July 11, 2012
By Lia Crawford
The final roster for the Team USA basketball team has been set. The team of 12 men representing the US in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is finalized and the players are ready to play.
USA chairman, Jerry Colangelo, reported the nine players who were already set a week ago: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler. The final three spots were still up in the air until the announcement last Saturday night.
The last three spots on the roster were given to James Harden, Andre Iguodala, and Blake Griffin who beat out Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis. The latter three will serve as alternates for Team USA as needed.
Iguodala and Griffin complete the list of forwards on this summer’s roster. Griffin proved that his knee injury from this year’s playoffs wouldn’t hold him back when he showed his incredible dunking skills after practice on Saturday. Iguodala has previously shown that he can break down an offense and shut down opponents in a game.
Though Harden did not play on either of the USA’s last two teams, the Sixth Man of the Year can come off of the bench as a scoring threat. Harden’s participation rounds out the three Oklahoma City Thunder players, making OKC the first ever NBA team to have three players on Team USA.
Another OKC teammate however, will not be suiting up in red, white and blue but instead in Spain’s uniform. Serge Ibaka feels as though Spain has the ability to hang with the big dogs of the US.
Ibaka recently commented to ESPN that Spain’s team has the talent to match up with Team USA. He talked to reporters about the 2008 final game where Team USA received the gold medal while Spain went home with silver after the Americans pulled away in the final minutes and beat Spain 118-107.
“They are just like us, they also have players with a lot of talent,” Ibaka said, “They are a different team to 2008, but their players are still very good.”
Although many American basketball fans were not happy with Ibaka’s comments, as his followers displayed on twitter, his statements do have truth to them. While Team USA was known to demolish their opponents by almost 30 points per game, Spain was the only team to even come close to beating them in 2008.
Most of Spain’s 2008 squad is returning, including Rudy Fernandez and the Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc. Point guard Ricky Rubio will not be returning, however, due to his injury during the season. James, Bryant, Anthony, Williams and Paul were all players on the 2008 gold medalist team. They don’t seem too worried about Spain or any upcoming games because they know how much their game has changed and improved over the last four years.
Through the injuries, this team can still be expected to dominate this year’s Olympics. Even without superstars such as Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard, the final roster is stacked with stars that will make them hard to beat.
Even though the team is not made up of the exact 2008 gold medal-winning roster, if they can once again top Spain then Team USA is still set to hopefully bring back another gold medal to USA soil.