Jul 9 2012 1:19PM

The 2012 All-World Team


Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
2012 USA Basketball Men's National Team surrounded by head coach Mike Krzyzewski (left) and USAB chairman Jerry Colangelo: (L-R, top row) Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, LeBron James; (L-R, front row) Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, Kobe Bryant

With the final three basketball teams qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics this weekend--congrats Lithuania, Russia and Nigeria!--we now have entered that part of the year where NBA and world basketball merge.

That's right! Olympics basketball is upon us, with international scrimmages beginning Thursday.

Because of that, I thought I'd take a look at all these medaling kids and then create an All-World 2012 team, based on players who had past medal success in either the Olympics or FIBA World Championship basketball.

So without further ado, here are the best basketball players in the international game ...

ALL-WORLD 2012 FIRST TEAM

F-C Pau Gasol, Spain, 32: Gasol was the main reason second-ranked Spain won the gold medal in 2006 and silver in 2008, with the big man averaging 27 minutes, 20 points and 8 rebounds, with a phenomenal .659 true shooting percentage in the two tournaments.

F LeBron James, USA, 27: Top-ranked USA Basketball got supreme offensive and defensive contributions at the 2008 Olympics from James, who led his team to the gold while averaging 25 minutes, 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, with an incredible .663 true shooting percentage. He also earned bronze medals at the 2006 Worlds and 2004 Olympics, averaging 14 points and 5 points, respectively.

F Kevin Durant, USA, 23: Durant won 2010 FIBA World Championship MVP honors while leading USA Basketball to a 9-0 gold-medal finish, averaging 23 points and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes per game, while posting a lethal .693 true shooting percentage.

G Kobe Bryant, USA, 33: Bryant relished the role as defensive stopper in helping USA Basketball win the gold at the 2008 Olympics, but he did also average 24 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists, with a .544 true shooting percentage.

G Manu Ginobili, Argentina, 34: Ginobili is perhaps the most-decorated international player of the 21st Century, leading Argentina to a gold (2004 Olympics), silver (2002 Worlds) and bronze (2008 Olympics), averaging 19, 14 and 18 points, respectively, for third-ranked Argentina's three medal-winning teams.

ALL-WORLD 2012 SECOND TEAM

C Marc Gasol, Spain, 27: Pau's little bigger brother Marc was a contributing role player at ages 21 and 23 on Spain's 2006 World gold-medal and 2008 Olympics silver-medal winning teams, averaging 13 and 18 minutes per game, respectively. Gasol's time increased at 2010 Worlds, averaging 24 minutes, 13 points and 6 rebounds, with a .598 true shooting percentage.

F-C Luis Scola, Argentina, 32: Just like Ginobili, Scola has been a huge part of La Generacion Dorada--Argentina's "Golden Generation"--winning a gold (2004 Olympics), silver (2002 Worlds) and bronze (2008 Olympics), while becoming the team's leading scorer and rebounder at 2010 Worlds (27 points and 8 rebounds) and 2008 Olympics (19 points and 7 rebounds).

F Carmelo Anthony, USA, 28: Anthony was a scoring machine on the 2008 Olympics gold-medal USA Basketball team, averaging 19 minutes, 12 points and 4 rebounds, with a .599 true shooting percentage. He also earned bronze medals at the 2006 Worlds and 2004 Olympics, averaging 20 points and 2 points, respectively.

G Juan Carlos Navarro, Spain, 32: Navarro was a double-digit scorer on Spain's 2006 World gold-medal team and 2008 Olympics silver-medal teams (10 points per game), and became an even bigger contributor at 2010 Worlds, averaging 17 points in 24 minutes per game, with a .627 true shooting percentage.

G Chris Paul, USA, 27: Paul was the main point guard on the 2008 Olympics gold-medal winning team, averaging 22 minutes, 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and only 1 turnover per game, with a .659 true shooting percentage. He also earned a bronze at the 2006 Worlds, averaging 7 points and 5 assists.

ALL-WORLD 2012 THIRD TEAM

C Tyson Chandler, USA: Chandler played sparingly on USA's 2010 Worlds gold-medal winning team, splitting time with Kevin Love as Lamar Odom's backup at the center position. He did get 24 rebounds and 5 blocks in 76 minutes during the nine games.

F Linas Kleiza, Lithuania, 27: Fifth-ranked Lithuania relies on Kleiza for big scoring, which the 2010 Worlds all-tourney forward supplied in bulk during his team's bronze-medal run, averaging 31 minutes, 19 points and 7 rebounds, with a .607 true shooting percentage.

F-G Carlos Delfino, Argentina: With Ginobili missing the 2010 Worlds for family reasons, Delfino--who won a gold with Argentina's 2004 Olympics team and bronze with the 2008 Olympics team--picked up the scoring slack, averaging 21 points and 5 rebounds in 36 minutes per game, with a .602 true shooting percentage.

G Russell Westbrook, USA, 23: Westbrook got his gold at the 2010 Worlds as one of the top five USA Basketball minutemen, averaging 9 points in 19 minutes per game, with a .562 true shooting percentage.

G Deron Williams, USA, 28: Williams was one of the top 5 USA Basketball minutemen on the 2008 Olympics gold-medal winning squad, averaging 19 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists, with a .567 true shooting percentage.