BY CHAD SMITH
The 2008 “Redeem Team” was one of the best. The 2010 FIBA “B Team” was also very impressive. Now the real question is, who will be part of the 2012 Olympic team?
Most of the guys on this team will be pretty obvious, as most of them will come from the 2008 squad. There will be some new additions though, a select few chosen from this year’s FIBA World Championship team.
Let’s take a look at the projected starting lineup for the 2012 team, and then get down to the serious business—the bench.
Obviously there will be some who disagree with these choices, but instead of just ripping me, tell me why you think player A is better deserving and a better fit than player B.
On the Bubble, but Will Still Make the Cut
The end of the bench players in the NBA are usually the guys that don’t get a ton of playing time, and usually just play the garbage minutes. This USA team is going to be so loaded with talent that these guys will still be called upon to play major minutes and are very capable of becoming game changers. These two guys will barely make the cut in my opinion.
While Rose wasn’t spectacular in the FIBA tournament, he is another guard that can find a spot in the rotation and with another couple of years in the NBA leading a great team like the Bulls, he might find himself making the roster.
The abundance of guards will likely force the team to look at getting a little more size. Iguodala is a beast, and he is one of the most athletic players in the world. He may not get the same minutes as the other guys, but he could provide some valuable backup minutes for the team.
The Bubbles that Will Be Busted
The list of guys that in my opinion will not make the 2012 USA Olympic roster:
Probably the hardest choice to not make it. Barely gave the edge to Derrick Rose, but he could easily find a place on the roster.
Just on the very outside looking in. Wouldn’t surprise me if he made the roster though.
If he improves his game over the next couple of years, I could see him on this team, but there are just so many guards you can put on this roster.
With his size and talent in the paint, it wouldn’t shock me to see him make the team. He will one of the best bench players for the 2010 FIBA team this summer.
Same situation as Eric Gordon, but he barely made the 2010 team, so I don’t expect him to quite make it in 2012.
If he improves his defense tremendously, he might have a chance, but I doubt he will be able to make the cut.
Chauncey Billups, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Lamar Odom, Michael Redd, Tayshaun Prince
I don’t see any of these guys still playing well enough in 2012, because most of them will be toward the end of their careers. Chandler just doesn’t have the talent to out-perform any of the current bigs.
Wild Card Options
Perhaps we will see some players that weren’t on the 2008 team or the 2010 squad. Some of these options look better than others, but who knows if these guys finally decide they want to try out. Not sure if any of these guys have a great chance of making the team, but let’s look at some potential options.
Brook/Robin Lopez, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bynum, Amar’e Stoudemire, Greg Oden, Josh Smith, Rajon Rondo, Joe Johnson, Brandon Roy, Gerald Wallace, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, Brandon Jennings.