July 4, 2012
By Lia Crawford
There was no reason to fret after the NBA Finals commenced this year, as basketball fans wont have to wait for another season to see NBA players suit up. The 2012 Olympics is fast approaching and USA Basketball players are geared to play. Although NBA fans won’t have to wait to see basketball games, there are still some familiar and popular faces missing from the roster this summer in London.
During the season, the 12 top players picked to participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics seemed obvious. Due to the shortened season however, players were prone to injuries making this summer’s roster different than many predicted. Some of the stars expected to take part have been sidelined and will be watching from home this summer instead.
Nine players that won’t be watching the games from their couches are guards Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook; forwards LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love; and center Tyson Chandler. The last three spots however still remain empty, though the official start of training camp begins Friday in Las Vegas.
The US was already granted permission to include James Harden and Anthony Davis in the group of roster finalists after the deadline had passed for players to be added to the drug testing pool. Recent reports however say that with Davis’s sprained ankle he may top off the list of injured players unable to compete this summer.
Since early in the season, players on the 20-man preliminary roster such as Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have been forced to turn down their invitations due to a variety of injuries.
Though there hasn’t been definite word on Davis’s ankle injury, it is probable that he won’t be healthy to play in front of Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski on Thursday.
Davis along with Clippers players Blake Griffin and Lamar Odom were set to head to Las Vegas a day before training camp begins to try out and hopefully fill the voids left by the injuries of the big men unable to play. With Davis injured, Odom’s chance of making the team was raised. However he has announced that he has withdrawn as well to spend the summer with the Los Angeles Clippers looking to make a comeback in the NBA after being cut from the Dallas Mavericks in March.
The only issue for the Americans in the incomplete roster is size, with Tyson Chandler being the only true center on the team. Nevertheless, Kevin Love could take over as a center and players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony can move to the power forward position if necessary.
Regardless of who fills the remaining three spots, the healthy NBA players will be starting their first practice come Friday. The full roster will be announced on Saturday, July 7th during a program on NBA TV.
The roster is not yet set in stone, but Team USA still has some stars to keep fans confident. Though this year’s list of players is no Dream Team, the NBA stars are still expected to keep Team USA on top against the other teams participating. Their lack of depth in the frontcourt will easily be counteracted with the unmatchable talent in the backcourt.
Regardless of who are the final 12 players sitting on the bench in London this summer, fans can be sure that they will get a show. The injury setbacks of Team USA won’t stop the stars from shining.