Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade are out of contention due to injuries, removing three players who started in the All-Star game. Miami Heat star Chris Bosh also dropped out after straining an abdominal muscle during the playoffs. The string of injuries leaves only 17 players competing for 12 roster spots.
Now, there are seven pure guards who could make the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team. The pure guards competing to make the team are Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams. Even with the injuries, this is an impressive pool of talent.
Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Deron Williams could all return and become repeat gold medalists, while players such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Tyson Chandler, and Kevin Love were part of the world championship team in 2010.
The U.S. has an impressive set of players at its disposal off the bench and, if necessary, they could all be impact players.
The U.S. is the favorite to win gold at the Games, and with no shortage of player at their disposal, Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo cannot go wrong in picking their team. Here are the 12 players who will likely make the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team roster.
Kobe Bryant - Guard, 6'6, Los Angeles Lakers
Few players have as much experience and determination as Kobe Bryant. Some have expressed concern for his 33-year-old body, but he managed to withstand the season with 30 points per game in the 2012 playoffs.
Tyson Chandler - Center, 7'1, New York Knicks
Tyson Chandler is the only center on the list of potential U.S. players. His disciplined defensive abilities will balance out a team mainly predicated on offensive power. He averaged 9.9 rebounds per game in the 2012 regular season and 1.4 blocks, and will be brought in to protect the rim.
Chris Paul - Guard, 6'0, Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul was a member of the 2008 Olympic team, so he also knows what it takes to win at the Olympics. This season, he hit 19.8 points along with 9.1 assists per game. He also performed well under pressure, scoring more than 20 points in four of 11 playoff games.
Kevin Durant - Guard, 6'9, Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant is the ideal player for international basketball because of his remarkable jump shot. He'll surely be the top scorer. Durant helped the U.S. earn the gold medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. The forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder is a 3-time NBA scoring champion and a 3-time All NBA First Team member. He has helped the Thunder reach the NBA finals as the NBA's leading scorer.
Kevin Love - Forward, 6'10, Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Love is one of the best rebounders on the potential roster. With his large frame and underrated passing skills, he would be a valuable asset to Team USA.
Carmelo Anthony - Forward, 6'8, New York Knicks
Anthony was among the 2008 Olympic champions. He can score with the best of them and while Durant and LeBron are on the bench, he could be a great backup option on offense.
Deron Williams - Guard, 6'3, Brooklyn Nets
An experienced player from the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, the 6'3 guard from the Brooklyn Nets will likely make the teams once again. He averaged 21 points in the 2011-12 regular season and is another remarkable backup option on offense.
LeBron James - Forward, 6'8, Miami Heat
After getting his first NBA championship ring, LeBron James is set to claim his second Olympic gold medal with Team USA in London. He is undeniably one of the best and helped carry the Heat to their second NBA Championship title with an average of 30.3 points per game.
Russell Westbrook - Guard, 6'3, Oklahoma City Thunder
Westbrook represented the U.S. in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, where he won a gold medal. This young, 6'3 guard for the Thunder already has experience playing in pressure moments on the NBA's biggest stage and the world stage. He scored a playoff career high of 43 points, while shooting 20-32 from the field in Game Four of the NBA Finals.
James Harden - Guard, 6'5, Oklahoma City Thunder
Despite his less-than-perfect performance in the NBA Finals, Harden was impressive in the 2011-12 season, averaging 16.8 points in 31.4 minutes per game, playing only 2 of 62 games as a starter.
Rudy Gay - Forward, 6'8, Memphis Grizzlies
Rudy Gay helped the USA win gold at the 2010 FIBA World, averaging 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.00 steals in 13.4 minutes in nine games. In January, Gay tied as the franchise's all-time steals leader with 523 steals, and ended the 2011-12 season with an average of 19 points per game.
Blake Griffin - Forward, 6'10, Los Angeles Clippers
Griffin's game is based on his size and athleticism. While effective at times in the NBA, this game is neutralized by the rules of FIBA basketball. Regardless, his size will be valuable for Team USA's roster.