Lamar Odom makes Team USA' s roster
Lakers forward Lamar Odom was among 15 finalists who made Team USA's roster, the team announced Wednesday.
They will reassemble Aug. 9 in New York City and train there the following week before exhibition games against France (Aug. 15), Lithuania (Aug. 21), Spain (Aug. 22) and Greece (Aug. 25). The FIBA World Championship then begins Aug. 28 in Turkey, a tournament Team USA hasn't won since 1994.
"We have an unconventional team that we’re forming, but it’s still one that is built with great spirit, athleticism and a little bit more guard-oriented than most U.S. teams have been,” Team USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “I like their attitude. They all want to be on the USA team. They want to learn, and they’re willing to sacrifice for what’s best for the whole."
Krzyzewski's comments point up the fact that not one member of the 2008 Olympic team is participating in this year's tournament, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant among them, for various reasons including injury and fatigue. For Odom, making a roster spot further enhances his chances to play for the 2012 team in London and rectify his bronze finish in the 2004 Athens Olympics. It also allows him to continue getting back into shape, something Odom really feels he needs after taking time off following the Lakers' title run to rest his injured left shoulder and recuperate from fatigue.
Although Kevin Durant is assumed to be the leader of the team during the FIBA tournament, Odom's veteran presence and versatility bodes well for a team that's lacking its Beijing counterparts. Although it’s believed Odom has been asked to play some at center, he’ll also get to play at small forward, an adjustment he said he hoped to make next season with the Lakers because of the depth of their frontline.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom made the Team USA 15-man roster. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times