USA Basketball Team Finalists
In January, Team USA announced a roster of 20 finalists for the 2012 Olympic team. Following several injuries (Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge) and additions (Anthony Davis, James Harden), the list of finalists now sits at 18. Only 12 of those players will make the team, which will be finalized on July 7, five days before the team's first Olympic exhibition. SI.com presents the players vying for those 12 spots. *** A five-time NBA All-Star, Anthony helped lead Team USA to a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics and a gold at the '08 Games.
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh has been named to the NBA All-Star team five times and has appeared on the All-NBA second team once. A 2008 Olympian, he helped lead Team USA to the gold medal, averaging 9.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in eight games.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002 and two straight titles in 2009 and 2010. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Lakers and is tied for the most All-Star MVP awards (four) in NBA history. Bryant was a member of the U.S. national team that won a gold medal in Beijing in 2008.
The reigning NBA defensive player of the year, Tyson Chandler currently plays for the New York Knicks. In 2011, he led the Dallas Mavericks to the franchise's first NBA championship win, and he played for Team USA when they won a gold medal at the 2010 FIBA world championship.
Anthony Davis, a lengthy forward-center, is the youngest player competing for a spot on the U.S. national team. He was named the NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player after leading Kentucky to a Division I title and is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
Winner of the last three NBA scoring titles, Durant is currently playing against the Heat for the NBA title. The 6-foot-9 swingman has made one appearance for the U.S. national team, leading the team in scoring during the 2010 FIBA world championship.
Every team needs a defensive stopper on the wing, and Gay, an athletic forward, fits that bill for Team USA. Earlier this year, Gay surpassed Shane Battier as the Memphis Grizzlies' all-time leader in steals (584). Gay played for Team USA at the 2010 FIBA world championship, tallying eight blocks and nine steals en route to a gold medal.
Hornets guard Eric Gordon was the seventh overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft and was unanimously selected to the All-Rookie Second Team. This season, he averaged 20.6 points in nine games. Gordon played on the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
Clippers power forward Blake Griffin won the NBA Rookie of the Year award for the 2010-2011 season and was named an NBA All-Star the following year. Griffin has no international experience; this will be his first year in consideration for the U.S. national team.
James Harden was one of the most recent additions to the pool of finalists for the team roster. He averaged almost 17 points per game this season, and has been exceptionally clutch during the Thunder's postseason run to the Finals. Even though he is the Sixth Man of the Year for Oklahoma City, Harden would start on almost any other team in the NBA.
Iguodala has been one of the more explosive players in the league since he was drafted in the first round in 2004. His scoring dipped this season, but he still has the ability to leave his mark on a game with his defense and passing ability. He was a part of Team USA during the 2010 FIBA world championship, where the team won the gold medal.
It's probably not fair to categorize LeBron James as a Team USA "hopeful"; he's the centerpiece around which the roster is built. The three-time MVP won a bronze medal in 2004 and then a gold medal in 2008 as a member of the "Redeem Team."
Kevin Love remains one of the most underrated players in the league even after a season in which he averaged 26 points and over 13 rebounds. With Dwight Howard sidelined with back problems, Love will be seeing a lot of minutes down in the low post. The UCLA product saw limited minutes for Team USA at the 2010 FIBA world championships.
After a chaotic season in the NBA, Odom is hoping to catch on with the Olympic team and coach Mike Krzyzewski. Odom hasn't been on the team since 2004, when the U.S. won the bronze medal, but with former teammate Andrew Bynum withdrawing from contention, Odom has a shot.
The Clippers' point guard is one of the best in the league, and will compete for the starting spot with Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook. Paul is coming off an outstanding year where the Clippers finished with 40 wins in the shortened season and made it to the Conference Semifinals. Paul was a member of the Olympic team back in 2008.
Even though he isn't considered the best player on his own team, Wade is one of the top players on Team USA. Like many players on this list, Wade played a pivotal role for the 2008 "Redeem Team". This roster is extremely deep at Wade's position, so there is a good chance he will be splitting a lot of minutes come game time.
Westbrook clearly distinguished himself this year as one of the elite players in the NBA. The one-two punch of Durant and Westbrook has carried the Thunder into the NBA Finals, and the same combo will look to do similar damage in the Olympics. He averaged 9.1 points in 19.4 minutes at the 2010 FIBA world championships.
With rumors swirling about his future NBA home, Williams hopes to step out of the spotlight and contribute to Team USA's mission for gold. With a young and talented group of point guards, Deron will face heavy competition from Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Averaging 21 points and nearly 9 assists per game, Williams had himself a fantastic individual year in the NBA.