The Washington Post

London 2012 Olympics: U.S. men’s basketball replaces size with versatility

Will the guard-heavy Americans win gold again in London? (Jason Bean/AP)

But on a roster than includes the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant there remains a gaping hole at one position: center.

Late-season injuries to Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh prevented them from returning to the team they helped lead to gold in Beijing four years ago. The U.S. will take the court with only one center on its roster — Tyson Chandler, whose tremendous rebounding has made up for modest scoring contributions.

But Coach Mike Krzyzewski hopes the team can make up for its size deficiency with a plethora of versatility up and down the roster.

“I think it has the potential to be that if we learn to use our versatility. It’s a more versatile team than 2008. Now does that translate into being better?” Krzyzewski said Sunday. “Although we don’t have the center, that team didn’t have Durant or Westbrook. So it’s a different team and we’ll see if it becomes better, but it can be. It could be.”

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the 2008 and 2012 teams.


G Kobe Bryant---------------------G Kobe Bryant

G Jason Kidd-----------------------G Kevin Durant

G Michael Redd-------------------G James Harden

G Dwyane Wade-------------------G Andre Iguodala

G Chris Paul------------------------G Chris Paul

G Deron Williams-----------------G Deron Williams

F Carlos Boozer--------------------G Russell Westbrook

F Carmelo Anthony---------------F Carmelo Anthony

F/C Chris Bosh--------------------F Blake Griffin

F LeBron James-------------------F LeBron James

F Tayshaun Prince----------------F Kevin Love

C Dwight Howard----------------C Tyson Chandler

Result: Gold medal---------------Result: ???

How will this team stack up? USA Basketball chariman Jerry Coangelo isn’t too worried about the lack of true post players. In fact, he believes this team could be better than the 2008 squad.

“Those players by themselves are much better and I look at the players we’ve added.,” he said. “We have much more depth, much more talent than we had in ‘08 when I look at this roster versus that roster, and I’m not looking to make comparisons, but when asked the question, I’ll put this team up against anyone.”

More Olympics coverage from Washington Post Sports:

U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team has much to replace

Nigeria beats Dominican Republic for final Olympic spot

Sally Jenkins: Oscar Pistorius’s only advantage is his heart’

At 17, swimmer Missy Franklin could soon be the face of the U.S. Olympic team

Complete coverage of London Games

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.



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