Lolz word play.
Also just kidding, there’s nothing particularly dead about the United States Men’s Basketball team for the 2012 Olympics in London…they’ve just had a little setback. With the loss of Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose, two absolute locks to make the team, to injury, Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski are going to have to get creative.
Let’s take a look at the preliminary finalist roster, position by position, and see what kind of 12-man roster we should be seeing in London.
What we have: Two amazing fits for a team full of scorers and guys who want the ball. Chandler is (obviously) used to playing for a team that plays nearly no defense at all. He can defend both the rim and the paint, and provide rebounds and outlet passes. He knows his role after playing for the US in the FIBA Championships in 2010.
Davis was just added to the 20-man squad last week, after it was clear that Dwight was going to be out this summer. I think he makes the most sense out of anyone that could have been added. All he’ll have to do is rebound, block shots, guard Serge Ibaka (who’s playing for Spain…giving them 2 Gasols and Serge…can ANYONE explain the nationality rules to me?) and wave a towel off the bench.
Also, for anyone comparing this to Christian Laettner playing for the Dream Team in ’92, you’re wrong. Davis actually belongs on the court with these guys
What we’re missing: The answer is obvious, is it not? Dwight Howard. A scoring presence in the post. All the jokes we can make about whether or not Dwight will try to get Coach K fired like he’s in Orlando. Also…isn’t it a little curious that Andrew Bynum doesn’t want to play? I know, I know…he’s “taking care of his legs” (aka getting the crazy weird German stem cell surgery that Kobe had last summer), but it doesn’t even seem like he wants to. I don’t think I will ever understand this guy.
Who should make the final 12: It not only not should be both, but it HAS to be both. We actually need one more big man, but it looks like Coach K’s just going to have to work with this.
Kevin Durant/Thunder (listed as a guard…but I’m putting him here)
Lamar Odom/Idaho Stampede (just kidding)/Team Kardashian (not kidding)
What we have: Um….the two best players in the league. A guy who averaged 13 rebounds a game this season. The (arguably) most exciting
player dunker in the league. Seriously though, BronBron and Durant. On the same team. Do they both get time with one of them playing the 4? Did I just start to smile for absolutely no reason? Obviously a lot of good players for these two positions, but there are still some questions out there, mainly, who actually makes the team.
What we’re missing: Well, as we discussed, this team is a little undersized. The loss of Aldridge to a hip injury does not help at all. I mean the only other power forwards left are Love, Griffin and…..Bosh (Odom was obviously also removed from the roster). Two of those guys have to make it, that’s just how it goes. Blake just doesn’t do enough to translate on the international level. His offense minus dunks is streaky at best, but his post defense doesn’t make up for the lack of offense (because it’s mediocre). He can rebound and provide energy. But that’s already Chandler and Davis’ job.I think they need to throw one more power forward/big man into the mix (especially if Love is still feeling the effects of his concussion.) I would absolutely love Boogie Cousins in the mix. He’s obviously crazy, but someone who can at least bang bodies in the final camps before London.
Who should make the final 12: Well, to me, there are the three who obviously will (James, Durant, Love). Bosh will probably make it due to the sheer lack of big men, and fact that he was on the team in ’08.
But now….here’s the question: who’s the last forward? (Warning, unpopular opinion alert.) I honestly think that ‘Melo does not fit at all on this team. I realize he’ll probably make it, if only because he is boys with most of the guys on the team, but it really just doesn’t feel like he fits in the offense. Iggy was an awesome piece for the FIBA ’10 team, but I don’t know if you can justify picking him over Anthony just due to scoring….thank god it’s not my call.
So in review: James, Durant, Love, Bosh, Melo (probably)
What we have: Point guards on point guards on point guards. Even with Rose out (with a torn ACL), there are still three of the best point guards in the world on this roster in Paul, Westbrook and Williams. And as amazing as it sounds…Kobe Bryant looks like he is coming back for another Olympics. He also fits in PERFECTLY as a defensive stopper and a guy to step up and take shots in tight games when….others…..won’t. I don’t always like Kobe, but LOVE him every four summers.
I also have an infatuation with James Harden being added to the roster (he was added along with Davis). I loved the idea of him coming off the bench to provide scoring, energy and swagger, but then I realized we already have someone like that…his name is Dwayne Wade.
Talk about instant offense off the bench.
What we’re missing: Not a whole lot actually…this is the deepest position on the team by far. It’s so deep, actually, that it will pain me when a guy like Harden or Gordon are left off. The loss of Howard (who’s built like a tank and can play tons of minutes), means that we have to sacrifice either the athletic, versatile defender (Iguodala) or the handy dandy shooter (Gordon/Harden). I also think that when Gordon/Harden vies for the last spot against Anthony, they’ll probably lose out, which is a shame.
(And also doesn’t make sense. Someone needs to be one of the last guys off the bench with Davis….wouldn’t Gordon/Harden be more content waving a towel, giving awesome chest bumps and timeout daps than Anthony, who’s used to being a star? Absolutely. Enter non-original thoughts of team chemistry here.)
Who should make the final 12: Easy-Paul, Williams, Westbrook, Bryant, Wade.
Side note: I’ve never understood the need for three point guards, especially with Lebron (who can run the point forward). If you’re building an actual team, not an All-NBA team, wouldn’t you scrap the last point guard (thus not forcing one, either Williams or Westbrook, to play slightly out of position as a 2) for an actual shooting guard that can bomb it on command? Alas, I guess it just doesn’t work that way.
So in review we have:
Chandler, Davis (centers)
Lebron, Durant, Love, Bosh, (sigh) Anthony (forwards)
Bryant, Paul, Wade, Westbrook, Williams (guards)
Not a bad little team….