Team USA: Who's In? Who's Out? Can Harden Make the Roster?

Two of these guys are a lock for Team USA, but what about the third?

With the announcement of the injuries of Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, the potential team USA roster for the 2012 Olympics has been trimmed from 17 players to a measly 15. But the Olympic committee only allows 12 players per team, so three players will be cut before it's all said and done.

Three Thunder players, namely Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, are in the final 15, but they'll face some stiff competition if they want to make the team. In order to gauge the likelihood that they'll make the roster, here's a quick run down of the potential players, and their relative stance within the hierarchy of the team.

Locks for the Starting Lineup:

1. LeBron James

Previous Team USA Experience: 2004 Olympics (Bronze), 2006 World Championship (Bronze), 2007 FIBA Americas Championship (Gold), 2008 Olympics (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 15.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 3.8 AST, 2.4 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Analysis: Team USA without LeBron James is like jelly without peanut butter. He's tied with Carmelo Anthony for the most experience on the team, and he was an essential part of the redeem team run in 2008.

2. Kevin Durant

Previous Team USA Experience: 2010 World Championship (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 22.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.8 AST, 1.4 SPG

Analysis: He's the future of Team USA, and he'll figure heavily into this year's team. Sure, either he or LeBron will be forced out of position at Power Forward, but both of them will be starting and playing heavy minutes. Heck, this guy basically won the gold in 2010.

3. Kobe Bryant

Previous Team USA Experience: 2007 FIBA Americas Championship (Gold), 2008 Olympics (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 15.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG

Analysis: He remains the most clutch player in the NBA, and is easily one of the top three scorers on this team. His defense isn't as good as that of LeBron, but he's still at the top of his craft. He'll be a solid option to go to late in the game, and someone you can just give the ball and allow him to work.'

Below: Where Everyone Else Fits In!

In the Rotation:

4. Chris Paul

Previous Team USA Experience: 2006 World Championship (Bronze), 2008 Olympics (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 8.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.1 AST, 2.3 SPG

Analysis: I'd say he's locked into the starting point guard position. He's one of the NBA's best at dropping dimes, and he can guard some of the quicker, attack-the-basket point guards that foreign teams like to employ.

5. Russell Westbrook

Previous Team USA Experience: 2010 World Championship (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 9.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.6 AST, 1.3 SPG

Analysis: Westbrook is a terrific scorer and can play as a starting point guard, but on a team loaded with three guys that are an echelon above him in that category, it's best to let him work as head of the second unit and use his energy off of the bench.

6. Blake Griffin

Previous Team USA Experience: None

Most Recent Team USA Stats: N/A

Analysis: He's never been on Team USA before, but Team USA needs a big, especially with Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh dropping out. Griffin doesn't bring the defense of a Howard or the shots of a Bosh, but he does remain a significant interior offensive threat, and will really help piling on the points.

7. Carmelo Anthony

Previous Team USA Experience: 2004 Olympics (Bronze), 2006 World Championship (Bronze), 2007 FIBA Americas Championship (Gold), 2008 Olympics (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 11.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG

Analysis: His stock has dropped since he went to the struggling Knicks, but there should be no doubts about this guy's ability to score. He'll be the team's primary scorer off of the bench, and he'll see a good amount of minutes.

8. Kevin Love

Previous Team USA Experience: 2010 World Championship (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 5.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG

Analysis: He'll basically step in and play some minutes at center. Though his offense is good, I think he'l mostly be used for grabbing rebounds and going toe to toe with some of the more threatening bigs in the tournament, like the Gasol brothers.

On the Team:

9. Deron Williams

Previous Team USA Experience: 2007 FIBA Americas Championship (Gold), 2008 Olympics (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 8.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.8 AST

Analysis: Deron Williams is easily the best player who I suspect will be left out of the regular rotation. He's a point guard on the level of Westbrook and Paul, but you can't have too many cooks in the kitchen. There's no question about his ability to make the team, but he might not see as many minutes as he's used to.

10. Tyson Chandler

Previous Team USA Experience: 2007 FIBA Americas Championship (Gold), 2010 World Championship (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 2.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG

Analysis: Chandler was hardly used in 2010, but he makes the team because he's big and he's not Lamar Odom. He'll be given spot minutes against teams that are taking advantage of Team USA's small size.

The Bubble:

11. James Harden

Previous Team USA Experience: None

Most Recent Team USA Stats: N/A

Analysis: Okay, putting Harden this high might seem a little too homerish. But, he does have a few things going for him. He's younger than the three guards listed below, and Team USA likes to keep things moving forward into the future. Plus, when you take both scoring and handles into account, he's the best player of the bunch. In other words, he can't score as well as Gordon or Gay, and he can't dish as well as Iguodala, but he's the best overall combination.

12. Andre Igoudala

Previous Team USA Experience: 2010 World Championship (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 5.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.9 AST, 1.8 SPG

Analysis: I think Iguodala stays on the roster because Team USA always likes to have a defensive stopper on the roster, and he fits the bill. Plus, he's more than willing to share the ball than Gay or Gordon on a team already loaded with scorers.

13. Lamar Odom

Previous Team USA Experience: 2004 Olympics (Bronze), 2010 World Championship (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 7.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG

Analysis: There's still a possibility that Odom could make the team simply because he's a big, and he has experience playing for Team USA. But after leaving the Mavericks this year with a case of malaise, I just don't see him making the roster.

Probably Out:

14. Rudy Gay

Previous Team USA Experience: 2010 World Championship (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 7.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.0 SPG

Analysis: He's a great scorer, but he doesn't bring too much else to the table on a Team USA level.

15. Eric Gordon

Previous Team USA Experience: 2010 World Championship (Gold)

Most Recent Team USA Stats: 8.6 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.0 SPG

Analysis: See the above, except throw in the fact that he's a lot smaller.

16. Anthony Davis

Previous Team USA Experience: None

Most Recent Team USA Stats: N/A

Analysis: He's a college kid. I look forward to seeing him tear up the court during the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Spain.

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