If you have NBA TV, you’ve probably been watching “Real Training Camp” featuring Team USA. More than two dozen pros are on the roster trying out to make the cut for this summer’s World Championship squad, and obviously not everyone will be able to suit up in Turkey.
This is literally going to be an entirely different Team USA from the one you saw at the ’08 Olympics. None of the “Redeem Team” is playing this summer. I mean, Kevin Durant was left off the Olympic roster two years ago, and now he’s arguably our best player. So who’s in and who’s out? Here is my ideal Team USA:
PG – Rajon Rondo
Every time he steps on the court he just seems to get better and better. The only thing with Rondo is that he’s not a knock-down shooter. But I believe that he will fare just fine, especially with shooters like Stephen Curry, Rudy Gay and Kevin Durant taking off the pressure. Rondo will find them in open spots just like he does with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in Boston.
SG – Steph Curry
One of the best shooters in today’s game. He has a ridiculous basketball IQ. If he makes the team, he will play a ton of minutes.
SF – Rudy Gay
I like that Rudy is a legit 6-8 or 6-9 forward who can run and stretch the floor. He will do wonders in transition and if teams were to play zone against the U.S.
PF – Kevin Durant
The best overall player on the roster can do it all and them some. KD understands exactly what he needs to do, as he told reporters yesterday, “I can’t do the things I did for Oklahoma City here for the USA team. It’s out the door. I got to tone it down a bit, sacrifice a little bit more and be a leader.”
C – Brook Lopez
Lopez is perfect for the European-style game, as he’s not overly physical (which is usually the case for us) and relies more on his skills. Why is that good? The FIBA refs love floppers, which gets brutes like Dwight Howard and Carlos Boozer in foul trouble.
Derrick Rose — I could see Coach K using Rose the same way he used D-Wade in the Olympics. He’ll use a combination of craftiness and speed to wreak havoc on defenses.
Tyreke Evans — Did somebody say “‘Reke Havoc”? We know the big PG can get buckets, but how will he play against a zone? I think he’s talented enough to figure it out.
O.J. Mayo — The thing I love about Mr. Mayo is that, yes, he is a scorer, but he’s a jump shooter first and if a team were to play zone against Team USA, we’re going to need guys that can shoot the three.
Lamar Odom — You always need versatility and rebounding, and Odom brings both to this team. He’s also one of the few players at these tryouts with major international experience. Odom played on the ’04 Olympic team that took home a bronze medal from Athens.
Kevin Love — Great role player who isn’t afraid to do the dirty work for this team. While the U.S. has its strength in guards, someone still has to rebound and get them the rock. With David Lee suffering a finger injury on the first day of tryouts, Love makes perfect sense as a rebounding specialist.
Russell Westbrook — Love his mid-range game, plus he’s a shut-down defender who we could stick on a player like Ricky Rubio (Spain) and make him work that much harder.
JaVale McGee — Freak athlete who is making huge strides in his game. Could come in to replace Lopez or Love and allow USA to play more uptempo.
What does your 12-man roster look like?