US Olympic Basketball Team 2012: Selecting Andre Iguodala Was a Master Stroke
What do you do when you're already overflowing with superstars?
Like a high-priced wedding cake, it's the finishing touches that can make all the difference.
Team USA picked the perfect frosting to top off its cake by selecting versatile veteran Andre Iguodala. While his minutes won't be plentiful, his presence could have a big impact on the team if it runs into any speed bumps along the way.
Iguodala has Team USA experience from the 2010 FIBA world championship squad, and he can fill many roles for coach Mike Krzyzewski. For one, he can play guard or small forward on offense, providing backup for Kobe Bryant in case he needs it. He can also defend point guards, shooting guards and small forwards, and is a proven stopper, making the NBA All-Defensive Second Team last year.
"We may have him guard a point guard or we may use him as an attacking wing on offense," Krzyzewski said (via phillysports.com). "When I coached Andre in 2010, I tried to use him in a variety of spots and situations and I envision that being the same with this team."
Blake Griffin and James Harden are similar in that they can play more than one position. Without Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum, Griffin is prepared to play some center if needed as well.
What the high-flying Iguodala has over his fellow final picks is experience. He's 28 and has been in a leadership role with Philadelphia for almost his entire career. While he may not be a Sixer much longer, he'll be looked to as a leader for the rest of his playing days. He will have the respect of all of his teammates.
While Harden and Griffin are remarkable in their own ways, they do not command the locker-room status that Iguodala has. Whether he's on the bench or not, he's someone that can provide a stable voice if things get shaky in London.
“I told Dre after the game how much I appreciate him and his team appreciates him,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said during this past season (via Dei Lynam at csnphilly.com). “We are on a winning team now, which is recognition to him for what he does best and that is to be an all-around player. And I think he is the best perimeter defender in the NBA.”
One of the main things that lead to upsets in basketball is hot perimeter shooting. If some international guard goes unconscious from beyond the arc in London (and it's bound to happen), it will be nice to have an elite perimeter defender on the bench to throw on him.
Team USA would be the undisputed favorite in London no matter who was selected for the final three spots. Iguodala, however, is a warming security blanket who can plug lots of potential leaks en route to a gold medal.
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