Photo Courtesy: guardian.co.uk – U.S. Men’s National Basketball Team
On Saturday July 7, 2012, U.S.A. Basketball Committee announced its 12-man roster for the London Olympic Games. The 12-man roster includes: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala, Blake Griffin, with the last spot going to Oklahoma City Thunder James Harden.
The team opened training camp on Friday July 6 in Las Vegas, on the campus of The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
U.S.A. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team will play exhibition games against the Dominican Republic (on July 12) in Las Vegas; other exhibition games will be played in Washington D.C., Manchester England, and Barcelona Spain before the team arrives in London for the start of the Olympic Games where it open up tournament play on July 29 against Tony Parker and the French National Team.
Prior to the exhibition games Team U.S.A. will train against a young select team of NBA players in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Why U.S.A. Men Basketball Team May Not be Favorites at the Olympics
The final roster for U.S.A. Men’s Basketball Team should have been finalized on June 18, 2012; however, due to injuries and the NBA Finals, selection of the final roster had to be push back.
Withdrawals from Team U.S.A. practice squad by Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Chris Bosh due to injuries; and Lamar Odom (who is battling person problems and who knows what else)—have left the team venerable with a shortage of much needed athleticism and big men (Bigs).
To add insult to injury, U.S. Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to snub the bigger more-athletic Rudy Gay, choosing rather to offer the final roster spot to the slower, slothful, not to mention smaller James Harden—what was he thinking!
In addition to being a versatile wing-man, the more athletic Rudy Gay could have provided some much needed relief at the power forward position.
With the Americans lacking size in the front court, due to the absence of Howard, Bosh, and Aldrige, the team will have matchup problems against experience Bigs from the “Argentinas” and “Spains” of the world. (These two countries have Bigs who currently play in the NBA—Luis Scola and the Gasol brothers just to name a few).
As any coach will say, you cannot teach size and there is no denying with the absence of quality Bigs, the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team have lost not just size but explosiveness as well. They tried to address this need by giving Blake Griffin one of the two remaining roster spots but that’s not enough—as fun as he is to watch during the NBA regular season, he is not explosive enough and will be bothered by the taller more athletic European and South American big men.
Coach Krzyzewski and USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo want us to believe that Team U.S.A. will bring home gold this year. They expect us to believe that even though this team is not as talented as the previous, it will be more focus; even going as far as to say being a little bit weaker this year will make them sharper.
In his political correctness: Coach Krzyzewski added that the team is deeper now than the one that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2010 World Championship in Istanbul.
Here’s the bottom line: due to Team U.S.A. lack of athleticism and not enough Bigs on its roster, it will be hard to defend the gold. This year’s Team will be a mirror image of the 2004 Olympic Team led by Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson that won the Bronze medal in Athens, Greece.