The quadrennial World Championship of Basketball kicks off 28 August 2010 and runs through 12 September 2010 in Ankara Turkey. The 2008 Olympic Gold Medal winner Team USA begins warm-ups August 15th against the 15th ranked (FIBA) French National Team. They face a tough, NBA-laden squad featuring perennial NBA All Star Tony Parker, Chicago Bulls starting forward Joakim Noah, and Golden State’s Rony Turiaf.
This will be the first glimpse of Team USA Basketball following the redemptive 2008 Olympic run to recapture the title of world’s best, albeit without the likes of 5 time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, and many of the talent laden roster that saw them defeat Spain 118-107 in the Beijing final two years ago.
The current squad, whose finalists were announced yesterday; reads like a who’s who of young, up and coming NBA talent. The makeup of the squad looks to build on athleticism and youth, and is poised to make a run for Gold as the tournament looms just around the corner.
The following is a quick look at each player chosen
Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets): Floor Leader. Erstwhile NBA champion. Sharpshooter extraordinaire. Capable of making key shots in pressure situations. Perhaps NBA’s best point man. Team USA key veteran.
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks): Athletic post player who flourishes in transition game. Teamed well with Olympian Chris Paul in New Orleans to form dominant lob pass threat. Veteran presence and superior shot blocker. One of team USA’s key big men.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors): One of the best young players in the NBA. Still developing role with Golden State, but shows flashes of NBA pedigree with excellent offensive performances throughout season. Looks to have breakout tournament performance ala Steve Nash
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder): NBA’s heir apparent. Slender, effortless player with unique small forward game. Can handle basketball as well as any guard and is impossible to contain one-on-one. Looks to be the key to USA success in this tournament.
Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies): Excellent young NBA talent. Perhaps key reason Memphis Grizzlies were able to part with L.A. Laker Center Pau Gasol several seasons ago.
Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers): Sharpshooter extraordinaire. Good young NBA talent on what should be a surprisingly competitive Clippers team in 2010-2011. Should thrive in tournament with three point opportunities off transition.
Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers): Surprise All Star with rebuilding Indiana franchise. Quintessential swing man with good all around game.
Jeff Green (Oklahoma City Thunder): Georgetown product is Kevin Durant running mate with Oklahoma franchise that made serious noise during 2009-2010 NBA playoffs.
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers): Philadelphia franchise player. Former dunk champion thrives in transition and will be a key component in the tournament. Should see big minutes if Team USA utilizes an up-tempo strategy throughout the tourney.
Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets): Key post player for Team USA. The Net’s Big man looks to have a breakout tournament with athleticism and movement in the paint. One of the more talented young big men in the league.
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves): Former UCLA NCAA tournament standout looks to overcome injury to replicate game winning success previously seen at UCLA. Featured on a young Minnesota team along side 2nd team All Rookie PG Johnny Flynn, and eventually; Spain point guard Ricky Rubio.
Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers): 2 time NBA Champion along side 2008 Olympian Kobe Bryant, and Olympic Silver Medalist Pau Gasol. The versatile Rhode Island product is a key veteran presence on the young world championship squad. Will look to play multiple positions along the front court if young players struggle with international game.
Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics): NBA champion and key component of Boston Celtic return to prominence in recent NBA seasons. A triple double threat with superior quickness and toughness in the paint. A natural leader and will look to form formidable guard combinations throughout the tournament. Maturity and poise under pressure will be vital in tournament run.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls): Chicago Franchise player. Fast, strong, athletic with superior playmaking ability. Looks to have strong tournament playing alongside NBA’s best.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) Breakout NBA playoff performance in 2009-2010. Athletic guard plays alongside fellow Team USA players Kevin Durant, and Jeff Green. Will provide long range shooting and ballhandling on a guard laden team.
There you have the final roster selections for Team USA basketball 2010-2012. The tournament begins 28 August in Ankara Turkey.
Sources: Wikipedia.com, Opposingviews.com, CNNSI.com