The Summer Olympics are about half a year away, and after swimming and athletics, the American Dream Team is usually the most attention grabbing spectacle, when they’re good. They were that good in 2008, winning the gold medal with Bryant, LeBron James, Wade and the rest, as they will be again in London 2012.
Right now there are 20 players in the current roster, which will be eventually cut down to 12, and we’re here to help Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski make their picks for the final cut.
Chauncey Billups (Clippers) – Billups has been hurt earlier this season, but is off to a very good start in Los Angeles, averaging 16 points per game. I don’t think Billups will get a spot in the 2012 team eventually. Too much depth at guard, both positions.
Kobe Bryant (Lakers) – It looks like Bryant, less than 300 points shy of passing Shaquille O’Neal on the all time scoring list, doesn’t care about anything else. He loves titles as well, and a second gold medal, just like Michael Jordan has. He’s averaging 30.8 points per game so far, and hard to see him not making the final cut.
Eric Gordon (Hornets) – Has played only 2 games for the Hornets this season. He’ll be out for the rest of January. A candidate for the fifth spot among the guards in my opinion. His three point ability (37.1% for his career) could be vital under FIBA rules.
Chris Paul (Clippers) – Off to a great start in LA, becoming THE man for the Clippers. So far averaging 18 points, 8.4 assists and a league high 2.8 steals per game. Safely in
Derrick Rose (Bulls) – Despite early rumors of a one-off MVP, Rose will be competing for the title again this season. Despite the deep squad, the Bulls rely on him more than ever. Rose is averaging 20.8 points and 8.7 assists. He’ll be in London.
Dwyane Wade (Heat) – Up and down so far, Hot & Cold, like the Miami Heat. I’m sure Wade will pick up the slack at one point, and his clutch ability is the best in the league right now. Averaging 19.6 points per game, struggling with 43.9% from the field.
Russell Westbrook (Thunder) – Incredible talent and athleticism, problematic decision making, and knowing his place on a team full of stars might be troubling for Westbrook. Averaging 19.4 points per game (less than last season) while his assists average has dropped to 5.4 assists. Borderline.
Deron Williams (Nets) – Looks lost on a team going nowhere this year. Williams’ numbers are good, with 18 points and 8.2 assists, but I’m not sure he’ll get a trip to his second summer Olympics.
LaMarcus Aldridge (Blazers) – No Brandon Roy? Aldridge keeps getting better, showing us more and more of his offensive skills. Averaging 22.7 points and 7.9 rebounds, I would love Aldridge to be among the final 12 players. His ability should put him there.
Carmelo Anthony (Knicks) – Offense, offense, offense, nothing else. Still, with 26.1 points per game he’s pretty surely in. Not as a starter though.
Chris Bosh (Heat) – As Center or Power forward, Bosh’s mid range touch and averaging 20 points and 8.1 rebounds is indispensable. Should be in.
Rudy Gay (Grizzlies) – Averaging 18.3 points per game, but won’t get in probably, due to better player than him.
Blake Griffin (Clippers) – Griffin is bringing more of the same to the table this season for the Clippers, averaging 21.9 points and 11.4 rebounds. I’m not sure Griffin is among the 12 best players on this list, despite how fun it might be watching him dunk on international rivals.
Andre Iguodala (76ers) – Not incredible offense, but Iggy’s defense and an ability to play both the 2 and 3 could make a valuable asset.
Lamar Odom (Mavs) – Usually a good pick, but his form this season might suggest he shouldn’t make the final cut.
Kevin Love (Wolves) – Doube double king, scoring 25.6 points and 14.3 rebounds per game. His defense is susceptible, but I think Love deserves a spot on the final roster.
LeBron James (Heat) – The numbers, 29.8 points with 7.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists, are enough, but he’s simply the best basketball player in the world.
Kevin Durant (Thunder) – A step under James in terms of variety and ability to do more than score, but Durant is the best offensive talent in the NBA, averaging 26 points per game so far this season.
Dwight Howard (Magic) – The best center in the NBA, who isn’t exactly happy where he is, which isn’t stopping him. Averaging 19.8 points and 14.9 rebounds per game, and would be the first pick on this roster being the best center in the league by miles.
Tyson Chandler (Knicks) – Great defense, mediocre offense, and I’m not sure he’ll find himself among the final cut, with 10.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
Final Cut, in our opinion – Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin.