Clipped: Why Blake Griffin Will Not Make the 2012 USA Team
People are finally beginning to realize that the next time we see any of the NBA's stars, it will probably be with the 2012 Olympic basketball team.
The talk has already begun as far as the roster goes. Most of them are obvious, but there has been much debate about the final two or three spots.
For me, the hardest part about figuring out who should make the team was which amazing point guard to leave off. With so many great ones in the league, you have to leave off a few big names. For me, it was Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and John Wall.
When it came down to the rest of the roster, there were three names floating around that people couldn't seem to agree on.
Trying to choose between Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge is like choosing between milk chocolate, vanilla chocolate and dark chocolate. You know whichever one you chose is going to be great, but you feel bad letting the others go without even getting a taste.
We would all like to see the highlight dunks that Griffin would provide. When it comes to what is best for the team though, they have to resist the temptation. He is a great player, but he does not fit in well with the rest of the team.
Kevin Love has been one of the most underrated players in the league for the past few years. Last year's monster numbers tell you exactly what he is about. He is a true "double-double machine" on the floor. He does not have any character issues and always plays team basketball. That being said, it is just as tough to leave him off of this team.
LaMarcus Aldridge has also been labeled as underrated, especially playing his whole career up in Portland, where not many people get to watch him. He is the franchise player on a team filled with great talent. Having him playing beside the other talented guys on Team USA is a perfect fit in my opinion.
Looking at the guard position, I have six guys on the roster. Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Eric Gordon.
The other six guys I have are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, LaMarcus Aldridge and Dwight Howard.
There will be a Clipper on the 2012 team, but it will be Gordon, not Griffin.
Obviously everyone will not agree with the 12 guys that I just mentioned. I realize that both of the Knicks' stars (Amar'e and 'Melo) are not the best defensive players, but they will try harder on this team, or they won't play.
Amar'e is good to have around the rim, especially when/if Howard gets into foul trouble. He is more athletic than Chandler was, and additionally gives them offense. I think the last spot may come down to he and Chris Bosh.
Having Eric Gordon's perimeter defense and three-point shooting ability is a must for this team. They don't really have any great outside shooters besides Durant and maybe Kobe. Paul and Deron are obvious choices, and Derrick Rose is a better finisher at the rim than Westbrook.
The fact is, the international game is very different from the traditional NBA games we see today. There aren't really any big guys posting up inside, and having guys with the ability to guard taller players on the perimeter is a must.
Aldridge has a very solid all-around game, on both ends of the floor. The 6'11", 240-lbs forward can finish inside, play excellent defense and consistently hit the mid-range jumper.
The core group of this team will be together, but finding players 11 and 12 is going to be a difficult decision for the coaching staff. They will have to look at the team chemistry and which holes they will need to address once they get all the guys in for workouts.
There is also the possibility that they don't need too many big guys, and could substitute one of them for a versatile guy like Andre Iguodala. He was a very good player for them during their run to the gold medal in 2008. His defense was vital in their victories.
With the 10 core guys (Paul, Deron, Rose, Kobe, Wade, Gordon, LeBron, Durant, Carmelo and Howard) all returning, which two players would you add to complete this 2012 USA Team?
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