Kevin Durant and Nick Collison were the final two cuts for Team USA yesterday, as the 12-man roster is now set. The U.S. roster will consist of: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, Michael Redd, Mike Miller, Tyson Chandler, Tayshaun Prince and Deron Williams.
There was some speculation that Miller or Redd could be cut if Durant made the team, but it’s clear that Team USA’s lack of outside shooting in the past couple of competitions necessitated that both stay on the roster. Collison was brought onto the team after Chris Bosh went home with a foot injury, so it is not a great surprise that he was left off the team, despite his previous international experience which includes a 2003 Olympic Qualifier.
Durant was an obvious choice early on to be cut, but made the decision a little more difficult when he scored 22 points in an intrasquad game the team held a couple of weeks ago. Nevertheless, the reigning college player of the year did not make the final cut.
It will be interesting to see who will be the primary scoring option for the team that is simply packed with scorers. Carmelo Anthony led the last Team USA in scoring and seems to want to be in that role again. However, Anthony is now joined by two-time NBA scoring champion Kobe Bryant, who is playing in his first international competition for Team USA. It’s clear that with both of these guys on the roster, LeBron James and everybody else will certainly be fighting for shots. Let’s all hope that this doesn’t mess with the team overall and cost them Gold.