USA Basketball: Nothing But Gold

LAS VEGAS – Chris Paul‘s gold medal from Beijing will be making the rounds during training camp and the run-up to London for the Olympics.

It’s a calculated move designed to motivate Paul more than anyone else. Since 10 of the 12 players on the roster already own gold medals of their own, from either Beijing or the 2010 World Championship in Turkey, there isn’t much need for any contrived motivational ploys from Paul or anyone else.

When asked how Olympic gold would compare to winning a NBA title, Paul was quick to remind us all that he has no basis for making such a comparison.

“I have mine to take on the trip with me just to remember it by,” Paul said. “There’s a lot of guys that can say they won a NBA championship but there are very few guys who can say they’ve ever won a gold medal.”

Paul wisely changed lanes when one reporter suggested he declare the U.S unbeatable in London, but he and all of the other players on the roster made it clear that this is a gold medal mission in every sense.

“You don’t go into this process thinking about anything else,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

LEADER OF THE PACK

While LeBron James and Kevin Durant come into this process as the two most decorated players on the roster, based on their most recent performances during the NBA season, Kobe Bryant remains this team’s elder statesman and clear leader in so many ways.

After the formal news conference announcing the team, the players retreated to an adjacent ballroom where they were seated at 12 different tables and interviewed by hundreds of reporters.

Bryant’s time in that setting was shorter than anyone else’s, he politely answered questions and then headed for the door. As he stood up, Russell Westbrook, whose station as next to Bryant’s, looked over and playfully asked why the Los Angeles Lakers star was allowed to exit before anyone else.

“You get that with 17 years in the game,”  a smiling Bryant said as he cut through the door on his way out.

“I guess he is the OG on this team,” Westbrook mused. “You gotta respect that.”

With so many experienced players on the roster, Bryant probably won’t have to conduct daily lessons on the dos and don’ts of preparation for the Olympics.

But the competitive edge of this group will no doubt come from the man widely considered to be the most competitive player of his generation and one of the most relentless competitors the league has seen.

NOT DONE YET?

Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay and Anthony Davis didn’t make the cut for the 12-man roster but that doesn’t mean they are free from responsibility where this team is concerned.

If there injuries to any of the players on the roster they would serve as alternates and would replace an injured player up to the final 48 hours before the U.S. tips off in London, July 29 against France.

With the recent spate of injuries that has plagued this group, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo was very specific in his praise for the players who put themselves through the process and their abilities.

“If someone had projected the 12 names six or nine months ago it might have had a different look,” he said. “It’s a very versatile team that’s much more mature than they were in ’08. We think we’re deeper, we think we’re better.”

COLANGELO: COUSINS HAS TO GROW UP!

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is a young player who has the game and body type the U.S. won’t have at their disposal in London.

But the possibility that he would be included on the list of players as a possible injury replacement to the roster when Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh were forced to pull out of the mix due to injuries, didn’t seem likely after listening to Colangelo’s impression of Cousins. Cousins is not currently a part of the program, not even on the Select Team.

“He needs to mature as a person (and) as a player if he’s going to have an outstanding NBA career,” Colangelo said Saturday. “Before there’s discussion about him being part of our program, he has a lot of building to do. … He has a lot of growing up to do.

CHAMP TO CHAMP!

The hottest ticket in town?

It didn’t have anything to do with USA Basketball after the sun went down here Saturday night.

That honor would belong to UFC 148, held at the MGM Grand and attended by James, who sat near the octagon as MMA living legend Anderson Silva topped Chael Sonnen with a second round TKO in a much-anticipated rematch before a sellout crowd.

James tweeted “Congrats from one champ to another” after the fight and even went backstage and posed for a picture with the Brazilian superstar.

THIRD TIME THE CHARM

James and Carmelo Anthony have the unique perspective of playing on their third Olympic team, giving them a better appreciation than some others for how meticulous you have to be in putting together a team that can handle its business during the competition.

It takes just the right blend of experience, youth, athleticism, drive and sacrifice. It’s something the star-studded U.S. team has had in surplus since Colangelo took over the responsibility of the program.

“The first team in ’04, we were put together really fast. The pieces didn’t fit right and it showed in our play,” James said. “In ’08, it was ‘The Redeem Team,’ and guys had committed to the Olympics for a long time. That’s why we were able to win that gold because we were all about that chemistry. It’s going to take some practices, it’s going to take some exhibition games, [but] we have a lot of guys in our prime and we have a lot of young guys and hungry guys who are always looking forward to a challenge.”

41 Comments

  1. box says:

    Hello Pat,See what blurry vision does for you? I am so sorry for misken your guest blogger for you!Hope you are felling better!

  2. Hoopin101 says:

    This team has 2 of the best SCORERS in the world in KD & Kobe, the BEST player in the world KING James, and the perfect floor general in CP3….there’s not a bone in my body that would go against the USA winning the gold.

  3. jace balboa says:

    this selection of the team USA is untouchable…NOTHING BUT GOLD…

  4. country_kid says:

    The USA team, their ego’s are bigger then their paychecks I dont think they will win the gold that easily….there are a lot of great teams in the olympics this year

  5. Gutierrez says:

    What do you think about this squad?
    1. Chris Paul
    2. Dwayne Wade
    3. Lebron James
    4. Carmelo Anthony
    5. Dwight Howard
    Bench: Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh
    OK, these are the guys that lost in 2006 in semifinals against Greece, then led by Spanoulis and Papaloukas. Have you ever heard of them? I think that the first played only one year in the NBA.

    My point: overconfidence lead to failure. USA is the favourite, they should and probably they will win the gold medal, but they also may lose if they don´t play as a team and with intensity. That was the problem in FIBA WC 2002, Olympics 2004 and FIBA WC 2006.

    LeBron James probably knows, he was there on 2004 and 2006. In 2004 the US Basketball team refused to stay in the olympic village with the rest of the athetes and they stayed in a luxury cruise instead. They regarded themselves as stars above anyone else and… they lose. I believe he is far more mature now and will lead the team, although he has never been played as a superstar under FIBA rules, unlike KD, who has already proved himself as a superstar on the FIBA WC in 2010.

    By the way Spain is not as strong as in 2008, Ricky Rubio is out and Rudy Fernandez and Juan Carlos Navarro have been recently injured. So Brazil and France can be the challengers this time.

    • Higiniete says:

      Spain is not as strong as in 2008…

      YOU ARE SURE!!!

      Ricky Rubio is out and Rudy Fernandez and Juan Carlos Navarro have been recently injured. But this year we have a more formed MARC GASOL (all star this year), SERGE IBAKA (NBA finales this year and block leader), SERGIO RODRIGUEZ and SERGIO LLULL in great form (ex and future NBA player), VICTOR CLAVER (the next season in Porland)…

      I don’t know if this team is better than the 2008, but is a great team accustomed to play together, with FIBA rules…
      You should not underestimate!!!

      Bye.

  6. WadeKobe Fan says:

    Rondo should have been easily there.

  7. lemon says:

    dwade and bosh is both injured so they’re not in the team USA roster. same with drose he’s been injured in the first round of the playoffs against philly so the bulls didn’t manage to advance in the 2nd round.

  8. syncshock2002 says:

    YEP, they’re really good, but it wont be a walk in the park. Unlike dream team 1 theres no more awe in the eyes of the other teams because of exposure to NBA basketaball of their national players. Russia, Spain, Argentina and Lithuania will make the Americans work for the gold. Its up to the PGs to control the tempo of the game and keep the others on the same page. The Americans should run and gun with the athleticism that they have. If the other teams are able to set up their halfcourt defense it would be more difficult for them to score. I still think the americans will take the bacon but it would be fun to watch them sweat a bit. LAKERS next CHAMPS

    • nbafan says:

      the awe of the dream team was possible because it was before the 9/11 era… It was a time where mainstream media were un-opposed by information provided by the internet. Now everybody knows about american military crimes (wikileaks, infowars.com etc etc). How can anybody be in awe of a criminal? Not possible, the whole world wants to see America fail here because of their international reputation of being terrorists guised behind the star spangled banner.

      viva le revolution!

  9. elliott03 says:

    Check it out for the latest news, views and reviews from three Aussies!

    http://nbaausstyle.wordpress.com/

  10. RadeLaker says:

    Pff… Kobe – ONE MAN ARMY, can win alone…

  11. down south g says:

    where the hell is dwade…he is the main person…

  12. down south g says:

    chris bosh deserved to be on the roster…kevin garnet…they need mo bigs to stop dem 7’0 mf

  13. The King says:

    Where the hell is D-Wade? !

    • magic says:

      seriously? youre considering dirk for usa team? he’s not even american, he’s german.. wtf! germany team maybe but not usa

  14. Go Mavs says:

    Where’s ROSE!?

  15. Go Mavs says:

    Where’s DIRK!?

  16. Go Mavs says:

    Where’s RONDO!

  17. The King says:

    D-Rose missing

  18. Go Mavs says:

    Ha! No one will even touch this US team! Start lighting the fireworks now!

  19. Willy says:

    Can the US beat the rest of the world with a street game run and run? Be careful!

    • QuestionMark says:

      The US team has a legend (Kobe), the two best players in the league (Durant and Lebron), three of the top 5 PGs in the league (CP, D-Will and Westbrook) and the DPOY (Chandler), they will be fine.

  20. blub says:

    lakers trade nash for howard!

    • Doctor LA says:

      That is rubbish. The Lakers do not have a need to trade Nash for Howard. Lakers desperately need an elite PG more than anything else. They already have a good centre in Bynum. It is true that Lakers are vying for Howard but I it not going to come at the cost of Nash.

  21. The US coach should have considered best playoffs teams 2012. Therefore this should have been the roster;

    Miami Heat; Lebron, Bosh, Wade
    Okc; Durant, Harden, Westbrook,
    Celtics; Allen, Garnett, Rondo
    Spurs; Duncan, Leonard, Jackson
    Lakers; Kobe, Bynum, Artest
    Pacers; West.
    Sixers; Iguadola, Elton Brant period.

    • PC says:

      Leonard and Jackson over Ginoboli and Parker? What…
      West over Granger? What…

      You theory is interesting…

      • ?? says:

        You can’t put Ginobili and Parker on the US team.

      • Dtrain says:

        OMG…you guys are SO OOO IGNORANT about basket ball, you are soooo ignorant that you dont even know who is a US resident/citizen or who belongs to and plays for a foreign country…and Duncan, R U kidding me???? really??? daum!!!

  22. What about the coach?

    Phill Jackson US TEAM?
    Larry Brown US team coach?
    Bill Russel US coach team?

    Think for a while about it.

    • wadefan says:

      they have an hall of fame coach already.. one of the best collegiate coaches ever.. and the college game translates to the international game better than the nba style of play.. so it makes sense having coach k..

      and how in the world can you say that chalmers or battier deserve a spot on the team.. there is something seriously wrong with you.. and haslem.. really??? wtf???

  23. Versatile team; true

    Im not exciting heat fan but you could put Chalmers in the roster and Battier too.
    Maybe Bynum from L.a. could have been a chance. Haslem as well.

    If you go to flasback the Olympic Barcelona 92´ played transition game. That should be the same clue to this team.
    Do you know who is missing in this team?

    Kevin Garnett.

    Bye.
    Have a good summer vacations.