Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:57 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:01 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
A recent report indicated that USA Basketball is set to announce its preliminary roster for the 2012 London Olympics. The roster reportedly will include members of the 2008 Beijing Olympics team and the 2010 Turkey World Championships team.
Initially, the report indicated that the preliminary roster would be made up of 18 players, however SheridanHoops.com reports that the roster is now 19 players deep with the addition of Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Here's how the reported roster shakes out by position.
Point Guards: Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams
Shooting Guards: Kobe Bryant, Eric Gordon, Dwyane Wade
Small Forwards: Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Lamar Odom
Power Forwards: LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love
Centers: Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard
A few interesting things to note from this roster.
First, veteran point guard Billups is included rather than the younger and more talented Rajon Rondo, who withdrew from the 2010 team after it became clear he was going to be left off of the final roster. Billups is 35 and figures to be one of the seven players cut from what will be the final 12-man roster. What does Rondo's exclusion mean for his Team USA future?
Second, positional versatility and two-way play was clearly valued in this selection process. The inclusion of both Iguodala and Odom over Rudy Gay is a mild surprise but both players complement the likes of James, Durant and Anthony a bit better. Both will also have a tough time squeezing into the final 12. The only way Iguodala gets there is if someone else is injured; Odom, a standout for the 2010 team, could be one of the toughest cuts.
Third, the reported addition of Aldridge creates an intriguing frontcourt logjam, akin to the dilemma that faces Western Conference All-Star team voters. Aldridge, Griffin, Love, Odom and Chandler figure to be in competition for the final two roster spots, with the top-10 seemingly secure. Griffin would seem to be the odds-on favorite for one of those two spots given his combination of on-court skills and immense international marketing potential. If so, the battle for the final spot between the other four talented big men will be heated.
Aldridge can swing between the four and five better than any of the other candidates, but he also has the least Team USA experience, having backed out on the 2010 World Championships team. Aldridge's coach with the Blazers, Nate McMillan, happens to be a Team USA assistant, so that could help.
Love is the best rebounder of the group but his athleticism, even though it's much improved, is not on the same level as the rest of Team USA. Chandler boasts a championship pedigree with the Dallas Mavericks and is the pure defender and long, active big men that could be the centerpiece of an aggressive defensive unit. Odom's versatility and perimeter game creates mismatch opportunities but the wings are likely too crowded on this team to properly utilize his capabilities.
Spain, the reigning European champs, bring both Pau and Marc Gasol to the table. Howard plus any of Team USA's starting power forwards should still have an interior advantage, but choosing the reserve big men will be critical in the event of foul trouble.
Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:38 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 7:10 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Two of the Miami Heat's Big 3 have been sidelined with minor injuries this week, but both are expected back in the lineup for a Saturday night game against the New Jersey Nets.
The Palm Beach Post reports that All-Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are both listed as gametime decisions on Saturday but indications are that both will play.
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, after Saturday’s shootaround at the Prudential Center, both declared that they were game-time decisions... It sure sounded, however, like their minds are already made up.Update: The Sun-Sentinel reports later Saturday afternoon that James will play but that Wade is not listed in the starting line-up. Just before tip, the Heat confirm that Wade will not play and remains day-to-day.
Wade has been dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of games against the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks this week. James rolled his ankle against the Pacers and sat out the Hawks game.
Miami won both games and sits atop the Southeast Division at 7-1 on the season. The Nets are 2-6 and in the Atlantic Division's basement.
Posted on: January 7, 2012 1:54 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:33 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
With the 2012 London Olympics just seven months away, Team USA is reportedly heading for its first round of roster cuts.
ESPN.com reports that USA Basketball Director Jerry Colangelo will announce a roster of 18 "candidates" to make the 2012 team in less than two weeks.
"We have so much talent right now, the pool is extraordinary," Colangelo said.The site reports that the only player not on either the 2008 Beijing Olympics team or the 2010 Turkey World Championships team who is under consideration is Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Given his starpower, Griffin seems a lock, leaving 17 spots in the pool.
Eight of those are expected to go to 2008 Beijing Gold Medal-winning players: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams. All seem solid locks.
That least nine spots for members of the 2010 World Championship team. Six players who would seem to be locks from that roster: Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
That leaves three final spots in the 18-man pool contenders for the rest: Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Brook Lopez, Lamar Odom and Rajon Rondo.
The toughest decision at this stage will likely come in choosing a third true center in Lopez or another talented perimeter player in Granger, Iguodala or Odom. USA Basketball has been built on versatility and athleticism in the recent past but its wings are crowded with an embarrassment of riches. Love and/or Griffin could swing up from power forward to center, though, which could free up a spot for another wing in the 18-man group.
Another question is Rondo. He withdrew from selection from the 2010 team after it became clear he wasn't going to make the cut. Given the big names in front of him (Paul, Rose, Williams and likely Westbrook), what happens here? Paul and Williams both have recent injury concerns and Rondo's talent level is such that leaving him off this early would seem a risk not worth taking.
No matter how you slice it and regardless of who is left on the outside looking in, this team is stacked. Looking ahead, assuming full health from all involved, an 18-player pool and a final 12-man roster could look something like this. Cuts designated in parentheses.
PG: Paul, Rose, Williams, (Westbrook), (Rondo)
SG: Bryant, Wade, (Gordon)
SF: James, Durant, Anthony, (Gay)
PF: Bosh, Griffin, (Love)
C: Howard, Chandler, (Lopez)
Posted on: January 5, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 7:54 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Update: The Heat have announced both Wade and James are both out against the Hawks Thursday night. Hope you didn't put money down.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters that Dwyane Wade is "unlikely" for Thursday's game against the Hawks while LeBron James is still a questionable gametime decision.
Wade is suffering from a sore foot and missed Miami's game last night against the Pacers. During that game though, LeBron rolled his ankle on a fastbreak. LeBron finished the game out fine, but the ankle swelled some and now LeBron will wait until the game starts to make an official decision.
Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:44 am
Edited on: January 4, 2012 10:54 am
Posted by Royce Young
There has never been any doubt that the 1992 Olympic team dubbed the Dream Team, is the greatest collection of basketball talent ever. They completely steamrolled everyone in their way and were even inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
And while there have been good American teams since, like 2008's Beijing roster or 1996's folllow-up team, there never has been a group quite like it. But LeBron James thinks the 20th anniversary team will compare. Via Fox Sports Florida:
"We can stack up with those guys," the Miami forward said.The only place you could ever find out is a video game, but here's an important note: The 2012 team has yet to win anything. And with the rest of the world pretty much caught up in talent with teams like Spain, France, Lithuania and others, awarding yourself a gold medal probably isn't the smartest thing. For the Americans to take home gold in London, they'll have to go through some good teams.
But for reference's sake, the Dream Team had Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Clyde Drexler, Christian Laettner and Chris Mullin. The 2012 roster isn't set, but will likely have LeBron, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh and a few others.
Do they "stack up" as LeBron says? Absolutely. In terms of pure talent, the 2012 has an abundance of it. It's hard comparing the past to the present, because it's difficult to get past the greatness of players like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson and realize that guys like Durant and LeBron have comparable talents. Still, the '92 Dream Team dominated the world. The 2012 team has yet to play an exhibition. Reminds me of some other supposed "dream team"...
Don't go giving yourself not one, not two, not three, not four, not five gold medals before you've even practiced, LeBron. I figured you'd learned your lesson on that.
Posted on: January 4, 2012 10:28 am
By Matt Moore
When news broke of LeBron James' proposal to longtime girlfriend Savannah Brinson last Saturday night, one question naturally came to mind.
"How big was the rock?!"
The answer? Pretty freaking big. From HollywoodLife.com:
“The ring is a traditional Tiffany style ring with a pear shape diamond in the center along with two tapered diamond baguettes on each side,” says Aslam Bakshi, owner of Diamond Images U.S.A., Inc. “The center diamond should be at least 4-5 carats… with an approximate retail value of between $250,000 and $300,000.”via LeBron James $300,000 Engagement Ring For Fiancé Savannah Brinson.
Take out your last paycheck. Now look at the figure. Now how much that ring cost. Now back to your paycheck, now back to the ring.
So, yeah, life's a bit different for James from the rest of us.
I'm supposed to make some sort of joke about how James hopes to receive his own ring sometime this year in reference to a championship ring, but I'm too busy trying to figure out how you would feel comfortable walking out of a store with a $300,000 ring.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 11:12 am
By Matt Moore
Dwyane Wade has told FoxSportsFlorida.com that 2012 will be his last appearance for Team USA.
"This is my last run," Wade, 29, said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida. "No chance (Wade will return for another Olympics). No chance at all. Not a chance."via 2012 to be Dwyane Wade's last Olympics.
Wade cites a desire to let other young players have their chance at a medal during their careers as his primary reason. Wade won a bronze medal in 2004 and a gold medal in 2008's Beijing Olympics alongside now-fellow Heat members LeBron James and Chris Bosh. It was their insistence, along with that of Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, notoriously close friends of Wade and James, that pushed Wade to come back for another season.
The lockout-affected season means that the NBA Finals will end as late as June 26th, and the Olympics begin July 27th, with Team USA training camp starting a few weeks ealier. Should the Heat's season go according to their plans, or at least as well as last year, Wade wouldn't have much time to rest his body, which is known to have injury issues. But Wade says the "unity' is what makes the experience special and will bring him back.
Team USA should be just as stacked this time around. With the Miami Big 3, Anthony, Paul, and Kobe Bryant expected to return, along with Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose, that's an absurd amount of talent right there. Competition could be as stiff this time around as it was in 2008, but expect Blake Griffin to have a good shot at making the team. Factoring in the kind of role players that usually make the team to give specific abilities (Tyson Chander's defense for example), and the 18-20 player list expected to be announced in January according to Jerry Colangelo, head of Team USA, (via FoxSportsFlorida.com) could make for some serious ego management in the roster decisions.
But having that much talent is never a problem, and Wade will be part of that pleasant conundrum.
Posted on: January 1, 2012 11:52 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 12:34 pm
By Matt Moore
LeBron James proposed to his longtime girlfriend and the mother of his two children, Savannah Brinson Saturday night at a predictably lavish birthday party celebrating James turning 27 Friday. Both Chris Paul and Micky Arison tweeted their congratulations Sunday morning to the happy couple.
Oh, and there was cake. There's always cake.
James and Brinson have been together since high school, and have two sons together, LeBron Jr. and Bryce. The engagement comes just months after James' close friend Chris Paul was married and a year after Carmelo Anthony, another close friend of James, tied the knot with LaLa Vasquez. It also comes just days after Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce from her husband Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
The decision also comes in line with a summer where James purposefully kept a low profile and has claimed that he's gotten back to "who he is" in mutiliple interviews. It seems, at least on the level James allows the public to see, that he's attempting to move away from the egotist he was portrayed as last year.
Congratulations to the happy couple.