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Report: Team USA sets 19 players for preliminary Olympic roster

Jan 10, 2012, 5:39 PM EDT

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball Getty Images

The USA will send 12 men to London this summer to suit up and defend America’s gold medal from the last Olympic games.

And that dozen will come from these 19 guys, according Chris Sheridan at who broke the story of the preliminary roster. We’ve broken them out by position (they are alphabetical in their category):

Guards: Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams.

Forwards: LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom.

Centers: Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard.

What seven players get trimmed from that list? My guess (barring injury) is Billups, Gordon, Westbrook, Williams, Aldridge, Iguodala and Odom. Tough cuts, but I think you need the size of Chandler and Howard to match up with the size of Spain (Gasol brothers plus Serge Ibaka). It’s tough at the guard spot, do you cut D-Will, and if you keep him do you hack out Rose or cut Chandler as the big? I love Aldridge but for the international game I want Love more because he can space the floor and knock down the shorter international three. Do you keep them both and cut Griffin? Probably not.

Coach K. has some hard choices ahead of him. The roster needs to be submitted to the Olympics June 20, which is before the Finals may even end. Team USA camp is scheduled to open July 5 in Las Vegas.

  1. captainwisdom8888 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    G- Kobe, Paul, Wade, Rose, Westbrook

    F-Durant, Griffin, Lebron, Love, and Bosh over Melo for a lil extra D.

    C-Chandler and Howard

  2. eureca323 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    I find it highly unlikely Kobe plays as he will likely need surgery which he is holding off till the end of this season because it will keep him out for months.

    So the 7 players that I would cut are. Kobe, Billups, Lamar, Bosh, Iggy, Chandler, and either Gordon or Westbrook.

    Aldridge can play back up Center and PF. Blake and Love at PF and team USA liked Melo at PF as well in 2008. CP3, Deron and Rose at PG they can have minutes at SG as well. Lebron, Durant and Melo at SF all of which can also play SG and PF. Now that I think of it probably cut both Gordon and Westbrook and keep Chandler.

  3. dunkmaster912 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    I’d take Andrew Bynum over Tyson Chandler

    • thatboi901 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      As a Laker fan I wouldn’t want Andrew playing anymore basketball than he has to. But Bynum-Howard wall would be nice to have against Spain

  4. glink123 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    There’s ZERO chance Rose gets cut. You don’t cut the league’s reigning MVP. Friggin’ clown writer.

    • b7p19 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:42 PM

      Whoa. Easy there Mrs. Rose. I’m pretty sure your son isn’t on Helins cut list.

  5. goforthanddie - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    In your own words, Aldridge is the best PF in the league, yet you want to leave him home in favor of a defense-troubled Griffin?
    Kobe’s falling apart and shouldn’t be playing now, but his ego won’t allow him surgery/recovery.
    Mr. Vasquez? Please, any team they put together would have plenty of scoring options, why not have someone who plays a little D?

  6. b7p19 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Who do we drop when Spencer Hawes gets added to the roster?

    • somekat - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:56 PM

      whoever put Hawes on the roster as 1 of the 2 bigs should get dropped

  7. r0llinginthedeep - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    G – Kobe, Paul, Rose, Wade

    F – Lebron, Melo, Iggy, Aldridge/Love, Bosh, Durant

    C – Howard, Chandler

    *These aren’t in any specific order relating to importance or whatever*

    My favourite line-up? Wade, Igoudala, Lebron, Chandler and Howard. That 5 would be terrifying defensively (and the main reason Igoudala is there, seen as that’s the three best perimeter defenders in the league aswell as the best two post defenders).

    If Kobe didn’t make it, I could genuinely see Eric Gordon on that team. He was excellent in the world championships and if this season goes as well for him (personally, maybe not team-wise) as many predict then he could shoehorn himself in ahead of Westbrook and D-Will.

    Honestly can’t pick between Love and Aldridge. Both tremendous players. Even as a Knick fan the thought would cross my mind to have them both and leave Melo behind. My preference would probably be Love and Melo though, just because there are so few 3-point shooters on that team (Melo’s long two’s would be three’s in the international game, which would actually make him more useful there than he is in the NBA).

  8. nicosanchez02 - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Ditto on Bynum!

  9. tcclark - Jan 10, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    the problem with this is that they will keep the 12 best players instead of the 12 right players. Eric Gordon is a guy this team needs. his game suits the international style a lot better than a guy like Dwayne Wade’s does. you can’t fill your roster with slashers. Gordon is a threat from deep. He is a great shooter and looking at this list, he is probably the only one.

    Andre Iguodala played a huge role on the FIBA team. He is by far the best perimeter defender on this list and will be needed during the Olympics.

    Kevin Love would be a phenomenal international player. he was constantly putting up huge numbers for the FIBA team because international guys can’t handle him. He would be great to have come off the bench and grab rebounds and shoot the three.

    Deron williams would be a better choice at point guard than Derrick rose as well. Deron is more of a pure point guard and is a better facilitator. He also has more experience playing the international game thanks to his time in 08 as well as his time in turkey. Rose is more of a slasher and with the team defense that they play in europe, he will be forced to drive and kick out to guys like Carmelo who is just going to miss 15 shots a game.

    You aren’t going to beat the Europeans on pure talent. you have to play team oriented basketball. instead we will get lazy defense and showboating. the 2010 FIBA team was a much more respectable team than the ’08 Olympic team. we almost lost to Spain. there is no way a team with only a handful of NBA players should even be able to score 50 points against the talent we had on that team.

    I’m sure I’ll get a lot of thumbs downs for this, but from that roster i would cut Billups, Rose, Wade, Odom, Bosh, Griffin, and Westbrook.

    I’m not saying they aren’t as good, but my roster would provide us with a more balanced attack instead of a team of slashers and mediocre shooters.

    ps sorry for the long post. i just hate all-star teams

    • goforthanddie - Jan 10, 2012 at 8:17 PM

      I don’t see why they don’t use the team that won the qualifying tournament. The big names were too good to participate there, why allow them to participate now?

      • tcclark - Jan 10, 2012 at 8:28 PM

        I mean we’d be perfectly fine with the FIBA team. The Spanish National (Rubio, two gasols, and Ibaka is not that good) team couldn’t even win an NBA title and they’re our biggest competition. With the talent we had in ’08 none of the other teams should have even scored 50 points. unfortunately our players are more interested in throwing up alley-oops than playing defense.

    • pudgalvin - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:00 PM

      I agree with your ideas, but Rose is showing a much more well rounded game early on this season. He’s also got that fastbreak speed that I think you need in an international game. I’d probably keep Rose and lose Aldridge.

      • tcclark - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:31 PM

        I can live with that. I like Aldridges game, but it isn’t necessary with the guys already on the roster. I’m not hating on guys like Rose and Wade, i actually really like wade, but i just want to avoid redundancy in a lineup.

      • pudgalvin - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:07 PM

        No, you’re definetly right about choosing a team instead of the 12 best players. Totally agree that D Will is the best option at the point, even though I’m the biggest Rose fan on the planet. Rose and Wade are pretty much the same player, and there is limited space in the international game for that player.

        I think I’d keep Bosh too, with that step out game he’s got. I think he helps open up the floor, and he’s definetly learned to play without the ball over the last year and a half.

      • tcclark - Jan 10, 2012 at 11:02 PM

        I’d keep Aldridge over bosh. They are probably the most comparable players in the league having almost identical games, but I think Aldridge gives a little more on the defensive side and is rarely absent from a basketball game like Bosh can be. In a tournament you can’t have players taking nights off and i think Bosh does it too often.

    • miamatt - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      I think you make a strong argument to buck some obvious choices, such as Williams for Rose and keeping Iggy for his D.

      That being said, how do you keep Kobe over Wade? I won’t get into the “all time” argument, but in the here and now Wade has clearly surpassed Bryant. While I agree with your point about the need to not oversaturate the roster with slashers, Wade is perhaps the most explosive out of all of them, and he has a post up element to his game that can’t be said for most of the other G options.

      Less strongly I feel Bosh has a place on this roster. He can finish at the rim with power or finesse, but is more a spot up shooter than a slasher when away from the basket. He is also a long team defender and has already shown he can comfortably cede the role of primary scorer. If you really feel that strongly about Gordon, I might cut Aldridge instead to make room for Bosh. A similar argument could be made to keep Odom if you prefer him to Bosh- I don’t.

      • tcclark - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:56 AM

        I won’t argue the all-time factor either. Kobe was huge for the ’08 olympic team. the leadership and will to win he provides for the team is vital. you can’t take kobe off of the roster. If it ever came down to the end in a close game (it never should, but stuff happens), there is nobody in the world that I would rather have with the ball in his hands. I absolutely can’t stand the Lakers, and I’m not even a Kobe fan, but I respect the man for his game.

        D Wade is the best slasher in the game and probably the most explosive, but he’s an undersized guard and doesn’t have the jump shooting ability that Kobe does. Kobe is also a better perimeter defender (an over-rated one at that, but still superior). Dwayne Wade could easily lead the team in scoring, but it is in my honest opinion that Kobe gives us a better chance to win Gold.

      • tcclark - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        also as i told pudgalvin, i prefer aldridge over bosh. For this tournament and in general. You guys keep saying that Bosh is used to playing without the ball, but it isn’t like aldridge is a selfish player. he plays in a team oriented system in portland and he’s much more consistent than Bosh is. their games are almost identical, but i prefer aldridges consistency and slight defensive edge over bosh. I also would trust him at the 5 more than bosh if need be.

  10. kappy32 - Jan 10, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    No STAT? He’s better than AI, Lamar Odom & Aldridge.

    • willardj - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      Apparently Coach K likes his players to play defense. Iggy and Odom are both very good defensive players. They already have plenty of scoring forwards on this team anyway.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:34 AM


  11. max20characters - Jan 10, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Tyson Chandler is easily one of the most OVERRATED player in the league. Without last years championship he would be absolutely NOTHING. Screw him

  12. willardj - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Here would be my preferred starting lineup:

    PG- Paul
    SG- Wade
    SF- LeBron
    PF- Bosh
    C- Howard

    You already have chemistry with the Heat big 3. If I’ve learned anything from watching these olympic games, it’s that chemistry is HUGE. The reason other countries can stay competitive with the U.S. is because they all play together on the national teams more often than the U.S. players.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 11, 2012 at 5:47 PM

      Yeah, because that chemistry paid off so well last year.
      Wait, no it didn’t. And they admitted they didn’t have chemistry. Or at least used “chemistry” as a euphemism for “leb choked again”.

  13. pburnin - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Rose is a boss. He’s still learning. Once he figures his game out he will be the best player in the league.

  14. willkellz - Jan 10, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Adding a defender like Gerald Wallace would be a major addition

  15. seanb20124 - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    JJ Redick to shoot 3’s would be a good choice, plus a coach K favorite. Jaja

  16. miamatt - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Cut Billups, Bryant, Williams, Westbrook, Aldridge, Griffin, and Odom.

    Keep your two centers, cut most of the older guys, and play at a fast tempo with Paul/Rose/Wade/James. There will be a ton of wings with great versatility among them for coach K to use.

  17. ezwriter69 - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    A 4 who doesn’t rebound, Aldridge, is a huge liability in the international game… 1 board per 5.5 minutes just isn’t enough in the world game.

  18. gcbball3 - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Honestly if I’m creating my roster for team U.S.A. Here’s what I’d go with

    Starting five
    Pg: chris Paul
    Sg: Dwayne wade
    Sf: as much as I hate him Lebrun James
    Pf: Blake Griffen ( love deserves it but seeing as how he and cp3 play together that’s why Blake gets the nod)
    C: Dwight Howard

    Backups, deron Williams, Kevin love, Carmelo Anthony, tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Lamar odom,

    Odom because he has proven he is willing and capable of coming off the bench, and he can play all 5 positons,

    I know some If not all wil thinkim crazy and I know Derrick rose will be on the roster, but with all the playmakers the redeem team needs a pass first point, who can shoot the Trey better than d rose can, I love him as a player but hedoesnt fit the mold, and I’d personally take rondo over rose but only for the Olympics.

    • dirksimmons - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      There’s a reason Rondo didn’t make the FIBA squad. Coach K knew Rose was better.

    • jimeejohnson - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      You WOULD take Rondo over Rose? That is just plain wrong, and last night’s Bulls/Celtics game showed why. Rondo is not in the same elite category as Rose, and never will be.

      PS: I’m a Celtics fan.

  19. danmarie02 - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Ummmm, clearly many of you have forgotten the way D Wade tore up back in ’08…and Melo has. consistently been team USA’s best player.
    As a Heat fan and D Wade being my fav player, I’d rather he sit this year out.

  20. dadawg77 - Jan 10, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Wade and Kobe won’t play due to injury so take them out and with the compounded schedule this year, wouldn’t surprise me if a few veterans (all teams) opt out.
    Easy eliminations are Billups, Odom.
    Guards: Either Williams or Westbrook will make team for total of four guards. Think they keep Gordon because the team doesn’t need four PGs and he will be a nice shooter to pull teams out of zones. Rose is the MVP, and CP3 is CP3 so they make it.
    Forwards: James, Durant, Griffin, Bosh, Aldridge, Love, Iguodala make it with Howard. Leaving the Knicks off because that team will collapse and the style of play will keep Team USA from Melo. Chandler doesn’t bring enough to the table with this group.

  21. dirksimmons - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    You people talking about cutting Rose are just out of your mind. He has out of this world talent.

    Guards: Rose, Paul, Kobe, Wade
    Forwards: Lebron, Durant, Melo, Griffin, Aldridge, Love
    Centers: Bynum (if healthy), Howard

    Obvious cuts: Billups, Odom

    No-hard feelings cuts: Iguodala, Chandler, Gordon
    Iguodala is a great facilitator for a guy his size, but he’s just not as good as those other forwards. Chandler is great on defense, but Bynum is the better center, provided he’s healthy. I know he’s not on the original list, but his size and strength are too much to ignore. And Gordon is great, but Kobe is Kobe. If he’s healthy, you have to take him.

    Really tough cuts: Westbrook, Williams, Bosh
    Obviously these guys have All-Pro potential. But Rose is better than Westbrook at what they do (speed/slashing tear apart defenses), and Paul is better than Williams at what they do (traditional scorers, great facilitators). Bosh is tremendously talented, but I think Aldridge and Love have more of an upside, plus Aldridge would be a better move to the 5 if necessary. Wouldn’t be surprised if they took him over either of those guys though.

    • tcclark - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      the problem with your roster is that you cut the best defensive players and the only shooter. Kevin Love is probably the best shooter on your roster and judging by your talent comment, he probably wouldn’t play much considering he’s probably the least talented player on the roster.

      You can’t just pick what you consider to be the 12 best players in the league. you have to assemble the best team. In ’04 we were clearly the most talented team, but we walked away with the bronze medal.

      Iguodala, Chandler, and Gordon should make the team because they bring a specific skill set. They bring something to the table that none of the players on your roster bring. I’d also take Williams over Rose if I had to. You are right, Rose is an out of this world talent. He is more talented that Williams, but Williams is a better facilitator than Rose and with guys like Kobe, Dwayne Wade, Lebron, Carmelo, and Durant why do you need a scoring point guard?

      Also, the best thing that Blake Griffin does is put asses in the seats…. It’s the Olympics. I don’t think we need to worry about that.

      • dirksimmons - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        Okay, I’m assuming none of your post was referring to me cutting Billups or Odom. So…

        Personally I consider Durant to be the best shooter on my roster. And with all these elite players, it’s better to have someone that can command attention like Love or Griffin over say, Iggy.

        This roster is still full of great defenders. Kobe has made 9 all-NBA 1st team defenses. Lebron and Howard have made 3 each. Paul and Wade have both made the 2nd team defenses multiple times. The rest I consider to be very capable defenders in their own right. The only questionable one is Melo, but I’ll still take him over Iggy because Melo is an elite scorer. You’ll have games where you need him and he’s proven he’s a great player on the international level. And chances are Chandler will make the team before Bynum because Bynum isn’t on the list anyway. So I’ll concede that one to you.

        I also think Rose has a bad reputation because he is the first option for the Bulls. He’s simply the best scorer on the team. But I think it’s made him an underrated facilitator. He was after all top ten in assists last year. I’m sure if he had a plethora of options on his team, he wouldn’t look to score so much. But he can carve his way out of any defense. And he’s the best in the world at it. Gordon is very good. But are you really going to take him over Rose, Wade, or Bryant? I mean the only reason you’re taking him is because he’s a better shooter? In that case, why not take Kyle Korver or someone that can just sit back and drain 3’s? We’re not building a baseball team here where you look for a specific skill set to play 162 games. We’re building a basketball team and talent counts.

      • tcclark - Jan 12, 2012 at 7:39 AM

        Did you really just use number of all-defensive teams as an argument? you lost all credibility right there. I’m sure you’ll tell me that Derek Jeter is a great fielding shortstop because he has 411 gold gloves too. Guys win awards for flashy plays. Lebron wins defensive awards because he can let a player go by him and block him from behind, just like Derek Jeter can take a a ball that most other shortstops wouldn’t have a problem with and make a jumping twisting throw to get the guy at first. None of this makes a player a great defensive player.

        If you watched a guy like Andre Iguodala play defense you’d understand. He’s suffocating. he won’t give you any space to shoot, but he’s athletic enough to keep you in front of him if you drive. He has extremely quick hands that are ready to strip the ball, and more often than not he will force you to pass. None of the guys on your list are even close to that level of defensive play and you will need it in the Olympics. It’s also not like he doesn’t command attention. He is still the number one option on a first place team (whether he should be or not is up for debate). It’s not like other teams are going to leave a guy like Iguodala wide open, because if they do get ready for a dunk fest.

        As for Rose, he is the best player on the best team in the east. This is not a lebron on the Cavs or Iverson on the Sixers situation here. He has a very good scorer in Luol Deng on the wing, an all-star in Boozer in the post, and a plethora of role players around him. He’s the first option on the team because he is a great scorer, not because there isn’t anyone around him. Derrick Rose is a great scorer but on a team of 20+ point scorers, why do you need another one? Plus it’s not like Deron Williams isn’t a phenomonal scorer as well. He’s just a better facilitator.

        On a team full of slashers i would definitely take Gordon over Rose and Wade (not Kobe). Like it or not, but you have to have a cohesive team in order to win anything. Just ask the heat. if you don’t have any shooters on the floor, you will end up playing isolation basketball against a zone defense. Do you understand how that doesn’t work? Have you ever watched a syracuse basketball game? The best way to beat the zones that Europeans play is by shooting the ball. you’ve assembled a group of players who are great one on one, but there isn’t a lot of one on one against a zone. You’ll end up with Rose driving the lane, getting collapsed on and kicking it out to Dwayne Wade, who will have to do the exact same thing because even though he gets paid 15 million dollars a year, he still can’t consistently hit an outside shot. Oh and there isn’t the defensive 3 second violation so they can park a shot blocker in the middle of the paint. Shooters space the floor. driving and kicking to Eric Gordon will destroy a zone. Oh and Eric Gordon averaged 23 points a game last year and Kobe said was one of the toughest defenders he had to play against all year. I’m not only taking him because he’s a better shooter. he has more of an all around game and is more suited for the international game than Rose or Wade.

  22. moseskkim - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:58 AM

    Aldridge is a great player. He’s much better than Bosh. Why would you put Bosh in there ahead of Aldridge. He’s got a better post up game, he can defend better, he’s longer, he makes big time shots, he’s better looking haha jk on last one though he actually is much more handsome. I would rather cut Griffin. He’s exciting as heck but his jumpshot isn’t where it’s gotta be. I’d rather have a passing D-Will as long as he promises not to shoot much. Need great passing and CP3 and DWill would be nice. Westbrook would be my 13th in case of injury.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      My argument would be Bosh has a more reliable jump shot (he’s knocking down threes this year) and that matters more in the international game. In the NBA I take Aldridge, but internationally I like Love and Bosh better.

      • tcclark - Jan 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        I we’re relying on Chris Bosh to knock down some threes than we’re doomed. It’s great that he’s been able to do that through a 6th of a shortened NBA season, but this is the Olympics we’re talking about. Aldridge is a better all around player who fits in the exact same role as Bosh would. He also shows up every night, something Bosh can’t put on his resume.

      • moseskkim - Jan 12, 2012 at 5:37 AM

        bosh has hit three 3’s in 11 games at a 23% clip. i understand the int’l 3 is closer but you cant say he’s knocking down threes with those #’s. When it comes down to it, I don’t like bosh’s mental makeup. when he randomly screams during games, it looks fake. Aldridge has that quiet fire. he would also be more of help at the 5 along with d12/chandler than bosh would be. bosh is soft.

  23. jimeejohnson - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Kevin Durant: ain’t nobody gonna beat a team like that. Definitive subs include Blake Griffin and Kevin Love. The rest of the team does not even matter. As long as these guys learn to play the international style, they will be unbeatable.

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