Once the NBA Finals are through, American basketball fans don’t get to rest. The next Dream Team is heading to the 2012 London Olympics, still coached by Mike Krzyzewski, probably in his last tour and run for gold with the national team. We still don’t know who the 12 guys going to London are, but we know who the 12 guys on the USA Select team are.
The USA Men’s Select team is basically a training squad, pretty close to an All-Star level. This format, of taking a group of NBA youngsters to play for a week with the intended Olympians has proved itself in recent years, using the Select opponent before the 2008 Olympics and the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
The training will take place in Las Vegas, with the National team and the select team playing against each other for a week in early July (6-11). Out of the 22 players on the initial Olympics rosters, 4 have already been scratched off the board due to injuries – LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and Dwight Howard. Chris Bosh might be a fifth, still unknown regarding his return time.
So who is on the select team? Well, young guys, except for Taj Gibson, the elder statesman of the bunch, although he has only three years of experience in the league. The rest of the gang?
Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic – Averaged 16.1 points during the season. DeJuan Blair, San Antonio Spurs – Still in the postseason with the Spurs although he’s hardly been playing Averaged 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds during the season. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings – Averaged 18.1 points and 11 rebounds in a breakout year for the former Kentucky Wildcat. DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors – Averaged 16.7 points per game during the regular season.
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz – Got a bit more playing time this year with the Jazz, averaging 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds. Paul George, Indiana Pacers – Still in the postseason facing the Heat and two more Olympians. Averaged 12.1 points and 5.6 rebounds. Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls – Averaged 7.7 points and 5.4 rebounds. Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz – Another Jazz player who took a big step forward this year, averaging 11.8 points per game.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers – The rookie of the year, averaging 18.5 points and 5.4 assists per game. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs – Another rookie who had a good debut season and is having an even better postseason. Averaged 7.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks – Not sure how healthy he’ll be, but he was probably the biggest sensation of the season, averaging 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors – Had a good rookie campaign, averaging 12.5 points per game. John Wall, Washington Wizards – Didn’t make the leap forward, hitting the second year wall. Being on a bad team does that to you. Averaged 16.3 points and 8 assists.
The 18 man roster for the National Team before the final cuts – Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), Chris Bosh (Heat), Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Kevin Durant (Thunder), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), Rudy Gay (Grizzlies), Eric Gordon (Hornets), James Harden (Thunder), Andre Iguodala (76ers), Kobe Bryant (Lakers), Dwyane Wade (Heat), Lamar Odom (Mavs), Kevin Love (Timberwolves), Tyson Chandler (Knicks), LeBron James (Heat), Blake Griffin (Clippers), Chris Paul (Clippers), Deron Williams (Nets).