spot and play alongside one another whenever Dwight needs a break. So technically they’re Forward/Centers.
And my biggest snub from the 19 man roster? Andrew Bynum. Besides Dwight, there is no other Center as dominant in the league as Bynum, and I’m guessing the low amount of games he’s played thus far has affected his absence on the roster. He would most likely take the place of either Aldridge or even Bosh in my opinion.
So that’s my two cents. What are your thoughts? Do you disagree with any of my picks?