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Andrew Bynum skipping Olympics… so who is in for USA?

Apr 23, 2012, 8:44 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

When Dwight Howard went under the knife and sacrificed his summer, the speculation began — who gets his spot on Team USA for the London Olympics this summer?

It pretty much guaranteed that Knicks big man Tyson Chandler is in now. He was on the bubble before, but now he is a must as the United States needs his size and ability to protect the rim. But with a likely gold medal showdown with a big Spanish team — Pau and Marc Gasol plus Serge Ibaka — there was talk of the Team USA getting more size.

Specifically, the Lakers Andrew Bynum. But he told the Los Angeles Times that London is not in his plans, rather the Kobe Bryant knee procedure is.

“I’ve got to take care of my legs in the off-season,” Bynum said Friday. “I’ve got some things planned for my knees…. I’ve got to do some therapy that I’m going overseas to do.”

So now what? Howard is out, LaMarcus Aldridge is likely out due to hip surgery, so who is in on the 12-man roster? Here is my call

Guards: Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant. I would add Russell Westbrook here, but that comes at the expense of adding another big.

Forwards: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Love. Bosh and Love are locks and they can play the five in international ball, where smaller centers who can knock down the outside shot are common. If you do that, you play a lot of Carmelo and LeBron at the four, which again works internationally. The guy on the bubble here is Blake Griffin, who is a freak of nature but with his inconsistent midrange game and 52 percent free throw shooting may not be a fit.

Center: Tyson Chandler. That’s it. Love and Bosh behind him. That’s a risk if Chandler gets in foul trouble. If you want to think about another long defensive stopper, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis could be a guy to look at, but frankly I’d rather add Westbrook as a combo guard and go small more often. The problem there is simply Spain — could the USA lose the Gold because they got pounded in the paint?

To me, if you can’t have Howard or Bynum the quality of big men drops off enough that I’d rather have the guard and just run teams into the ground with our athletes.

But Howard will be missed. Maybe a lot.

  1. ncarolinarn7 - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Go Team USA!!!

  2. massivedick - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Don’t need, don’t want Andy and his wee a$$ man-gina anyway. His attitude would not represent the USA.

  3. Richard Phillips - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Lack of outside shooting appears to be a problem too. Silver may be out of our reach as well.

  4. david0303 - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    I would probably rather add another big man rather than russell westbrook just because we already have so many scoring guards and the game against Spain makes me nervous. I wouldn’t mind blake griffin or even a bruiser like al jefferson who can go in and knock around gasol and ibaka.

    but whether it be russell or another big man USA is definitely taking home the gold

  5. omniusprime - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Sad there are so few talented big men in the NBA available for the Olympic team. At first I wondered about Bynum saying no but if he needs to get his knees fixed during the summer then his medical needs outweigh the Olympic team’s needs. Even with a lackluster center Team USA should prevail at the Olympics for Gold.

  6. tsi431 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Does anybody really care about basketball in the Olympics? Or heck, the Olympics in general? I never watched it, nor do I care if we win the basketball portion or the Rhythmic gymnastics. What a joke.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      Only those who appreciate athletics and a competition that dates back to the ancient Greeks care. Other than that, nobody cares.

  7. loungefly74 - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    it’s almost mythological now about having a true “5” in the NBA…(gosh, i wish Greg Oden would have stayed healthy)

  8. professoressadiesel - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Maybe a Roy Hibbert??

  9. baron30 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Roy Hibbert would work, even KG would be a solid option at the 5…but i really dont think that you can keep Blake off of the team.

  10. rajbais - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    If you want big men why not get Al Jefferson and Amare Stoudemire???

    However, I think Team USA is screwed because the last time we had defensive oriented centers in international competition we’ve finished in sixth place back in 2002!!! That guy’s name is Ben Wallace!!!

  11. rajbais - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    How about Greg Monroe, Roy Hibbert???

    I could tolerate Drew Gooden, Javale McGee, and Demarcus Cousins.

    At least they played the game of basketball where the objective is to put the ball in the basket!!!! I have nothing against Tyson Chandler, but he’s a “touch-the-ball” player!!!!

  12. jag8r904 - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    How about Anthony Davis?

  13. rajbais - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Sorry, but I’d rather have

    Kris Humphries , NJN
    David Lee , GSW
    Josh Smith , ATL
    Ryan Anderson , ORL

    They at least can score!!!

    • david0303 - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      they already have enough scores what we need is another big man to play some D. when u have guys like kobe, durant, lebron, wade, anthony, rose, and many more you dont need to worry about scoring

      • rajbais - Apr 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

        Not true!!!!!! Go ask the 2002 Team USA players!!!!!

        The game is called “basketball” not “touch-the-ball”!!!

    • lookitsgreen - Apr 23, 2012 at 9:33 PM

      I’d only take Hump because Anderson and Lee are defensive liabilities, and Josh jacks up ill-advised jumpers which is gonna hurt… But I’d rather much take Hibbert or even Kanter

      • rajbais - Apr 25, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        Enes Kanter is not eligible to play for Team USA. US Citizenship is a requirement. Just ask Hakeem Olajuwon.

  14. bigkeev124 - Apr 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    Team USA always needs a true big but the pickings are few. So Deandre Jordan and Tyson Chandler should fill those shoes. Demarcus Cousins and Javale McGee falls short cause its international play and there respect level is not there yet. Those suggesting Anthony Davis, I see where you going but he is not better than anyone I named so far especially offensively. Well he might be better than McGee. Roy Hibbert, Z bo and Al Jefferson should be spoken of as possible chances Just in case Chandler gets hurt or something

  15. rob0527 - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Does it really matter? Adding Tyson Chandler doesn’t guarantee them winning gold medal. They should win gold medal if they add me to this team. I can hit open jumpers and take up a few minutes to give stars a rest.

  16. thatguywhoisactuallyamiamisportsfan - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Somewhere in L.A., the Buss family just breathed a sigh of relief.

  17. mytthor - Apr 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    There is no way Griffin isn’t on the team. He is the current golden boy of the NBA and everything possible will be done to make him an international superstar. Holes in his game notwithstanding, the league won’t miss the opportunity to give him his “VC over Weis” moment that he’s always a possibility for.

  18. 11jlacy - Apr 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Blake should be a lock highflyer in london ya dig

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