I usually don’t agree with LeBron James on anything. But his recent assessment of how the 2012 US Men’s Basketball Team is shaping up is hard to argue.
“We can stack up with those guys,” said James about the original “Dream Team” and the 1992 gold medal winning USA basketball squad. “They set the standard for USA Basketball in ’92 with all the great players they had. But we have some great ones as well. We have some Hall of Famers, some champions. So it’s going to be a great team.”
For the first time in at least a couple of Olympics, the entire roster will be loaded with jaw dropping studs. The 2008 squad won the gold medal, which hadn’t happened since 2000. That roster had several studs- Kobe, LeBron, D Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony. But it also had a few players who just weren’t quite to that same level- Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, Tayshaun Prince and a young Chris Bosh. You can’t say that about any of the prospective 2012 team members.
The list of 20 finalists was announced, a roster that will be trimmed down ultimately to 12 players- Carmelo Anthony, Kobe, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, LeBron, Derrick Rose, D Wade, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Chauncey Billups, Rudy Gay, Tyson Chandler, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Eric Gordon, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams. Of the 20 announced Monday, 10 players were members of the 2010 men’s team and eight were on the 2008 Olympic team that won the gold medal.
So let’s assume you keep the obvious “name” guys- Carmelo Anthony, Kobe, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, LeBron, Derrick Rose, D Wade, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love- that’s 10 players right there.
The real question is who do you cut?
That means of the following list, only two players will make it- Aldridge, Bosh, Chauncey, Rudy Gay, Tyson Chandler, Iguodala, Westbrook, Deron Williams, Odom and Gordon.
From now until the final roster is announced there is always the potential for injury, but excluding that, there are few obvious cuts. The most obvious has got to be Lamar Odom, who is in the middle of his worst season as a pro. I don’t even think Khloe would argue if he got cut. Speaking of injury, it would stand to reason that Eric Gordon wouldn’t make the final roster if his knee injury continues to bother him for an extended period.
Chauncey will most definitely get cut, because he’s like the Method Man of the NBA. Westbrook gets cut because they have enough scorers. Rudy Gay gets cut. Iguodala doesn’t make it because they already have guys who do what he does. Aldridge and Bosh are the same player essentially, if either makes it, it’s Bosh considering he was on 2008 team. Then it comes down to D-Will (also on ’08 squad) or Chandler
Whew- tough decisions abound for Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo.
The 2012 team could easily be the most talented team assembled since 1992. LeBron and I finally agree on something.