Today, the USA Olympic Committee announced a 12 man squad to take to the London Olympics. The squad includes five of the 2008 ‘dream team’ squad, with those players being: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. It also includes national team newcomers Blake Griffin and James Harden. This is the full squad.
- Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) 13
The starting point guard for this team, the Clippers #1 has been in terrific form so far throughout this season, Paul averaged 19.8 points, shooting at 48% from the field and 37% from the paint. This is phenomenal for a point guard, and he still has a great passing game to assist his teammates! The four-time NBA All-Star will undoubtedly make an impact in London.
- Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) 7
Westbrook was in fine form again for the Thunder, and played a vital part in getting his team to the Playoffs and the Finals. Throughout the regular season, Westbrook averaged an outstanding 23.6 points per game, whilst averaging 46% from the field! In the 2010 FIBA World Championships, the Oklahoma #1 averaged the third most points per game on the team, despite often starting on the bench.
- Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets) 8
Williams was a one man show for the Nets in 2012, averaging 17.6 points and 9.2 assists in a struggling team! Williams will be the USA’s third preference point guard though, and is unlikely to have such an impact at the Olympics. Williams will be a great player coming off the bench for the Americans, and may even be second preference in coach Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) eyes, which would mean more game time and possibly even a starting birth against some of the lower ranked nations.
- Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) 10
Kobe was a shoo-in for this squad, and will definitely be starting point guard. Possibly the best player even behind Michael Jordan, Kobe is still performing wonderfully, despite being 34 in August. He averaged 27.9 points per game in the 2011-12 season, and showed no signs of slowing down! The 10 time All-Star will be a star once again for Team USA, and will possibly bring home the Gold Medal yet again.
- James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder) 12
Harden was not an automatic selection in this team, as he has to battle it out with Eric Gordon for the position of second shooting guard. Harden had a breakout year in 2012, and was named sixth-man of the year in the NBA. Despite only starting in two games, Harden still managed to average 16.8 points per game! An outstanding effort for a man who starts on the sidelines! He is an outstanding shooter, and shot at 44% from the field and 39% from the paint. He can handle pressure, as proven in the Playoffs, where he improved to average 41% from three point range! Expect a big Olympics from this man.
- Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) 5
Durant was the leading point scorer in 2011-12, scoring 28 points per game, and 1850 overall! Durant was also dominant in rebounds, averaging 8.1 per game! Durant had a brilliant season in 2012, and is expected to be a star player in London. The partnership of Durant and LeBron James will be crucial in deciding whether the American’s take home gold.
- Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Carmelo had a poor season by his lofty standards, scoring 4 less points per game than in 2010-11. Despite this, the 5 time All-Star will still have a great Olympics, despite coming off the bench, behind Kevin Durant. For Team USA, Anthony has been great throughout his career, averaging 11.5 points off the bench in the 2008 Olympics. Don’t expect anything to change this time around, as Carmelo will be willing to make up for a poor NBA season with an excellent Olympics.
- Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers) 9
The Sixers captain had another great year in 2012, and it was rewarded with a place in the East All-Star team. He is a great defender, but need to improve his offence, scoring just 12.1 points per game, with 5.5 assists. Iguodala is a good rebounder, averaging 6.1 rebounds per game in 2012. I feel that Iguodala was lucky to make this team, and if Anthony Davis was fit, he may not have been picked. Nonetheless, I think he will have a great time in London as an impact player off the bench.
- LeBron James (Miami Heat) 6
Probably the best player in the game right now, the Miami Heat star was voted MVP in 2012, his third MVP. In the playoffs, LeBron stepped up and truly showed his class, he averaged 30.3 points a game, whilst winning his first championship and taking NBA Finals MVP. The Heat’s small forward will likely be the starting #4 for Team USA, with Kevin Durant starting at #3. James is one of the best players offensively and defensively, a true great of the game. If the USA win gold, it will largely be credited to this man.
- Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves) 11
The Timberwolves franchise player had a brilliant 2012 season, averaging 26 points and 13.3 rebounds! During the 2010 FIBA World Championships, Love shot 57.1% from the field and 77.8% from the free throw line. A versatile player, Love is capable of playing Center as well as Power Forward. If Coach K decides to play LeBron at 3, this man may just be the starting Power Forward in London.
- Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers) 14
The Clippers marquee man had another brilliant season in 2011, averaging 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. The number 1 draft pick in 2009 was an All-Star in both of his first two seasons, and has now been selected in an extremely strong Olympic squad. Also able to play center, Griffin will likely be used as an impact player off the bench in London. A star of the future for team USA.
- Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks) 4
The Reigning Defensive Player of the Year had a brilliant first season with Knicks in 2011-12, shooting a career best 68% from the field! Amazing considering he plays center! Obviously a great defender, Chandler is very underrated. Will be the starting center for the Americans in London, and is the only specialist center picked, expect Chandler to be one of the standouts these Olympics.
The American team is obviously very strong, if a little undersized, but should have no problems winning Gold in London. If KD and LeBron can form a great partnership, this team will be nearly unstoppable. I predict that they will win gold over Spain in the final. I predict the starting line-up will be:
PG Chris Paul
SG Kobe Bryant
SF Kevin Durant
PF LeBron James
C Tyson Chandler
Yours in Basketball,