After it was reported earlier in the week that Team USA was looking to add some size to their finalist pool, Team USA Chairman Jerry Colangelo officially announced the addition of Oklahoma City Thunder guard/forward James Harden and University of Kentucky F/C, and soon to be number one pick in the NBA Draft, Anthony Davis to their final selection pool for the Summer Olympics in London.
“After a lot of deliberations, after reviewing our roster, we think these two additions strengthen our National Team program immeasurably. James Harden probably is the sixth man of the year in the NBA, and Anthony Davis brings a dimension to our pool we don’t have. He’s young, but it’s exciting to think about the possibilities,” said Colangelo.
James Harden clearly doesn’t add size to this team, but if he made it he’d be a great addition. He’s a great ball handler and shooter. He’s already a Sixth Man, so there’s a decent shot he’s not going to be bothered by coming off the bench or having limited playing time in general.
Could he be the last guard added to the team? Once Derrick Rose tore his ACL conventional wisdom said Russell Westbrook would be the third point guard added to the team, but he is not the best long range shooter, which is crucial in international competition. Because of his experience playing in the 2010 World Championship and because he’s really good, Westbrook is still the likely pick, but don’t be surprised if Harden sneaks on to the team.
Anthony Davis’ selection addresses Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s concerns about size. Still, this may be a nod to the 2014 Worlds or 2016 Olympics. Davis is going to be a good and, probably, great pro, especially on the defensive side. I do not think he would handle getting backed down by either Gasol any better than a guy like Chris Bosh or Kevin Love despite his length because of how light he is.
Still, getting to go against these guys as part of the Select Team during the Team USA training camp is going to be a great experience for him and a great way to get his pro career started.
I have written before, LeBron James is going to start at power forward for this team and both Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony are both able to play power forward. So while size is an issue, it is not as much of an issue with all three of those guys on the team. Perimeter defenders are going to be the team’s need, which is why Andre Iguadola or James Harden should make the team over an extra big who probably will not play much anyways. Also, Rob Mahoney tweeted what he thinks would be the best 12 man group for London and I agree with him.