Team USA Basketball: Predicting the Starting Lineup and Bench Rotation

No Kobe.  No LeBron.  No D-Wade.  In fact, remember that gold medal run at the 2008 Olympics?  Throw the whole thing out.  As Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski build the next hoops team that will represent America, they are doing so from scratch, with no one returning from the winning squad from Beijing.

So who's on this new team?  The candidates have been winnowed to 13, meaning one more will have to go when the music stops on August 27.  That's the day before the FIBA World Championships kick off in Turkey and final rosters are due.  Here are the USA's 13 finalists:

Chauncey Billups
Tyson Chandler
Stephen Curry
Kevin Durant
Rudy Gay
Eric Gordon
Danny Granger
Andre Iguodala
Kevin Love
Lamar Odom
Rajon Rondo
Derrick Rose
Russell Westbrook

The team has recently played a series of "friendlies," the latest of which came Sunday with a close and rugged win over Spain in Madrid.  If you look at the stats from the Spain game, you'll probably extrapolate that Gordon is the odd man out here. And you'd be right.  He was in something of a dogfight with Stephen Curry for the last spot, and it seems Curry, despite ankle issues, has Coach K's favor. 

Assuming that's the correct assumption, now on to the starters. 

At the one, with two icy free throws on Sunday, Rose seemed to put the frosting on his case for top point guard. 

Meanwhile, to reprise a well-worn theme for international hoops fans, shooting is everything. Accounting for that, and then adding in his demonstrated leadership skills, advantage Billups at the two guard position.  Rondo and Westbrook will spark the action off the bench.

At this point, it should...

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