2012 Summer Olympics: Predicting Who Will Make USA Men's Basketball Roster

Tim KeeneyContributor IMay 24, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates before he cuts down the net after the Wildcats defeat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The U.S. Men's Basketball team can score points, but can they stop other countries from doing the same?

As the roster currently stands, the answer to that question is a resounding "no."

The exclusion of LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum all due to injury has left Team USA razor thin on the inside, and Tyson Chandler, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year (and Second-Team All Defense—huh?), won't be able to fill the void by himself. 

The nine locks for making the final roster are as follows: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams and Chandler.

Let's take a look at who the final three picks must be.


Anthony Davis, Kentucky

I have no idea if Anthony Davis is ready for this kind of pressure, but he's certainly shown to be more mature than most kids his age (19). 

Most importantly, however, Davis gives Team USA someone who can protect the rim (something they only have one of) and a unibrow (something they have none of).

There are going to be a ton of talented big men in London. The Gasol brothers, Joakim Noah, Serge Ibaka, Anderson Varejao, Tiago Splitter and Nene are just a few of the big names, and it's clear the U.S. needs more of an inside presence. 

As it stands, the only big men on the roster are Chandler and Kevin Love, and Love isn't much of an inside defender. Anthony Davis may or may not be ready, but he's going to be needed. 


Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers

Like I mentioned earlier, the USA has plenty of offense, but needs more defense. There aren't really any more interior defenders on the list of finalists, so Iggy will have to do.

Despite what the First Team All-Defensive picks will tell you, Iguodala is one of the best defenders in the league. He can guard a variety of positions and will shut down 99 percent of the players in the Olympics

He's long and athletic, and he instantly makes this team better with his commitment on the defensive side of the ball.

Furthermore, unlike most defensive specialists, he won't hurt the offensive flow when he's on the court. Team USA obviously will love getting in transition, and Iggy is one of the best wings in the game at running the floor and getting to the hoop.

That, of course, was my pathetic excuse at being able to show this:

Pick this guy. 


James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder

The 12th man probably won't be getting a lot of important minutes, so this pick doesn't matter all that much. Still, adding someone with Harden's beard will certainly be intimidating.

And on the court, he presents unique matchup problems.

Harden is 6'5" and 220 pounds, so he has the size of a shooting guard, but his ball-handling skills and ability to make plays happen off the pick-and-roll make him truly dangerous as a point guard, too.

When you have so many players with the ability to score the ball (Kobe, Wade, Durant, LeBron), adding as many guys with unique skill sets is a good way to fill out the roster. 

That's exactly what makes Davis, Iguodala and Harden so special. They are unique players and they should make the squad.