OKC Thunder: Don't expect James Harden to make U.S. Olympic roster

The U.S. Olympic team is already guard heavy, so Harden might have to wait until 2016
by Darnell Mayberry Published: July 1, 2012
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That leaves three more spots.

The remaining pool consists of Odom, Griffin, Harden, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon and No. 1 overall draft pick Anthony Davis.

Griffin and Odom were added as finalists specifically to give the team a shot at more size. One of them seems destined to make it. We'll go with Griffin. Odom's game is a better fit for international competition, but after his fiasco of a season in Dallas there's no telling what shape his body or his game is in. Griffin, meanwhile, can be a bruiser and he has received a contract extension so he shouldn't have any reservations for off-the-court reasons.

Two more spots.

Gay and Iguodala are nearly identical, but Iguodala has the edge because of his superior defense and versatility. He also had a better showing and bigger impact in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in which Team USA took gold.

One spot left.

It's not out of the question that the selection committee opts for another big man. But with Odom's potential issues, and Davis having not yet paid his dues, this final spot has as wing player written all over it.

Gordon is likely to get the nod.

Two summers ago, Gordon was the USA's second best 3-point threat after Durant. Gordon made 19-of-42 3-pointers, a 45.2 percent clip, and was the team's fourth leading scorer after Durant, Chauncey Billups and Westbrook. Gordon's athleticism also gives him an advantage since he can apply full-court pressure to opposing guards. Gordon, however, is up for a contract extension as a restricted free agent and his uncertain future could threaten his participation.

If it doesn't, Gordon's inclusion would leave Harden as one of the odd men out, along with Odom, Gay and Davis.

If our projection is accurate, it will mark the first time that three sets of teammates — Westbrook and Durant, Paul and Griffin and Anthony and Chandler — have competed on the same summer Olympic team.

We'll find out the actual roster during a selection show Saturday at 6 p.m. on NBA TV.

When the names are unveiled, don't expect to hear Harden's until 2016.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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