Basketball (Olympic)

Summer Olympics 2012: Ranking Team USA Men's Basketball Forwards

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: LeBron James #6 of the US Men's Senior National Team huddles up with teammates after defeating Brazil during a pre-Olympic exhibition basketball game at the Verizon Center on July 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. The US Senior Men's National Team won, 80-69. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Pete SchauerCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2012

The 2012 USA Men's Basketball squad is off to another fantastic start, accomplishing victories over the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Great Britain by an average of 35 points per contest. 

Much of the Americans' early success in exhibition play is thanks to their forwards, which include some of the biggest names in the NBA.

Not to take away from the guards of Team USA, but three of the five leading scorers on the team come via the forward position.

With that being said, here are my rankings of Team USA's forwards so far through three exhibition games. 

*Please note before we get started that the official USA Basketball Men's National Team Roster has Kevin Durant listed as a guard.

 

No. 5: Anthony Davis

Don't get me wrong—Anthony Davis has played admirably this summer after suffering an ankle injury during New Orleans Hornets workouts (via ESPN), but I'd like to see more from him before I'm ready to rank him above proven NBA forwards.

Davis has played in just one game for Team USA, but he performed well, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and finishing with 11 points, three rebounds and four blocks in 13 minutes on the floor.

If he continues to put up those numbers, he would rise in my forward rankings, but for now he's going to remain at No. 5 until he sees some more action.

 

No. 4: Kevin Love

Shooting .583 from the floor, Kevin Love is my No. 4 forward for Team USA.

Given the talent surrounding Love on the squad, he's not expected to—nor will he—put up big numbers.

Through three games, Love has averaged a decent 5.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG and has collected four steals while averaging 13.3 MPG.

We all know the big man can shoot from beyond the arc, but he's just 1-of-4 from three-point range this summer.

For now, I don't see K-Love cracking the top three.

 

No. 3 Andre Iguodala

As somewhat of an underrated player in both the NBA and on Team USA, Andre Iguodala has impressed me so far this summer.

Aside from the fact that he's averaging 8.3 points per contest, Iggy is shooting .643 from the field and has knocked down 4-of-7 (.571) from downtown.

But what's most impressive of all is that he's tied for second on the team in rebounding with LeBron James, who are both pulling down 4.7 RPG.

As long as Iguodala continues to see an average of 18 MPG, I think he'll be hanging tight in the No. 3 spot in my rankings.


No. 2: Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has been one of the best scorers for Team USA this summer, ranking third on the team with 11.7 PPG in 15.3 MPG.

While he's had some trouble shooting the three-ball (3-of-9 for a .333 shooting percentage), he has chipped in in the rebounding department, adding 3.3 RPG.

What I like most about Melo's game this summer is that he's using his size and strength to get to the basket, as evident by his 11 free-throw attempts, which ranks on the team second only to James.

I'm not typically a Carmelo fan, but you have to give credit where it's due. He's having a solid summer for the red, white and blue. 

 

No. 1: LeBron James

There shouldn't be any surprise here.

The NBA's reigning regular season MVP and NBA Finals MVP is tearing up Olympic basketball this summer, leading Team USA at 17.7 PPG, including a 30-point outburst that willed the U.S. to victory over Brazil.

James is shooting .500 from beyond the arc (3-of-6) and has effectively gotten into the paint, as he leads the team in free-throw attempts, knocking down 10-of-13.

He leads all fellow forwards in assists and ranks No. 2 on the squad in steals with seven.

James is playing the most minutes of anyone—23.3 MPG—and is undoubtedly the "captain" of Team USA Basketball.

 

Want to talk more Team USA Men's Basketball? Follow me on Twitter @Pete_Schauer 

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