U.S. Olympic basketball roster finalized
Griffin, Harden, Iguodala round out 12-member team headed to London Games
The USA Basketball National team is introduced to media during a press conference at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort. ORG XMIT: USPW-78798 (Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE / July 7, 2012)
They hope to hit the jackpot in London next month.
Nine players already were on the team before Saturday — LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Thunder guard James Harden and 76ers swingman Andre Iguodala were the final three players added to the roster.
Five of the above played in the 2008 Olympics, going undefeated and winning the gold medal: Bryant, Paul, Williams, James and Anthony.
"We think we're deeper. We think we're better," USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said. "Only time will tell."
While picking the final three spots, the glaring needs were for more brawn down low and a body or two to give Bryant some backup help at shooting guard.
Even though several weeks passed since Griffin sustained a sprained knee in the NBA playoffs, Team USA officials were concerned enough to bring him in for two private workouts before training camp began Friday.
They liked what they saw, obviously. He ended Saturday's practice with a series of dunks in front of some kids there to watch James.
"My knee has felt fine and I told them that but with all the injuries that have gone on, they're a little on edge about it, which is perfectly fine," Griffin said. "It's been a dream obviously since I was young, watching the Dream Team and seeing all those documentaries. To represent our country is unbelievable."
All-Star big men Dwight Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge were left off the roster because of injuries and Lakers center Andrew Bynum said he had no interest in playing in London.
Because of the lack of post players, Griffin and Love are expected to get some time at center.
Griffin, 23, averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds last season for the Clippers, dazzling fans with his array of dunks.
Harden, 22, owns a well-rounded game, shooting with accuracy from outside, driving with strength and quickly becoming one of the better young players in the NBA. He won the league's sixth man of the year award.
Iguodala earned the nod because he can play two positions and is a solid defender. He's not a huge scorer, averaging only 12.4 points for the 76ers last season, but his 1.73 steals per game ranked eighth in the NBA.
Griffin, Harden and Iguodala beat out Hornets guard Eric Gordon, Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay and top overall draft pick Anthony Davis, a forward out of Kentucky selected by the Hornets.