Team USA: One Crazy Addition Colangelo Should Make to the Roster Pool

Charles BennettSenior Analyst IMay 4, 2012

ATHENS - AUGUST 28:  Tim Duncan #13 of the United States shoots over the defense of Robertas Javtokas #15 of Lithuania in the men's basketball bronze medal contest game on August 28, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Indoor Hall of the Olympic Sports Complex in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Well, due to injuries to LaMarcus Aldridge, Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard and Amar’e Stoudemire, the United States Olympic basketball team is looking a little thin at the 4 and the 5.

Team USA GM Jerry Colangelo will probably have to make a couple of additions to his 20-man roster pool at those positions.

And one name he should consider adding is Tim Duncan.

Duncan has played in the Olympics before, on the ill-fated 2004 squad.

Duncan is obviously not the flashiest player in the league.  All he does is win.  And the U.S. needs players like that, not players like Vince Carter who throw up a Dunk of Death the game after almost losing to Lithuania.  

Duncan being selected would at least in part be a lifetime achievement award.  With the possible exception of Karl Malone, Duncan is the best power forward in the history of the NBA.  Duncan is second among active players in career rebounds, the active leader in career blocks, sixth among active players in career points and fourth among active players (and ninth all-time) in career PER.  

He's also won four titles, two MVPs, been on the All-NBA first team nine times and on the All-Defensive first team eight times.

It should be noted that Larry Bird made the first Dream Team at a similar juncture in his career, despite not being as young or productive as, say, James Worthy or Dominique Wilkins. 

While it's clear that Duncan's best days are probably behind him, being a crafty, no-nonsense veteran has got to count for something.  Especially when the man Duncan is likely vying for a roster spot against is Blake Griffin, who is almost Duncan's polar opposite: young and flashy.

There's an argument to be made that Duncan's still got it.  He was 14th in PER and 23rd in Value Added last season.  His PER was fourth among power forwards and fourth among centers; his value-added numbers were ninth among power forwards and sixth among centers.

Duncan only played about 28 minutes a game this season, which is still considerably more than he'd be asked to play at the Olympics.

Looking at his stats per 48 minutes, Duncan was ninth in rebounds per 48 with 15.3, 18th in points per 48 with 26.3 and 19th in blocks per 48 with 2.59.  Duncan was also fourth in the league in blocks per foul committed, which highlights the fact that he's committed fewer than three fouls a game in every season except his rookie year.

Not bad for someone in the twilight of his career.

Another reason that Duncan should be considered is because of who the United States has drawn in pool play: France and Argentina, starring Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, respectively.  And who in the NBA knows those two players better than anyone else, because he’s been playing alongside them for a decade?

You guessed it: Tim Duncan! 

Bottom line: You don’t necessarily need to pick Tim Duncan for the Olympic squad, but at least consider him.