London 2012 Olympics: Ranking Team USA Men's Basketball Guards

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 12:  Deron Williams #8 of the US Men's Senior National Team brings the ball down court during a pre-Olympic exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at Thomas & Mack Center on July 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images

To say the USA Men's Basketball Olympic squad is deep at the guard position is an understatement.

When you're rotating guys like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook, you know you're stacked.

I previously ranked Team USA's forwards, and now it's time to rank the guards' performances during the first three exhibition games.

Here they are: 

Please note before we get started that the official USA Men's Basketball national team roster has Kevin Durant listed as a guard. Also, since I listed Andre Iguodala as a forward in my previous rankings, he will not be considered in this ranking.

No. 6: Kobe Bryant

Yell at me all you want, but Kobe is playing like trash this summer.

He's scored a mere 17 total points in three games while averaging 19.7 MPG, is shooting 6-of-20 (.300) from the field, has just five assists and is tied for the team lead in personal fouls.

Perhaps Kobe needs to be practicing more rather than running his mouth.


No. 5: James Harden

With so much talent at the guard position, I think Harden is doing his best to make the most out of his opportunities.

Coach K is giving Harden 11 MPG, resulting in 5.7 PPG and a .412 field-goal percentage for the 22-year-old OKC guard.

Fact: Harden has scored the same amount of points as Kobe Bryant (17) in 26 less minutes of play.


No. 4: Russell Westbrook

It was difficult to put Westbrook in the No. 4 spot, but I did it anyway.

He's averaging 8.3 PPG in 18 MPG and ranks second on the team in assists with 13, but has turned the ball over six times, which is the most by any guard on the team.

He has been active defensively, posting a block and six steals this summer. Only his turnovers hold Westbrook back from a higher ranking.


No. 3: Chris Paul

CP3 may be averaging a mere 4.3 PPG, but that's not what he's out there to do.

What's been most impressive about Chris Paul is his 12 assists, which he couples with just one turnover. That, combined with the fact that he leads the team in steals with nine, is the reason he's ranked above Westbrook.

He's shooting well 5-of-11 (.455) from the field, so it's not like he's taking a lot of shots and missing. And Paul has been the floor general that we're accustomed to.


No. 2: Kevin Durant

If Kevin Durant were a true guard, I probably would have ranked him No. 1. He ranks second on the team in scoring (16.0 PPG) and is shooting .467 (7-of-15) from beyond the arc.

Despite dishing just three assists, Durant leads Team USA with 5.0 RPG in 22.7 MPG.

He's the team's leading three-point shooter and continues to impress at the age of 23.


No. 1: Deron Williams

D-Will has been the best all-around guard for Coach K's boys this summer. He leads the team in assists with 16 and is averaging 10.3 PPG, which ranks second among guards (again, if you really consider Durant a guard).

Williams has shot well from both the field (12-of-19, .632) and downtown (5-of-11, .455) while seeing 20.3 MPG.

If this is any indication of what Williams can do on the main stage, then the Brooklyn Nets are in for a surprisingly good season in 2012-2013.


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