5 NBA Players Who Were Snubbed by the Team USA Finalist List
Finally, the USA Basketball National team released the long-anticipated list of the finalists for the 2012 USA Basketball National team. On first glance, one can definitely see that this is one extremely impressive roster. However, there are some notable absences.
Every year there are a few players expected to be on the roster but never receive the opportunity. Whether it was for chemistry reasons, a bad attitude or a multitude of players at a certain position, some players are passed over. This year is no exception, as there are a handful of athletes who deserve to be on this list but aren't.
So without further ado, here are my five players who were snubbed by the USA Olympic Team.
The fact that Josh Smith did not make this list is ridiculous.
Smith is a fantastic player for the Atlanta Hawks due to his versatility and all-around skill set. In the early part of this truncated season, Smith is averaging a respectable 16.2 points per game to go with 8.8 boards.
However, statistics don't do Josh Smith justice, as defense is where this combo forward excels. Not only is Smith a premier shot blocker, but he can guard a multitude of positions, including both the small and power forward.
Smith would excel in the international game. He can run the floor with ease and has a consistent mid-range jumper. Plus, J-Smoove is already familiar with Team USA, as he played in their mini-camp in July.
It is hard to believe that Lamar Odom made the list over Josh Smith.
Despite a plethora of talented point guards in the running for Team USA's roster, I firmly believe Rajon Rondo should have received a chance to try out for the squad.
Sure, international play does require that guards be able to shoot from the perimeter, something the young man struggles with immensely, but Rondo's leadership and tenacity would have been a fantastic quality to have.
Plus, Rondo is a premier defender in the NBA—a quality none of the point guard finalist possesses.
If I were head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Rondo, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook would be my three primary ball handlers going into the London Olympics.
After all, Team USA is going to need youth in its rigorous schedule.
When looking over Team USA's roster, one can easily see that there is one glaring problem: The team lacks a quality back-up center.
Sure, Tyson Chandler may be able to get the job done, but do you think Krzyzewski wants a player as one-dimensional as Chandler on the roster?
I don't think so.
Chandler will be a huge offensive liability, and with teams like Spain being able to put up points in a hurry, the Knicks' center may not be a fantastic fit on the squad.
There is the option of sliding either Chris Bosh, Kevin Love or Blake Griffin to the center position, but they would lose a huge size advantage.
It is mind-boggling to think that the breakout Andrew Bynum never received an opportunity to compete for a role on the roster. Not only is this a career year for the 7'1" center, but he is arguably a better one-on-one defender than superstar Dwight Howard.
Bynum insists that Team USA snub hasn't affected his confidence, but it would have been a fantastic surprise to see Bynum in Red, White and Blue come summer.
If there is one quality Team USA will desperately lack, it is hustle.
With a team full of superstars, there may be no one on the roster to get "down and dirty" and fight for extra possessions.
This is where Gerald Wallace should have come into play.
Adding Wallace to the finalist group would have provided a much-needed leadership boost.
After all, Wallace is leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a respectable 8-5 record, while putting up 14.8 points per game.
Plus, Wallace is an extremely versatile player, as he can play small or power forward while knocking balls from behind the arc with consistency.
It is a shame that "Crash" will not be in London this summer.
Team USA has many quality shooters but no premier three-point marksman.
This is what Ray Allen's role would have been.
When LeBron James drives into the lane or when Dwight Howard draws a double-team, they would have the luxury of kicking the ball out to the best three-point shooter in NBA history.
Plus, Allen would have been a perfect leader for this young squad, as he is a consummate professional.
Despite Allen's advanced age, I fully believe this sharpshooter would have been a perfect fit on Team USA.