USA Olympic Basketball Team 2012: Why Russell Westbrook Should Not Make the Cut

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USA Olympic Basketball Team 2012: Why Russell Westbrook Should Not Make the Cut
Brett Deering/Getty Images

United States basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski will have several tough decisions will have to be made as he cuts down the current roster of 19 players down to 12 in preparation for the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics.

One of those decisions will be which of the remaining point guards to take. Despite 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose not being available due to a torn ACL in his left knee suffered during the NBA playoffs, the team still has plenty of big name point guards, including Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and Chauncey Billups.

Out of those options, while he isn't necessarily the least-talented of the four, it might make most sense to leave Westbrook off of the final roster.

Paul and Williams are the best players of the group. Both have career averages of over 17 points per game and nine assists per game in their NBA careers and have experience playing in the Olympics,  both having been members of the 2008 Beijing Olympic team. Both are better players then Westbrook.

Assuming that Krzyzewski will take three point guards, in some ways, Billups could be the better option over Westbrook.

While the 35 year-old Billups will be coming off of a torn Achilles which caused him to miss most of this season, he would bring the veteran savvy and experience that comes with his 14-year professional career, something that the younger Westbrook does not have.

The season-ending injury Billups suffered could actually be beneficial for the team. By not having to play most of the highly-packed and condensed schedule on top of a grueling play-off run, Billups could be fresher by the time the Olympics start in comparison to Westbrook, who has played in all 66 regular season games and is still in the playoffs.

Westbrook is, in many ways, a better player then Billups right now, having averaged more points per game and more assists per game in the last couple of seasons. However, as the 2004 Olympics showed, the best team isn't necessarily the one with the biggest names but the one is built correctly and has the right pieces and chemistry to work together.

He may not be as talented, but because of his experience and veteran leadership, Billups fills the role of third-string point guard better than Westbrook.

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