2010 USA Basketball Roster Predictions
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are all too busy drinking cosmos in South Beach.
Deron Williams had a kid, Chris Paul is rehabbing an injury; the list of reasons why no one from the 2008 Olympic gold medal-winning team is returning to play in this year's FIBA World Basketball Championships goes on and on.
With no one returning, you would figure that USA Basketball would be in a state of flux and panic. Luckily, we have two of the coolest guys under pressure running the team, Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo.
Training Camp has started for Team USA, where 19 players are vying for 12 spots, which will be chosen before they head to Turkey in late August.
Here are the guys that will don the red, white, and blue.
Mr. Big Shot is probably the most deserving of anyone in the training camp to make the team.
He has bided his time in the NBA until he finally hooked up with a team which suits him.
Billups will provide much needed veteran leadership at the point guard position for USA, much like Jason Kidd did in 2008. He can also slide over to the shooting guard position if he needs to.
Derrick Rose is going to have a breakout season this year and become a household name.
He will start that quest with Team USA at the World Championships.
Rose brings speed, court awareness, and a drive to win that will lead the team to the gold.
Stephen Curry is what I like to call "the designated shooter" on the team.
His only job on this team will be to come in and drain three-pointers.
Every team needs a guy like that, so why not take one of the most accurate young shooters in the game?
Three years ago, who would have thought that Rajon Rondo would have been on Team USA?U
He made poor decisions on the court and just wasn’t that good. Man, how things change, as he has become one of the most exciting players to watch on the hardwood.
His court vision and ability to slash and create for his teammates gets him on the roster.
The only thing that could hold him off the team would be his free throw shooting.
KD is listed as a guard, but how many 6’9” guards do you know?
He has the ability to play the two, three and four positions. That versatility is something that Coach K holds in high regard, as seen the last time he coached the USA.
Plus, it's not like you aren’t going to put one of the top five players in the game on your team when he wants to play. Come on, man.
Rudy Gay is another guy who’s versatility will get him on the team.
Gay may be undersized for a power forward at 6’8”, but that didn’t stop Coach K from playing Carmelo Anthony at the position in 2008.
Gay averaged nearly 20 points a game last season, but will be looked upon to hit the boards to get the fast break going for the Americans.
Gerald Wallace may be one of the more underrated players in the NBA.
He averaged a double-double (18 points and 10 rebounds) and finally made his first All-Star team this past season.
He has had experience at both small forward and power forward with the Bobcats, but I would expect him to see more time at the big man spot.
Wallace will also be one of the top defenders on this team, able to guard shooting guards to power forwards.
Some may argue that Lamar Odom already had his shot in the 2004 Olympic debacle.
But me, I’m all about second chances.
Odom can provide leadership and international experience, something that no one else on this team has.
Everyone knows that when he is motivated, Odom can put up big numbers. Hopefully for the USA, we see the Lamar Odom that can set the world on fire.
David Lee was injured on the first day of the USA’s minicamp after jamming his finger badly enough that he flew to Oakland to get it checked out by doctors.
Let’s hope it is not serious, as Lee is likely to start on this team.
He is a big man who averaged 12 rebounds a game last season, something that Team USA desperately needs.
Team USA won't be the biggest team, so Lee’s attributes are needed on this team.
Kevin Love is a big body that would be counted on to bang with the big guys, grab some boards, and kick it out to start fast breaks.
The Americans wouldn’t need him to do anything other than that. If he scores, it’s an added bonus.
Love has proven that he is a system guy and can be a team player, something that Coach K would count on when bringing him off the bench.
Brook Lopez is the best center of anyone who is at the minicamp. He can score, run the court, and bang the boards.
Lopez likely starts as the center and, at times, could be the only player over 6’8” on the court, as Coach K has shown a tendency to go small in the past with Team USA.
He may be softer than his twin brother, Robin, but Lopez still showed enough improvement last season to warrant making this team.
JaVale McGee is my sleeper to make the team.
Most people may not know much about him, but he impressed Coach K and Jerry Colangelo enough at last week’s Las Vegas Summer League that he warranted an extended look.
McGee is long, athletic, and can run the floor. All of these attributes are something that coaches like when they are picking players for the roster.
Injury Replacement: Russell Westbrook
Most of the time it depends on the player who gets hurt, and in this case, it may be David Lee.
Now if Lee's injury proves to be serious enough to leave him off the roster, most people would expect Team USA to select a forward, such as Danny Granger. I, on the other hand, don’t expect them to go that route.
The coaches have shown that they will take the best players and make it work. The 2008 team only had one center, but was filled with guards and small forwards.
That’s why I think the US squad would likely add Russell Westbrook to the roster. The kid is quick, can get to the hoop, and can facilitate an offense.
He also has shown that he can slide over to the shooting guard position and fit in naturally there.