By: Christopher O’Brien
Here’s the most up to date list of the USA Oh-Babay basketball team roster:
If you can’t see the image above very well, take a look here.
How in the world do you narrow this down? So much talent to choose from.
With the exception of Lamar Odom, who I’m not really sure how he got on this list in the first place, each cut from here on out is a major challenge.
Here is how I would construct the 12 man roster.
*Note: I’m assuming Dwyane Wade is going to miss the Oh-Babay due to surgery.
1. LeBron James – Easiest selection by far. In the international game, LeBron can play all five positions.
2. Chris Paul – Team needs a point guard, Chris Paul is the best in basketball.
3. Kevin Durant – Durant carried the USA team on his back in the 2010 FIBA World Cup. Not sure if it’s called World Cup yet, but I’m sticking with it.
I can’t wait to see LeBron and Durant play together. It’s like the Miami Heat, but with Durant playing the role of Mike Miller. Good luck defending against this.
4. Kobe Bryant – This will be his last run at another Olympic gold medal. The team needs him especially with Wade’s injury. Plus, I’d love to see Coach K put Kobe against LeBron’s team in practice and recreate the ’92 MJ vs. Magic alpha dog battle.
5. Carmelo Anthony – In the international game, Carmelo Anthony has actually had the most success offensively of any player on this list. His mix of size, strength, and shooting ability has made him the team’s leading scorer in the past.
Could Coach K use this as his starting five? Possibly, but against some of the bigger teams he’ll need to utilize a true defensive minded center, which brings me to:
6. Tyson Chandler – He’s not Dwight Howard, but NBA Defensive Player of the Year Chandler will be crucial when battling the Gasol brothers of Spain.
7. Chris Bosh – Good guy to have on the court hitting midrange jumpers. Bosh’s more finesse style bodes well for the international game and he’ll need to put the same effort into rebounding that he did in the NBA Finals to help fill in the potential rebounding weakness of this team.
8. Deron Williams – I like Rajon Rondo better, but he’s not on the list. I’m assuming too much bad blood between him and the Heat guys. I could see Rondo never giving the ball to LeBron. With Deron Williams you have a solid backup for Chris Paul.
9. Russell Westbrook – Versatile pick. He can play a little point guard, but will often come in as the backup shooting guard to Kobe Bryant. His speed and effort will provide a huge boost off the bench.
10. Kevin Love – Can step out and hit the three and rebounds like crazy. Better value with Love than going with Blake Griffin.
11. Anthony Davis – Not a bad year for the Unibrow. Kentucky National Championship, No. 1 draft pick, and now the potential to win a gold medal. Once again, not Dwight Howard, but the combination of Chandler and Davis should give USA all the shot blocking power they need down low.
12. Blake Griffin – Imagine the dunking potential of Griffin going up against some of the lesser international squads in the first few games. Way too many Youtube moments and poster opportunities to pass this up.
Who I cut:
James Harden – This is hard because my roster only has one true shooting guard in Kobe Bryant. I think they can recover from this with Westbrook or maybe playing Chris Paul and Deron Williams at the same time. If necessary, they can always have Kevin Durant, LeBron James, or Carmelo Anthony slide over to the shooting guard.
The biggest concern for this team will be the Spanish frontline of Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, and Serge Ibaka (not sure how he ended up in Spain). It will be more important to have depth with the bigs (Griffin, Love, Bosh, Davis, and Chandler) than bringing in Harden.
Eric Gordon – Health concerns.
Andre Iguodala – Just too much depth at the small forward position. His defense was crucial for the 2010 FIBA team, but hard to steal minutes in 2012 from LeBron/Durant/Carmelo. If Carmelo were to opt out, Iguodala would be my first choice to fill the spot.
Rudy Gay – Same reasoning as Iguodala, too much ahead of him at the position.
An even harder decision. I’ll go with this look: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Tyson Chandler.
Off the bench I bring in Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams and Kevin Love as my main three reserves.
After that, depending on certain matchups, then I can utilize Chris Bosh and Russell Westbrook.
Expect Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis to be the 11th and 12th men on this team.
Let me know what your lineup looks like and go USA!