2012 Olympic Basketball Team: What The Roster Should Be
Soon, the brains that make the important decisions will be selecting the next generation of men to represent the United States in basketball at the summer Olympics.
There are some names that are no-brainers, and some that are head-scratchers. There are role players, and superstars.
But the ultimate goal is to win the gold medal.
With that in mind, here is the best roster to accomplish that goal.
Starting Center: Dwight Howard
18.3 ppg - 13.2 rpg - 2.78 bpg
Howard's a beast who presents a matchup issue for anyone in the NBA, much less the rest of the world. He's a no-brainer for the roster.
Backup Center: Joakim Noah
10.7 ppg - 11.0 rpg - 1.6 bpg
I'm going to go with Noah over other options here because there's a need for role players who aren't going to ask questions or push the issue.
Noah's got a tremendous motor, has a fabulous basketball IQ, passes well and knows his role well. As a guy on the end of the bench to grab a few key rebounds and block a shot, Noah's ideal on a talented roster that will run.
Starting Power Forward: Chris Bosh
26.0 ppg - 10.8 rpg - .97 bpg
Bosh has experience on the world stage, and is a strong offensive power forward. With Howard and Noah on the roster, Bosh would add even more length to a roster that can run all day.
Backup Power Forward: Carmelo Anthony
28.2 ppg - 6.6 rpg - 1.28 spg
How rough would it be for Coach K to have a guy averaging 28 per night in the NBA coming off the bench? Anthony could play the three or four on the team, and can clearly fill it up when needed.
Starting Small Forward: LeBron James
29.7 ppg - 7.3 rpg - 8.6 apg - 1.64 bpg - 1.01 spg
He's the most dynamic player on the planet. There's a very real chance that James will play all five positions at some point during the Olympics, and he'll excel at every one of them. He'll start at the three, but will probably handle the ball a lot and could guard a power forward or center, depending on matchups.
Backup Small Forward: Devin Durant
30.1 ppg - 7.6 rpg - 1.37 spg - 1.02 bpg
Imagine, if Coach K wanted, that he could roll out a lineup with LeBron (6'8) at the point, Durant (6'9) at the two, Anthony (6'8) at the three, Bosh (6'10) at the four and Howard (6'11) at the five. There aren't five players in the world, US or elsewhere, that can matchup with that size and athletic ability.
Swing Forward/Guard: Danny Granger
24.1 ppg - 5.5 rpg - 1.52 spg
Granger's big enough that he could handle guarding the four at times, but is athletic enough to play the two or the three. He's been a solid, versatile contributor in Indiana and would bring a complete game to the bench for the USA.
Swing Forward/Guard: Brandon Roy
21.4 ppg - 4.7 apg - 4.4 rpg - 0.94 spg
Roy is a guy that can play either guard position and the three as well in the Scottie Pippen-Point/Forward role. With other guys all over the roster that can handle, pass, create their own shots and shoot from the perimeter, Roy is the perfect compliment.
Starting Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant
27.0 ppg - 5.0 apg - 5.4 rpg - 1.55 spg
Look at what he's holding.
What's scary is that he's the only player on this proposed roster over 29...
Swing Guard (PG/SG): Dwyane Wade
26.6 ppg - 6.5 apg - 1.84 spg - 1.06 bpg
Wade can handle the point or the two, and Kobe will likely be the starter at the two. He's a perfect player to have with his multi-dimensional defensive abilities, sound rebounding and good passing. Oh, and he'll be playing with two of the other 11 guys on the roster for 82 games a year between now and then
Starting Point Guard: Deron Williams
18.7 ppg - 10.5 apg - 1.3 spg
Williams is the best point guard in the league right now, and is a perfect fit for the collection of talent on this roster. He's bigger and more physical than other options, can score when he wants/needs to, but also clearly knows when to defer to others.
Backup Point Guard: Derrick Rose
20.8 ppg - 6.0 apg - 3.8 rpg
Rose showed a lot in the recent games in New York, and is emerging as another great point guard in the league. He can fly up and down the court, but plays unselfish basketball when asked to.
But he showed in the 2010 playoffs that he's a closer with a killer instinct. You can't have too many of those.