LeBron James, Beijing Olympics

Report: Four 2008 Team USA members on the out, roster to mix 2008 and 2010 gold medal teams


Team USA begins its preparation for the 2012 Summer Games this month. It will release the 18-man roster under consideration for final inclusion as the 2012 U.S men’s basketball team and ESPN reports that there will be some changes from the 2008 squad that won gold in Beijing. The new team will reportedly feature combined rosters from the 2008 Olympics team and the 2010 FIBA World Championships team that also won gold. The result? Blake Griffin is the only likely newcomer to the batch. From ESPN:

A source close to the process told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that four players from the 2008 Olympic team have been ruled out of consideration for the 18 2012 finalists. Those four are Chicago’s Carlos Boozer, Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince, Phoenix’s Michael Redd and Dallas’ Jason Kidd.

The source also said that Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin is likely the only player who wasn’t part of the 2008 Olympic squad or the 2010 world championship roster that will be considered for the 2012 roster in addition to the 20 players.

via USA Basketball to announce 18 roster candidates by January 18 – ESPN.

No real shock on those that were removed from consideration. Redd has undergone too many injuries, Prince is up there in age and Kidd even more so despite his huge role in the 2008 Olympics and Boozer is simply outclassed in terms of talent available. The 2008 team was notoriously star-studded, the so-called Redeem Team, while the 2010 FIBA team didn’t pack as much star punch, but did feature a more cohesive collection of players. Not better. Just more cohesive. It’ll be interesting to see who makes the cut and who doesn’t, especially with the 5,000 guards Jerry Colangelo and Coach K have to work out.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.