Blake Griffin, James Harden and Andre Iguodala are headed to London.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo made it official and those three men will round out a Team USA roster that also includes LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler.
That’s a gold medal roster.
It means that Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay and Anthony Davis miss the cut.
Choosing Griffin over Davis as the last big on the roster is not a surprise, at first because Davis has a sprained ankle that has kept him out of Team USA practices that opened in Las Vegas on Friday. Griffin has more experience and brings an athleticism at the four no other country in the world can match. Davis will get his chance down the line.
That was the easy choice.
Iguodala over Gay was splitting hairs, but it came down to defense.
“He’s a stopper,” Colangelo said of Iguodala. “You take his character, you take his talents and what he can contribute in a team concept, then being the stopper that he is, he deserved to be on this team.”
Taking Harden over Gordon gives the team a more true two guard to likely come off the bench behind Kobe, and also a better playmaker. While Gordon is the better shooter, Harden is good enough there and has a wider skill set.
Gordon also has been in the middle of a messy free agency, where he wants to go to the Suns but the Hornets will match the max offer sheet to keep him. Gordon was asked about that after the opening practice. Keeping the vibes positive on Team USA is a goal of Colangelo and Krzyzewski, so this could have played a factor. But Harden also is a good fit.
“He has size, he has length at his position, he is more than adequate defensively at his position and he comes up with a lot of loose balls,” Colangelo said.