Injuries will sideline several of the players expected to compete in London, including Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard. But even without those stars, Mike Krzyzewski will have a wealth of talent at his disposal.
The one criticism many have raised about the team is that it lacks size. New York Knick Tyson Chandler - the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year - is the only true center on the final 12-man roster. But traditional back-to-the-basket big men tend not to fare enormously well in international competition, due in part to the prevalence of zone defenses and the trapezoid-shaped lane that forces them to set up farther from the basket. At the 2012 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, Team USA used a number of players at the center spot, including small forward Lamar Odom.
Size may be a factor against potential medal-round opponent Spain, a team that will feature three excellent NBA big men: Pau Gasol of the Lakers, his brother Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, and Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka. But there's a flip-side to that argument... while the Americans might have trouble matching up with the Spanish frontcourt size, Team Spain will have just as much trouble defending mobile forwards like James, Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
As usual, Team USA will have a scandalously-talented backcourt, with Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook at the point and Kobe Bryant and James Harden as shooting guards. Mike Krzyzewski will have the liberty of using those five players, as well as defensive specialist Andre Iguodala, in a variety of combinations; Williams and Westbrook are more than capable of sliding over to the two, Harden is adept at running an offense like a second point, and Bryant and Iguodala can be small forwards in smaller lineups.
Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay and New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon are Team USA's alternates. They will train with the squad and be ready to step in in the event of an injury. Soon-to-be rookie Anthony Davis - the top overall pick in this year's NBA Draft - was a late addition to the team when Blake Griffin suffered a knee injury during training camp.
|Player||Position||NBA Team||Age||2011-12 NBA Stats||Notes|
|Kobe Bryant||G||Los Angeles Lakers||33||27.9||5.4||4.6||Elder statesman of this team, but don't call him "old." Plays with tremendous intensity and commitment to winning, which seemed to rub off on some of his younger counterparts at the 2008 Beijing games.|
|James Harden||G||Oklahoma City Thunder||22||16.8||4.1||3.7||Sixth man of the year is accustomed to coming off the bench. Can serve as a complementary scorer or help initiate the offense. Looking to rebound from a sub-par performance in the NBA Finals.|
|Chris Paul||G||Los Angeles Clippers||27||19.8||3.5||9.1||Possibly the best all-around player in the world not named "LeBron," Paul will likely start at the point guard spot in London.|
|Russell Westbrook||G||Oklahoma City Thunder||23||26.6||4.6||5.5||Was on the floor for many of Team USA's most impressive runs during the 2010 FIBA World Championships. Could see time playing off the ball alongside Paul or Williams.|
|Deron Williams||G||Brooklyn Nets||28||21||3.3||8.7||Probably behind Paul on the depth chart at point guard, but more than capable of sliding over to the two when needed.|
|Carmelo Anthony||F||New York Knicks||28||22.6||6.3||3.6||Despite his faults, Anthony may be the ideal power forward for the international style of play.|
|Kevin Durant||F||Oklahoma City Thunder||23||28||8||3.5||Dominated the competition as Team USA's primary scorer at the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey.|
|Anthony Davis||F/C||New Orleans Hornets||19||n/a||n/a||n/a||Davis will be the first to appear in the Olympics before appearing in an NBA game since Christian Laettner back in 1992. Provides much-needed size and interior defensive presence behind Chandler, and could be a force when Team USA goes to a zone defense.|
|Andre Iguodala||G/F||Philadelphia 76ers||28||12.1||6.4||5.5||Team USA's designated defensive stopper. Coach Mike Krzyzewski will use Iguodala to shadow the opposition's top perimeter scoring threat.|
|LeBron James||F||Miami Heat||27||27.1||7.9||6.2||Stellar performance in the NBA Finals removed the only remaining negative on LeBron's baskeball resume. Scary thought: what if, relieved of the pressure to win a ring, he starts playing even better?|
|Kevin Love||F/C||Minnesota Timberwolves||23||26||13.3||2||Should play a very significant role in London, given his ability to play the center position and shoot threes over zone defenses.|
|Tyson Chandler||C||New York Knicks||29||11.3||9.9||0.9||The only true center on Team USA's roster and one of the world's best frontcourt defenders. Might not be needed against most teams, but will be crucial against Spain.|