The Next Dream Team: 2012 USA Basketball Men’s Olympic Team

Listen up Mr. Colangelo, I just did you a favor.

Thanks to the U.S. women’s soccer team (see Morgan, Alex), my level of national pride has crept its way into unchartered territories. We half-heartedly watched the USA vs. France game in the Dime office the other day, most of us only paying attention when the U.S. had the ball. Of course, I was guilty of this too being that I’ve never been much of soccer fan.

But something happened in the second half of that game, an “if-you-build-it-he-will-come” like moment. I found myself invested – my emotions tangled with the outcome of the game. I covertly scanned the office to see if anyone had noticed. Was it love at first sight (#13 entering the game) or was it the stage and the enormity of the game? All of a sudden, I’m sneaking in fist pumps under my desk. I’m yelling, “Kick it!” because I don’t know what else to say. I’m trying to control the flight of the ball with body jerks and hand gestures. WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME?!?! Had I officially turned into the bandwagon-soccer-Hulk?

This morning, I was sitting at my desk reminiscing my revelation from Wednesday. Inspired was the word I finally landed on. That was what happened to me. That was what took control (that or #13). The World Cup inspired me, and it also got me thinking – about something completely unrelated of course. The 2012 Olympic basketball team. With USA training camp less than a year away, I decided to do Mr. Colangelo a favor and pick the team for him.

You’re welcome, Jerry.

Chris Paul
Deron Williams
Derrick Rose

Chris Paul and Deron Williams are both “Redeem Team” alums, two of the NBA’s best point guards and two players essential to our team’s success in 2012. Because European basketball is such a guard-heavy-perimeter-oriented style of basketball, Paul and Williams become exponentially more valuable. Rose, the 2010-11 NBA Most Valuable Player, will provide this team will a scary blend of speed and athleticism, a combination that will make him a nightmare for countries with older and slower guards.
With Mike Krzyzewski notorious for his giving-the-keys-to-the-point-guards method of coaching, these three players will be endowed with a tremendous responsibility. Hopefully they took notes from Jason Kidd in 2008.

Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
Dwyane Wade
Carmelo Anthony
Kevin Durant

If the point guards are the “keys to the car,” these guys are the 600 horses under the hood. With 33 All-Star appearances, six scoring titles and three MVPs between them…good luck everybody. What’s terrifying about this group is their versatility. With their “Monstars-esque” combination of size, length and athleticism, this five could potentially all be on the floor at the same time – a “European Dream Team” of mismatch abundance. Whether or not that actually happens, and I’m praying it does just once, these five guys will provide not just scoring but experience, leadership and that I-am-NOT-going-to-let-us-lose-this-game type mentality that will make this team almost impossible to beat.

Amar’e Stoudemire
Chris Bosh
Andrew Bynum
Dwight Howard

This is where the U.S. separates itself (I couldn’t think of a comparable car part for this group). These four freaks provide the team with size and strength. Amar’e and Bosh, along with their size for the position, possess an unique ability to step out and knock down the 15-footer. This skill spreads the floor, opens up driving lanes and creates additional scoring opportunities. Howard and Bynum on the other hand, their the muscle, the Luca Brasi‘s of the team. Their job is to clean up the paint – to rebound, then throw the ball through the rim. Few European bigs will be able to match their size and strength at the center position.

So that’s my team. My own personal “Dream Team.” We’ll just leave it to the coaches to teach these guys how to play together.

Who do you think should be on the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s Olympic Team?

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