The United States unveiled it's twelve man roster for the upcoming Olympic games in China. The roster includes:
C/PF Dwight Howard
PF Chris Bosh
PF Carlos Boozer
SF Carmello Anthony
SF Lebron James
SF Tay Prince
SG Dwayne Wade
SG Michael Redd
SG Kobe Bryant
PG Chris Paul
PG Ason Kidd
PG Deron Williams
At first blush, you have to wonder why Kidd is on the team. I get that he's a glue guy that doesn't need attempts to stay happy, but my lord, surely there's a better pass first lead guard in the NBA. Hell, give me a defensive specialist like Battier or Bowen over this guy. It's a wasted spot if he doesn't play, and damn near criminal if he gets significant minutes over Paul and/or Williams.
I'm lukewarm on Anthony, because I think he's a guy with that anti-amateur mentality that has helped the States slip from atop the totem poll of international basketball. You can't argue with his skill set offensively. All we can ask is that he plays hard, doesn't pout, and decides to guard somebody every now and again.
As for the rest of the roster, I like what you've done here Mr. Colangelo and Coach K. Let's start with the less heralded guys like Bosh and Prince. Bosh gives the squad length and athleticism to bother face the basket bigs roaming the perimeter that dominate this style of competition. Prince is a defender extraordinaire that brings a versatile offensive game well suited for the spread 'em out international style. He's Jay Bilas' kind of long and should be able to really contest perimeter players.
Dwight Howard is your token big man who's athletic enough to play at an international pace. This isn't a place for classic back to the basket pivots. What Howard provides on the offensive glass will be worth his weight in gold. Defensively he'll have to be matched up properly or zoned to protect against perimeter oriented bigs, but Dwight has enough quickness to not be totally outclassed away from the basket.
Michael Redd is the hired gun from deep. But again, I like where Coach K's head is at, as length and perimeter defense is the magic bullet for winning this thing. Even the sharpshooter has a little of it. He's certainly no Del Curry.
Boozer is another big body that is still comfortable playing on the perimeter facing the basket.
And then you have the meat of the order...
Chris Paul, is absolutely perfect for this style competition. With the wider key, he should be able to get to the hole at will breaking defenses down.
Deron Williams, love his size at this position. His terrific shooting ability gives the squad options if they want to go small.
Lebron James. His skill set is undeniable and his motivation should be unquestioned coming off the embarrassing 2004 performance.
Wade. Ditto on motivation. If he's healthy he gives his team options offensively. Will he defend coming off the injury?
Kobe. Like him or not, he's the best basketball player in the world. Hell, he maybe the best defensive player in the world. If he can share the basketball, the team should be stout.
I would have loved to see Garnet on this squad over Anthony and especially Kidd.