A slew of injuries to marquee players is forcing the USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski to make late additions to the team’s roster with the London Olympics fast approaching.
The losses of Dwight Howard (back), LaMarcus Alrdige (hip), Derrick Rose (knee) and Chauncey Billups (Achilles) leave several gaping holes on a team expected to contend for the gold medal. But now the Americans will have three extra weeks to polish off the roster after the U.S. Olympic Committee granted their request to extend the selection process to July 7. The original deadline for roster selection was June 18.
Colangelo said 10 of the 12 roster spots are set “on paper.” Those players will likely be NBA MVP LeBron James, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler.
With the loss of Howard and Aldridge in the frontcourt, the team could use another post presence, and Naismith Award winner Anthony Davis of Kentucky was added to the 18-player pool along with Oklahoma City’s James Harden last week.
“What we think is that barring any other further major injury, we have a pretty good handle on what we think the roster might look like, and it may get down to a final selection or two,” Colangelo said during a Monday conference call with the Associated Press.
Krzyzewski said Monday that he expects the London Olympics to be his last as U.S. head coach. The longtime Duke coach led the Americans to gold in Beijing and a world championship two years later, reviving a team that had failed to meet its lofty expectations in recent years. Krzyzewski called the experience of coaching the U.S. team “the ultimate honor.”
The U.S. will play Argentina, France and Tunisia in group play and two yet to be determined teams in group play, which begins July 29 in London.