The United States men’s national basketball team is considered the gold-medal favorite for the 2012 summer Olympic Games. The New York Times reports why: because the team has “great versatility” and “great athleticism” and is full of players who have faced international competition.
With the three last spots now filled, LeBron James, who was on the 2004 team that won a bronze medal, says “that’s not an accomplishment” and he has no plans to settle for third place again.
The Clippers’ Blake Griffin, the Thunder’s James Harden and the 76ers’ Andre Iguodala were added to the nine players who had already secured a spot. All three will play in their first Olympics.
The three players who were nominated but not selected to the roster were Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis, the top pick in this year’s N.B.A. draft.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to place the biggest emphasis on athleticism. Many of the players who already had a spot on the team, like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, can play guard or forward…
The only major concern for the team is its lack of size. Part of that is because of injuries to LaMarcus Aldridge (labral tear in hip), Chris Bosh (strained abdominal muscle) and Dwight Howard (herniated disk).
Kevin Love, one of the few players taller than 6 feet 8 inches, said he would play center instead of his usual power forward position.
Along with athleticism, the national team will be using younger players in London than in past Olympics; Durant, Griffin, Harden, Love and Russell Westbrook are 25 or younger.
“Our youth brings speed and aggression and we love that,” Bryant said