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Team USA Basketball 2010: The Green Team

July 20, 2010

The new face of Team USA, Kevin Durant

If the 2008 Team USA Olympic team was known as the “Redeem Team”, then its 2010 version should be known as the “Green Team”.  When training camp began yesterday in Las Vegas for the 2010 FIBA World Championships, noticeably absent were superstars Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.  In fact, there is not one returning player from the 2008 team.  This new squad will not be completely devoid of international experience for its first game in Istanbul, but it will certainly be a far cry from the 08 team led by Jason Kidd and his 56-0 record while wearing the Team USA jersey.  21 players will be trying out for the national team this week and after the jump I’ll take a look at who I think should be selected as the final 12. The final 12 do not have to be chosen until 48 hours before the first game, so this list could fluctuate based upon unforeseen circumstances.

Guards

Options:  Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Danny Granger and Andre Iguodala

  • The strength here for Team USA is that you have so many options that can play both guard positions.  Especially against the typically undersized international lineups.
  • You can pretty much immediately rule out Mayo and Gordon and while Westbrook and Evans are very nice players, it isn’t quite their time yet.
  • Granger and Iguodala give you flexibility, as they can play both SG and SF.
  • Stephen Curry shot 43.7% last season from 3-point range and the closer distance of the international game will only make him more lethal off the bench.  He’ll take over Michael Redd’s position as the Team USA sharpshooter.

Guard Selections (in no particular order):  Billups, Rondo, Rose, Curry, Granger and Iguodala

Forwards

Options:  Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom and Gerald Wallace

  • This is where we see the biggest drop off from 2008.  No more LeBron, Bosh, and Melo.
  • Kevin Durant is now the face of this team and he clearly will be the first player selected by Jerry Colangelo.  The team will be dependent on how well he can lead the team and help the coaching staff mesh all of the NBA personalities.
  • I have no clue why Jeff Green was even added to the roster unless it was to keep Durant happy… He is my first cut.
  • Lamar Odom is one of only two players on the roster who have played at this level of international competition, so he is a no-brainer.
  • Kevin Love is everyone’s favorite outlet passer, but he hasn’t even permanently cracked the Timberwolves roster.  This would normally be a huge red flag, but when you remember that the Timberwolves are one of the most inept NBA franchises, you figure out that they clearly aren’t using him properly.  Coach K won’t have that same problem.
  • Gerald Wallace had a breakout season last year and his defense will be very important against more physical teams.
  • The hardest decision here is Rudy Gay.  I like Rudy, but he is too similar to Granger and Iguodala and I think they both bring more to the table.

Forward Selections (in no particular order):  Durant, Odom, Love and Wallace

Centers

Options:  Tyson Chandler, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Amar’e Stoudemire

  • Tyson Chandler was almost equally splitting minutes with Nazr Mohammed and Theo Ratliff in the playoffs this year against Dwight Howard and the Magic.  Goodnight, thanks for playing.
  • The starter here has to be New York’s newest savior Amar’e Stoudemire.  His high flying style should excel in the FIBA game.
  • David Lee makes the team by default because he fills the backup C position better than anyone available.  His ability to knock down the mid-range jumper and grab rebounds are also key.
  • The Lopez brothers are big solid bodies, but the Redeem Team showed in 2008 you don’t need big players to succeed.  Their games simply don’t translate into the game that Team USA is most likely to play.

Center Selections (in no particular order): Stoudemire and Lee

*** UPDATE July 21st: Amar’e Stoudemire has been asked by the Knicks to not play due to issurance issues with his contract not being finalized yet.  Also, David Lee is out 4-6 weeks and is also most likely out for the Championships.  My new votes for starting Center? Demarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton.  I honestly don’t think it matters who you throw in… ***

Starting Lineup and Depth Chart:

Pos Name
PG Rondo Rose
SG Billups Granger Curry
SF Iguodala Wallace
PF Durant Odom Love
C Stoudemire Lee

This lineup would give other countries matchup nightmares and allows Kevin Durant to place himself into alpha-dog status.  The only issue that I foresee with the starting lineup is the lack of perimeter shooting.  However, with the international three-point line being closer, this is almost negligible.  This team will be able to run all day and should be looking to capitalize at any and all opportunities in transition.  Rondo and Rose could easily be flip-flopped at the PG position and I went with Rose off the bench to provide more scoring for the second unit.  Even with the Green Team suiting up in the Red, White and Blue, Team USA will still be heading into the FIBA World Championships as the favorites. However, it certainly won’t be the cakewalk that it was in 2008.  The senior teams in international competition are always significantly stronger and the Green Team will have their work cut out for them.  It will be very interesting to see how these young rising stars handle the international stage and to see who steps up to bring home the championship.

What do you think? Leave your comments below and let me know how you would set up the team.

Full 2010 Team USA Training Camp Roster

Name Pos Team
Chauncey Billups G Denver
Tyson Chandler C Dallas
Stephen Curry G Golden State
Kevin Durant F-G Oklahoma City
Tyreke Evans G Sacramento
Rudy Gay F Memphis
Eric Gordon G L.A. Clippers
Danny Granger F-G Indiana
Jeff Green F Oklahoma City
Andre Iguodala G-F Philadelphia
David Lee F-C Golden State
Brook Lopez C New Jersey
Robin Lopez C Phoenix
Kevin Love F-C Minnesota
O.J. Mayo G Memphis
Lamar Odom F L.A. Lakers
Rajon Rondo G Boston
Derrick Rose G Chicago
Amar’e Stoudemire F-C New York
Gerald Wallace F Charlotte
Russell Westbrook G Oklahoma City

Brian Serra is a contributing blogger at Howard the Dunk and the founder of MagicBasketballOnline.com.  You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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