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Who will be on Team USA for 2012 London Olympics?

Sep 24, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

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Mike Krzyzewski — head coach of Team USA — has some brutal choices ahead of him next summer.

Team USA is in the 2012 London Olympics and will come in the heavy favorite, but there are some other very good teams out there that could push the USA — Spain and Argentina come to mind, veteran squads with plenty of NBA-level talent.

So who will make up the 12 man USA roster for London?

First, there are the guys who won gold in 2008 and should be given spots now: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh. (I know a bunch of you just shook your head at Bosh, but there are few bigs as skilled as him and his more finesse game works well in international ball).

That’s eight of the 12 spots.

Kevin Durant, after leading Team USA to the gold at the FIBA World Championships gets a spot for sure. So just three seats left.

Chris Sheridan (former AP and ESPN writer) makes an interesting point at his site.

You can also set aside a spot for Blake Griffin, who has been described to SheridanHoops.com by people in the know as a shoo-in for the London 2012 roster.

That’s 10 of the 12. And for you counting at home, there are two point guards, two shooting guards, three small forwards, two power forwards and one center on the list (although it is more flexible than that, someone like LeBron or Durant can play the two, three or four spot depending on the lineup, and LeBron and ‘Melo were often used at the four in 2008).

Sheridan makes another good point — the USA needs to bring a bigger team to London than they did Beijing. The reason is Spain, the USA’s most serious competition for the gold, which has gotten bigger and better since 2008. Spain still has Pau Gasol, but his brother Marc had not even played in the NBA in 2008 but now is both improved and makes a fantastic high-low combination with his brother. Spain also now brings Serge Ibaka off the bench for help and they may have recent Rockets draft pick s Nikola Mirotic, who is 6’10”. They have size.

Sheridan says based on their play at the World Championships, Lamar Odom and Kevin Love have to be the candidates for another big spot. Love brings rebounding, outlet passes and can stretch the floor with his shooting, but his defense has been an issue. Odom can do just about anything, his game is very versatile.

So you pick one of them. That’s 11.

Now for the 12th spot do you go with another big — maybe Tyson Chandler, but Amar’e Stoudemire and LaMarcus Aldridge are considerations — or do you go with speed and Derrick Rose? It’s hard to leave Rose off the team, but do you put him on in place of Deron Williams to so you can go with size or do you bring three quality point guards and try to run teams into the ground? If you are going to go with speed, Russell Westbrook has to be considered as well.

There are no easy choices for Mike Krzyzewski next summer. There is plenty of talent to choose from, but what really matters is fit. That has to be the key.

  1. seanb20124 - Sep 24, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    “First, there are the guys who won gold in 2008 and should be given spots”

    No player should be given a spot

  2. rdssc - Sep 24, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    The season is in jeopardy and Kurt is already starting with the Rose hate.

    • trueballs - Sep 24, 2011 at 4:17 PM

      I don’t think it’s Rose hate. His game I don’t think would be as successful in international ball. Less fouls called at the rim…and I guess overall too. The team already has a bunch of isolation players (i.e. Wade, Kobe, LBJ, Carmelo, Durant). You need dedicated playmakers to get the most out of all the talent on this roster.

      1. Chris Paul – PG
      2. Deron Williams-PG
      3. Kobe – SG
      4. DWadeSG/PG
      5. LBJ – SF/PG/PF
      6. Durant. SF/PF
      7. Melo SF/PF
      8. Bosh PF/C
      9. Dwight C
      *10. Blake Griffin- PF/C If not him- then Tyson Chandler
      11. Lamar Odom-PF/C
      12. Rose/Rondo/Westbrook -PG

      I think you go with Rose out respect for the MVP…or if Blake’s get’s the 10 spot then give the 12th to Tyson Chandler….because all of these stars need at least one good screen setter.

      talk about versatility. talk about nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon.

      • kast2l - Sep 25, 2011 at 12:58 AM

        I hear you about Drose but at the end of the day Chris Paul and Deron Williams make their players on their respective teams better… Derrick Rose not so much and I don’t want fans of Drose to think i don’t think he’s not good, he’s a fantastic ball player but he doesn’t distribute the basketball as well as Dwill or CP3, hard to argue that he can. I don’t see the PG being the one to score the basketball often with a team like this anyway which is what Rose is best at.

  3. cosanostra71 - Sep 24, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    I would bring:

    C: Dwight Howard/Griffin
    PF: Bosh/Aldridge/Durant
    SF: LeBron/Carmelo/Durant
    SG: Wade/Kobe/Durant
    PG: CP3/D-Will/Rose

    Durant is the guy on the bench who fills in anywhere- he can play the four in international ball I think. I like Aldridge more than Love in the international game, although Love does have the experience. I think its hard not to bring Rose. There are very few international players that will be able to defend him.

    • hoopskidcudi - Sep 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      and there are fewer people Rose CAN DEFEND. Horrific defender and off the ball player. Not outside shot to compliment LeBron, Wade, Melo and Dwight Howard from attacking the basket.

  4. goforthanddie - Sep 24, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    You can leave Melo home, along with the Bosh-bashing. And why automatically recycle? Make people earn their spot again.

  5. andrewbitz - Sep 24, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    You have to put Kevin Love ahead of Blake Griffin. His game is more transferable with his better ability to shoot from distance, rebound, pass and play a more intense game. Griffin gets the nod as of now simply because of his marketability. USA would love to promote the sport worldwide with a player like Blake.

    You need both Chris Paul and Deron Williams. A third point guard wouldn’t be an asset. There are many versatile players like LeBron and Wade who would be willing to play the distributor role. All the point guards on the world championship roster were a flop, so there is no guarantee any of them would improve.

  6. hoopskidcudi - Sep 25, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    PG: Deron Williams/Chris Paul
    SG: Durant/Wade
    SF: LeBron/Carmelo
    PF: Amare Stoudemire/Blake Griffin/Kevin Love
    C: Dwight Howard/LaMarcus Aldridge/Tyson Chandler

    1. Say no to Kobe. He’s old and he doesn’t bring to the table what Durant and Wade can already bring.
    2. Deron Williams and Chris Paul are superior playmaking and passing point guards. In addition, they are much better defensively compared to Derrick Rose. They are also better outside players, and better off the ball players. Rose is useless without the ball in his hands.
    3. Melo has shown that he has been one of the best all-around players at any Olympics stage.
    4. Blake Griffin and Kevin Love can help D12 on the rebounding end. But Blake is a much better offensively player compared to D12, so he can compliment Amare offensively.

  7. drjsj - Sep 25, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    I personally would go with this.
    PG-Paul, Rose, Williams
    SG-Wade, Kobe, Rose(for going small)
    SF-Lebron, Durant, Carmelo, Kobe
    PF-Aldridge, Bosh, Griffin, Lebron
    C-Howard, Griffin
    And then bring either Lamar, STAT, Igoudala, Gordon, etc. if they want.

  8. zrbk - Sep 25, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Team USA should bring back some experienced players from the 08 squad while pumping some fresh blood into the original roster.
    (Gosh, I really love creating imaginary rosters)

    PG: Definitely bring back Chris Paul. I actually liked what Jason Kidd did in Beijing, but maybe he’s too old now. I’ll pick Deron and Rondo. We need playmakers to lead the superstars. Rose is arguably the best player in the league, but he’s not the best choice for a national team PG.

    SG: If Kobe wants to come back, team him up with Wade. Maybe add James Harden? I really liked that kid during the playoffs.

    SF: If anyone’s a shoo-in, it’s Lebron. Although I don’t like him. On the bench, we should have Durant and maybe Melo. But I actually think Rudy Gay or Joe Johnson may be a better player on this team.

    PF: Aldridge and Bosh.Consider Zach Randolph? Nah.

    C: Dwight Howard. I’ll probably add Kevin Love to collect some extra rebounds.

  9. jimeejohnson - Sep 26, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Gotta have guys that know how to win, and that will always include Kobe. LeBron is the best player in the world so you have to include him. Dwayne Wade is still awesome, Chris Paul can dominate, and Kevin Durant is the real deal and knows how to win. Dwight Howard deserves a spot, as well. Blake Griffin and Kevin Love have what it takes. Derrick Rose is a no brainier, what with his skills and surrounded by LeBron and Kobe! No team in the world has the skill and athleticism that we Americans have, but to win the gold these guys have to play team basketball. The rest of the world is that much better.

  10. aszarejko - Sep 27, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    PG-CP3/D-Will/Rose–You bring all three for whatever you situation you need (D-Will to back people down, Rose to blow by people, CP3 to straight distribute).

    SG-Kobe/Wade–Kobe is still the closer.

    SF–LBJ/KD/Melo–No-brainers, including Melo. You can’t replace his scoring.

    PF–Bosh/Griffin–Good size and athleticism

    C–Dwight/Love–Love deserves the spot. Those two are going to gobble up every single rebound ever, and he can stretch the floor. He also seems/looks very patriotic than anyone else and will play his ass off accordingly.

  11. mikeewright7 - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    NObody spot should be a given
    I hear everybody on the Leave Rose out but he’s The MVP guys…MVP he deserves a spot because he work his butt of this year. People slept on Rose and he Made them pay,
    PG: Rose, Paul
    SG: Kobe, Wade
    SF: Melo, Durant, Lebron, Odom
    PF:Bosh, Amare, Blake, Love
    C: Howard

    ik thats to many people but the arugement between PF should be it, It can go either way with Blake,Odom( who really deserves it), Amare and Love i think everyone else deserves to play, I do like D Willimas and Rondo , Im a celtics fan and would love to see my fellow Celtics in their…But Rose deserves to be on that team, he worked extremely hard this year and with the lockout going on he’s prolly working on developing a solid mid range jump shot

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