Back in April when the first waves of defections off the USA Basketballroster took place, I took a stab at projectingthe final men's basketball Olympic roster.Now that Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Derrick Rose have joined Dwight Howardand LaMarcus Aldridge on the sidelines, another projection is required. Sincethe actual 12-man roster will be revealed during a televised announcement onSaturday night, my final projection comes now.For starters, here's the way I saw things nearly three months ago..Forward: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, LeBronJamesGuard: Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade,Russell Westbrook, Deron WilliamsCenter: Tyson Chandler, Kevin LoveScratch Rose (knee) and Wade (upcoming knee surgery) from the roster along with Bosh, whosuffered an abdominal injury during the Miami Heat's run to the NBA title. Everyone else is good to go. Team USA is therefore loaded in the backcourtand on the wings, but light inside and could use another perimeter shooter.The final three spots come down to six players: Blake Griffin, AndreIguodala, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, James Harden and Anthony Davis, thelast two added to the main core after the spate of bumps and bruises (andworse). Though any combination would not be surprising, let's break it downinto the likely position battles...Backcourt, Gordon vs. Harden...A career 37 percent shooterfrom beyond the 3-point arc, Gordon is an obvious fit especially in theinternational game. Obviously, the likes of Bryant, Love and Williams have deeprange, but only Durant compares to the four-year guard as a pure shooter.Harden has familiarity with two already on the team - his Thunder teammatesDurant and Westbrook . The craftybearded onehas shown the ability to blend in as arole player, a nice niche on a team loaded with alpha males. Of the variousbattles, I see this pair making it over the others, but...advantage,Gordon.Small forward, Gay vs. Iguodala...If Coach K wants anotherwing scorer, Gay is the call. If the feeling is the roster lacks a defensivepresence on the perimeter, the 76ers star gets the nod. On a team with Durant,Bryant, Anthony not to mention James and a host of leading scorer candidates onany given night (not counting Chandler), offense is not an issue. Seems clearif it's a true head-to-head, the pick should be the guy best equipped when itcomes to stopping others from scoring...advantage, Iguodala.Inside force, Griffin vs. Davis...Considering only Chandlerand Love classify as true big men, it's seems like a lock one of these twomake the final cut. It's just not the one you would expect. Yes, Griffin's NBAprofile as a ferocious dunker makesthe Poster Childa nightly highlight real fixture andone reportsuggests his spot among the final 12 is secure. That's fine, but I'd gowith the shot blocking kid with the famous unibrow. Even if Davis does notscore a single point, his presence as a defender and rebounder outweighsanything Griffin, inconsistent in both of those areas, is likely to contribute.Unless the Kentucky product's injured ankle is worse than expected...advantage,Davis.
The Wizards head to the West Coast to open a road swing against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
Wizards (0-2) are looking for their first win when the head into Portland to face Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers (2-0).
After this game, the Wizards have a tough stretch ahead of them before playing in D.C. again, playing at: Golden State, Sacramento, LA (Lakers) and Memphis.
WIZARDS vs. TRAIL BLAZERS HOW TO WATCH
What: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat, 2018 NBA regular season Game 3
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
When: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Wizards vs. Trail Blazers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)
Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Trail Blazers on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the new MyTeams App.
Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM
WIZARDS vs. TRAIL BLAZERS TV SCHEDULE
8:30 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)
9:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)
9:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)
10:00 PM: Wizards @ Portland Trail Blazers (LIVE)
WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS INJURY REPORT:
Wizards: Dwight Howard remains day-to-day with a back injury.
Trail Blazers: None
WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bradley Beal, Wizards: After becoming the Wizards franchise leader in 3 points on Saturday, it is likely Beal will have a lot to prove to help the team get its first win.
Otto Porter, Jr., Wizards: Porter has had a slow start, so will he take more shots in Portland?
Damian Lillard, Portland: The Blazers' star is leading the way this season averaging 28.5 ppg and 6.5 assists per game.
WIZARDS vs. BLAZERS SERIES HISTORY
Number of all-time Meetings: 111 games
Regular Season Record: Blazers lead 57-54
Last Meeting: Wizards won 106-92 in December 2017
Due to an ongoing buttocks injury, Dwight Howard is listed as "out" for the Wizards' Monday night game in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Howard did not travel out west with the team for the five-game trip, according to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller.
The news comes just four days after Wizards head coach Scott Brooks told the media that Howard would "definitely" make the trip.
The veteran power forward was signed to the Wizards on a two-year free-agent deal in July worth $11 million, but has missed the Wizards' first two games of the regular season and all five of the team's preseason games.
In Howard's absence, Brooks has turned to Ian Mahinmi, but his foul trouble has proved worrisome for the Wizards' lineup so far.
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