Remember when Anthony Davis was the solution to Team USA’s shortage of big men? That was a fun couple of days.
Davis, the top pick in last week’s NBA draft suffered a sprained ankle in one of his first workouts with the Hornets and will most likely not be able to play for Team USA in London. The injury might have created an opportunity for Lamar Odom to make the team, even though he hasn’t played in a game since being cut loose by the Mavs back in March. Well, Odom’s not available either. He’s announced that he’ll spend the summer working out in Los Angeles before he attempts to resurrect his stalled career with the Clippers.
Add Davis and Odom to Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Chris Bosh on the ever-growing list of big men that won’t be playing for Team USA in the 2012 Olympics.
Right now Tyson Chandler is the only true center on Team USA’s preliminary Olympic roster that’s available for the Games. He’s likely to be backed up by Kevin Love – a natural power forward who has dabbled at the center position. The only other real big on the preliminary list is Blake Griffin, whose power game doesn’t seem terribly well-suited to international competition.
Will it matter? Maybe not. Team USA will be light-years better than any other team in the tournament in the backcourt (Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook) and on the wings (LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony), which should go a long way towards masking their lack of frontcourt depth. A potential medal-round matchup with Team Spain is a concern, as the Spanish national team will feature both Gasol brothers and Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka. But as several people have pointed out, Kevin Love may have trouble guarding Pau Gasol… but the Gasols will have a lot more trouble trying to defend LeBron.
If Mike Krzyzewski is really concerned about his team’s lack of size, he could potentially “call up” a player from USA Basketball’s “Select Team” – the squad of younger players that will scrimmage against the national team during their training camp. That roster features a number of promising big men including Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Orlando’s Ryan Anderson and Chicago’s Taj Gibson.
The Olympic roster will be announced on Saturday, July 7th, during a one-hour special airing on NBATV.