Team USA receives yet another blow due to injury. After losing Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom and Chris Bosh due to various reasons, we have lost one more player. Blake Griffin will undergo surgery for a torn knee meniscus that he suffered in practice. Team USA certainly has the depth but the size is absent. Losing Blake also will bring down the significant amount of alley oops and other momentum changing plays on both ends of the floor. Anthony Davis is Blake’s replacement for now and is likely to be on the team once the official Olympic games begin. I was looking forward to see how Blake would elevate his game against the likes of Spain, Argentina, and Brazil. Blake wasn’t able to play back in the World Championships due to injury, and now you can add the 2012 Olympics to the list.
I’d like to preface this post by letting everyone know that NBA TV will televise the live USA Basketball team selection on July 7, at 7 p.m est. By now everyone knows how directly or indirectly the NBA lockout has affected the way Team USA will look this summer. There will be no Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and now rookie Anthony Davis all due to injury or rehabilitation to a prior injury. Recently Lamar Odom dropped his name from consideration. The wear and tear that some of these athletes endured throughout the season and playoff runs increases the likelihood of replacements once all of the training and exhibition games begin. I am very excited for the London Olympics this year. Here are my predicitons for the 2012 Olympic National team:
Reserves: Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Andre Iguodala, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Blake Griffin
For the first time in his glorious career Lebron James will finally get his ring. After certainly being one of the most polarizing figures in sports, Lebron led the Miami Heat to its’ second franchise world championship. Coming out of high school, Lebron was crowned with the moniker “King James” but this is the first time where he’ll actually be sitting atop the throne of the NBA as a champion. This isn’t about how many MVPs he has won, this isn’t about All-Star appearances, this is only a taste of what separates you from the rest. Lebron will no longer be mentioned in the same breath with Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, and other all-time greats who will never know what it feels like to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy. This is Dwayne Wade’s second time hoisting the trophy with the first being back in 2006.Lebron’s decision to take his talents to South Beach on national television broke a lot of hearts in Cleveland and was met with a level of hate and scrutiny that we may never witness again. Though it all paid off for Lebron, Wade, Bosh, and the rest of the Miami Heat organization, the next step will be if they can repeat.
In 2006, Dirk Nowitzski and Jason Terry were apart of a Dallas Mavericks team that went to the NBA Finals. There opponent was led by Dwayne Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Williams, and Udonis Haslem. The Mavs were up 2-0 in that series before suffering from a mental collapse the rest of the series which allowed the Miami Heat to win their first NBA Championship. Now we fast forward to today where each team has two holdovers from the 2006 Finals. For Dallas, it’s Nowitzki and Terry, and for the Heat it’s Wade and Haslem. It is all about redemption for the Dallas teammates, and on the other side it’s about bringing home another Championship to South Beach. This time around Dirk has a point guard in future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd. He has more veterans such as Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler, and a guy who is top 5 all-time in three point goals made in NBA history with Peja Stojakovic. Do not also count out the young J.J Barea who at times will probably outscore the entire Miami Heat bench. On the other hand, we have the Heat who have now added Lebron James and Chris Bosh. The new big three garnered so much hate throughout the summer of 2010 and much for the whole season. The expectations were very high and they could be on their way to fulfilling them. The Heat’s bench includes Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, and Mike Miller. The Mavs are the more well-rounded team but a team with Lebron, Wade, and Bosh is expected to win it all as they have all put franchises on their back before coming together before this season started. Will Dirk finally get a ring to minimize his previous playoff failures and push his legacy, or will the trio in Miami reign supreme? Lebron’s decision made headlines last July. In just under five weeks, many analysts and fans will mark the one-year anniversary of “The Decision”. On that day, will fans that hated Lebron rejoice or will they have to come to terms that Lebron is now a winner, a winner of the most coveted prize in basketball?