LAS VEGAS — Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala and James Harden were chosen Saturday to complete the roster for the U.S. Olympic basketball team.
They earned the final three spots that opened after a rash of injuries knocked out at least four players who would have been on the team. They beat out Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay and No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis, of New Orleans, who couldn’t scrimmage this week because of a sprained ankle.
Also heading to London for the defending gold medalists are: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love.
USA Basketball’s Jerry Colangelo acknowledged the adversity the team faced with all the injuries before the players were introduced during a news conference, all wearing their white USA jerseys.
“But as the dust settles, I’m proud to say that we’ve put together in my opinion a terrific team with great athleticism and great versatility and we believe we’re going to be successful,” Colangelo said.
Griffin showed he was healthy again after being slowed by a knee injury during the playoffs, putting on an impressive dunking display following practice Saturday. Harden, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year with Oklahoma City, gives the Americans more scoring punch off the bench, and Iguodala is a defensive specialist who can guard multiple positions.
The Americans lost Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to injuries in recent months, forcing them to scrap plans to name their 12-man roster on June 18. They asked the U.S. Olympic Committee for a roster extension and added Harden and Davis to their original pool of finalists chosen in January.
Colangelo was intrigued by Davis’ skills, but the national player of the year at Kentucky sprained his ankle last week and was not able to take part this week, robbing him of a chance to show he was ready to handle international competition now.
James, Bryant, Anthony, Paul and Williams were all part of the 2008 Olympic gold medalists. Durant, Westbrook, Chandler and Love played on the world championship team two years ago.
SHOWING CONFIDENCE: Serge Ibaka believes Spain’s basketball team has the talent to match the U.S. squad.
He’s confident the 2008 silver medalists can compete with the 2012 gold medal favorites and world champions.
“They are just like us, they also have players with a lot of talent,” the Oklahoma City power forward said Saturday in his first full day of training with the Spanish team. “They are a different team to 2008, but their players are still very good.”