The U.S. Olympic Team has been announced. Here’s a breakdown of the roster, listing the guys by their NBA positions…..
PG: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook
SG: Kobe Bryant, James Harden
SF: Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala
PF: Kevin Love, Blake Griffin
C: Tyson Chandler
The starting lineup will not follow this script as the European/World game is a more fluid and versatile contest. While Coach K will have an adjustable lineup based on the matchups, the starting 5 most nights will be Tyson Chandler at center with 4 perimeter guys. Chris Paul at the point, Kobe Bryant at the SG, and Lebron at a forward.
At the Olympic Games in Beijing you may remember that Dwyane Wade assumed the 6th Man duties in order to allow Kobe, Lebron, and Melo to start. According to my records either Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant is going to have to take that reserve role this time around.
There is a slight chance that Kobe will alleviate the logjam of perimeter studs by offering to come off of the bench, but that isn’t happening.
While early rhetoric from Coach K is that Melo is a huge piece of the team that can play PF and even C in the “international” game, I think Durant with his length should start at the ’4′. I envision Carmelo being the 6th Man this summer.
Anthony can score a point a minute and give the team a scary punch off of the bench. He’ll make us completely forget that 2012 6th Man of the Year James Harden is even on the team (talk about taking advantage of the hype). This role for the Knicks star should be the next step on his journey to becoming a franchise player in the NBA, something he appears to be growing into slowly since leaving Denver.
I also like the ‘Durantula’ starting at the PF because that was a key to beating Pau Gasol and the Lakers back in May. With Spain again the main threat to Team USA, the Gasol brothers will have issues matching up with Kevin in transition and in the halfcourt. Pau, meanwhile, isn’t nearly aggressive enough to burn the U.S. on the block. Look for more jumpers and dubious passes from Pau this summer in the Gold Medal Game.
That being said, here’s my rotation for Team USA…..
starters: Paul, Bryant, James, Durant, Chandler.
bench (in order of playing time): Anthony, Love, Williams, Westbrook, Griffin, Iguodala, and Harden (…..hopefully Coach K watched the Finals too).
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