With LeBron James and Kobe Bryant leading the way, Team USA has assembled what Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul called deeper than the gold-medal winning 2008 squad.
“(Like) all of us talk about, you’ve got to think about how much better all of us are now than we were in ’08,” Paul said. “All of us as players, we shoot the ball better. Guys are more athletic, guys are more confident. One through 12, no question we’re deeper than we were in ’08.”
Added to the team was a defensive stopper, a potent scorer off the bench and one of the NBA’s most explosive athletes to round out the unit: Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Andre Iguodala and James Harden of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“We feel like we’re definitely a great team. We have all the pieces that we need,” Anthony said. “We’ve got to put it together, but we feel like we’re the best team out there.”
Beat out for positions were Eric Gordon, Ruby Gay and No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis of New Orleans, who couldn’t scrimmage this week because of a sprained ankle.
Others on Team USA include Deron Williams, who last week committed to returning to the Brooklyn Nets; OKC’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Minnesota’s Kevin Love and the Knicks’ Tyson Chandler.
The Americans never had a close game four years ago until the championship game, when they pulled away in the final two minutes to beat Spain 118-107. Even with Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade unable to return from that team, the Americans believe this one can be even stronger.
About the three Thunder on the squad, Harden said: “Great characters, workaholics, just humble guys, humble guys and blessed to be in this position. (Guys) who work hard and just set ourselves up for greatness and to achieve, and just to be on the same team with these guys means a lot.”