Jerry Colangelo has less than a year before training camp begins. What training camp you ask? The 2012 Olympic Summer games of course. The United States have a gold medal to defend, the one the ‘Redeem-team’ won in 2008 with Bryant, Wade and LeBron James. The lockout and its difficult to predict resolution, in terms of result and timetable, is quite a pain up Colangelo’s behind.
That’s not the only thing – worries of exhaustion in some players – if the Miami Heat reach the NBA finals again. Free agency summer tours from some players next year. And of course, injuries. With all that, assuming everyone is willing and healthy, here are the 12 players we think should go to London.
Hey, three point guards is the way you need to go, and Jerry Colangelo has had at least three in 2008 and 2010. He even went with four in the FIBA World Championships, having Stephen Curry on the team, although I think it was more in the shooter role, hoping to open the zone defenses that usually appear often against the American team. I don’t think the shooter role is all that important. Michael Redd was a complete non factor during the Olympics for example.
Now, choosing between the 1’s – Derrick Rose is the MVP and part of the 2010 squad. No big confusion about him being included. Still, I’d prefer Chris Paul to start ahead of Rose in the traditional lineup. Better at spreading the ball around and right now, a better defender. As the third option, I’d prefer Westbrook to both Deron Williams and Rondo. Rondo isn’t part of both previous squads so he’s pretty much out. Williams? He was my top ranked point guard heading int0 2010-2011, but the season didn’t do him any good. Funny thing is, he might be the only one playing basketball any time soon. Still, right now, I prefer the athletic monster Russell Westbrook, despite all of his decision making flaws, which I believe will go down in time.
At shooting guard, there’s no question – Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant. Bryant was the best player on the 2008 team, stepping up and carrying them during the few rough patches they went through, including the final against Spain. Wade? Right now, he’s the best SG in the league. Both can probably play as a SF on the international stage. And speaking of Small forwards – Having LeBron James, despite all the scrutiny and terrible Finals series he had, is not too bad for team USA. He can play all 3 front court positions if needed and if he finds his groove and mojo back, there’s no one quite like him.
Kevin Durant – His 2010 FIBA World Championships performance was the best individually by any American player in an international tournament, maybe ever. Can play both 3 and 4. Unguardable. Carmelo Anthony should be the third option with these two, although I’m not sure a healthy Rudy Gay isn’t a better option.
Front Line – Dwight Howard is the safest pick when talking about centers right now in the NBA. The question is who joins him. Tyson Chandler’s fantastic season and playoffs should give him the spot to back Howard up, or maybe even play next to in a twin tower set, although very hard to believe we’ll see. Chris Bosh might struggle at center, but as PF against international competition he should do very well. Backups? Blake Griffin isn’t part of the previous squads, but is too damn good and exciting to ignore. Another big man? It’s a toss up between Kevin Love and Lamar Odom, with Odom proving to be the more versatile option.