Why a Carmelo Anthony Abscence from Team USA Won't Derail Gold Hopes

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Why a Carmelo Anthony Abscence from Team USA Won't Derail Gold Hopes
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Carmelo Anthony

The United State's premier basketball talent will reunite this July due to the start of Team USA training camp. This is a time for players and coaches to let go of past grudges from their NBA lives in hopes of bringing glory to their country. From Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic to Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, the nation's elite will be on full display.

However, drama has formed within Team USA. According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, Carmelo Anthony may be left off of the final roster due to his role in the departure of coach Mike D'Antoni.

Among the greatest honors and marketing opportunities NBA stars have is to play with Team USA in the Olympics, and a person with ties to international basketball told CBSSports.com that Anthony's role in D'Antoni's demise—however unintended—did not sit well with USA Basketball authorities.

There is doubt that Anthony's relationship with D'Antoni might pose a problem for Team USA down the road.

If Anthony is indeed left off of Team USA, how detrimental would it be to the USA's gold medal aspirations?

The answer is not too much.

Carmelo Anthony, despite being a small forward in the NBA, is a standard power forward in the international game. His efficient jumper and knack for getting to the rim makes him a perfect fit for a back-up big man role, as Kevin Durant and LeBron James will almost certainly take up a majority of the minutes at the position.

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But, how effective would Carmelo Anthony be in limited minutes?

Anthony is most effective when he is heavily used. The forward demands shots and often likes to play his man one-on-one off the dribble, a skill not necessarily used in the Olympics. In addition, how much more scoring does Team USA need with James, Dwyane Wade and Durant probably on the squad.

Plus, Anthony is a liability on the defense and has never been known for being a great rebounder.

So, why not use his spot for a hard-working power forward who could thrive in the back-up big man role?

The candidates include the solid LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and the young Blake Griffin. This trio makes Anthony superfluous. After all, these three traditional power forwards have had arguably better seasons than Anthony.

There are a few major benefits to swapping Anthony for another forward. 

Not only would there be less drama, but their would be added depth at the center position, a problem the Redeem Team faced in 2008.

Nonetheless, Carmelo Anthony has more appropriate issues to think about, as he must lead and keep his team in the playoff picture, but his play this season has definitely not helped his Team USA bid.

“I don’t even think Carmelo is thinking about this, but I think it’s going to hurt him,” the international basketball source told Berger. “I don’t think he’s playing as well as the other power forwards are right now. He’s not a bad guy, but he needs to start playing better because the USA team is looking at that, and Mike is an assistant. It should not be given to him.”

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