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2012 Olympic Basketball Team

Preliminary 20-Man Roster

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Team USA Wins Gold

Coach Mike Krzyzewski, fresh off Team USA's victory over Spain in the gold-medal game in Beijing, surrounded by Deron Williams, Jason Kidd, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Carlos Boozer.

Getty Images / Jed Jacobsohn
Updated January 16, 2012
Coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball have a tough assignment ahead of them: taking a list that features 19 of America's - and the world's - top basketball talents and cutting seven. But cut them must, because the final roster for the 2012 Men's Olympic Basketball team can include a maximum of 12 players.

Nineteen of the 20 names on this roster were reported by Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com on January 10. The complete roster, released by USA Basketball on January 16, is as follows:

Guards: Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams
Forwards: LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom
Centers: Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard

Surprises on - and off - the list

LaMarcus Aldridge's name is a bit of a surprise. Not that he isn't deserving - he's an excellent player, and the fact that he's able to play both power forward and center would make him a worthy addition to the team. But USA Basketball values continuity and long-term commitment to the program, and Aldridge opted not to participate in the 2010 FIBA World Championships at a time when Team USA was badly in need of some size.

I'm also surprised to see Billups and Odom listed. Both were key members of the team that brought home gold from the FIBA World Championships in 2010 - Billups as the sort of elder statesman and mentor and Odom as a do-everything "glue guy" who even logged minutes at center. But they're also on the wrong side of 30, and Team USA is very deep at their positions.

Rudy Gay's name wasn't on the initial list as reported by Chris Sheridan - and that's something that should have jumped out at me. With his size and ability to play out on the perimeter, Gay is a great fit for the international style of play - though he seems a long shot to make the final roster.

I'm disappointed not to see Stephen Curry's name. Curry played very well for Team USA in Turkey, and with his outside shooting ability is an ideal zone-breaker. I can only assume that he was ruled out due to ongoing ankle troubles.

The only other name I thought might make the initial cut is Amar'e Stoudemire. Stoudemire was eager to participate in 2010, but was unable to do so due to problems insuring his then-brand new contract with the Knicks.

Who makes the cut?

Let's start with the obvious additions. Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard. Barring injury, there's your top six. Kobe Bryant is another layup as long as he's healthy enough to participate, and as long as he's able to walk under his own power, he'll probably think he's good to go. That brings us to seven.

Derrick Rose was a bit of a disappointment in Turkey and may not be an ideal fit for the international game - but it seems outrageous to even consider leaving the 2010-11 MVP off the Dream Team. That leaves one more guard spot... and since Curry isn't available I'm giving it to Eric Gordon; I want a pure shooter on the bench.

Krzyzewski likes to bring at least one defensive stopper to these tournaments, which is why I believe Iguodala will make the final cut. Chris Bosh gives the forward rotation some much-needed size, which will be crucial against the Gasol brothers and Team Spain and all those young, athletic bigs on Team Brazil. But the international game doesn't usually favor traditional centers, so we'll bring Kevin Love and his zone-busting jump shot and let him (and Bosh) back up Howard.

My Olympic Roster:

Guards: Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade
Forwards: LeBron James, Kevin Durant
Center: Dwight Howard
Bench: Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love

I suspect those guys will arrive in London as the heavy favorites, no?

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