USA Basketball: Why Andre Iguodala Will Be Key to Team USA's Olympic Success

Baily Deeter@@deetersportsSenior Writer IIIJuly 13, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 12:  Andre Iguodala #9 of the US Men's Senior National Team defends against Ronald Ramon #14 of the Dominic Republic during a pre-Olympic exhibition game  at Thomas & Mack Center on July 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The United States won the game 113-59.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images

Andre Iguodala was almost left off the Olympic roster. People would've rather seen other talented players like Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis (who is now replacing the injured Blake Griffin). 

Iguodala averaged around 12 PPG last year, and he didn't play well on offense at all during the playoffs. The Philadelphia 76ers seem to be getting ready to move on without Iggy, as they drafted small forward Maurice Harkless and traded for Dorell Wright.

The defensive stud just doesn't fit in with the Sixers anymore. However, he's a perfect fit for Team USA.

While most of the guys on the team play good defense, they need a player focused almost fully in their half of the court. That player is Iguodala. Iggy is great at stealing the ball, contesting shots, and starting fast-breaks. Iguodala can also score, as he proved in Team USA's exhibition win over the Dominican Republic. Iguodala scored 18 points and hit four three-pointers.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams and Kobe Bryant are among the prolific scorers on the team. Iguodala will be a great guy to set up fast-breaks for these guys, and when he's on the floor, expect the team to put on a show.

While watching the exhibition game, I saw Iguodala make some nice passes. He contested shots and played good defense, and set his teammates up for great shots. Iguodala even proved his scoring threat, scoring 18 points and hitting four threes.

Even though Iguodala scored a lot of points against the Dominican Republic, he will probably be setting his teammates up for good looks more often. Team USA put on a show for the fans in Las Vegas with a lot of fast-breaks, and while Iguodala wasn't involved in most of the fast-breaks, he did provide a spark on offense and defense.

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Against a team like Spain, Iguodala will be key. Pau and Marc Gasol will probably be dominating Tyson Chandler down low, and Iggy will have to stop the penetration and try to keep the ball away from the two. If he can start some fast-breaks for LeBron, Durant, Westbrook and the rest of his teammates, it will be team USA controlling the tempo.

Iguodala isn't one of the best players on the team. He isn't as good as some of the players who held out of the Olympics or got hurt and couldn't play, and some of the alternates may even be better than him. But Iguodala is a perfect fit for team USA.

Not many teams can beat the Americans, but when teams challenge them, Iguodala's defense and fast-break ability will be key. As long as he slows the game down on defense and speeds it up on offense, team USA will be in a great position to win a gold medal.

But if not, Spain or even another team may be taking home the gold in London. 

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