THERE ARE SELECTION headaches and then there are selection headaches.
The United States’ basketball coach for the upcoming Olympics was probably not too perturbed when injuries to Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh were confirmed.
Mike Krzyzewski was already planning for his country’s tilt at retaining their Gold Medal win from 2008 without the services of Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose but the loss of 2012 NBA winners Wade and Bosh would have weakened the stew a little.
However, one look at the 12-man roster announced by Krzyzewski on Saturday shows that the USA will be in pretty good shape come game time in London.
Blake Griffin of the L.A Clippers comes in for his first Olympics, alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma Thunder, to join past gold medalists LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams and Chris Paul.
May we just say now, good luck to their Group A opponents – France, Tunisia and Argentina.
The Reclaim Team
The United States, a side known as the Redeem Team after a disappointing bronze finish in 2004, won gold in Beijing four years later.
The US side of 2000, containing the likes of Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and Ray Allen, were the last side to reclaim the gold.
The call-up for Griffin is his first for the national side. James Harden of the Thunder, reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is the other inclusion who has yet to feature for the US senior side.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo believes the roster fits with the gameplan to have athletic, versatile players and a deep bench.
The squad are in Las Vegas for training until 12 July, when they will play a warm-up against the Dominican Republic.
Further exhibitions are scheduled against Brazil, in Washington, DC, and against Great Britain in London.
After that, the US will play the world’s second and third ranked teams, Spain and Argentina, in Barcelona to mark 20 years since the ‘Dream Team’ appeared at the Olympics. Their first game is July 29 against France.
United States squad: LeBron James (Miami Heat), Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Kobe Bryant (L.A Lakers), Deron Williams (N.J Nets), Chris Paul and Blake Griffin (L.A Clippers), Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden (Oklahoma Thunder), Andrew Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves).