SAITAMA, Japan -- It's time to close the book on the 2006 version of Team USA and take a look into the future in an effort to determine what the 2007 team might look like.
Because the Americans failed to win the World Championship and the automatic berth in the 2008 Olympics that comes with it, they must attempt to qualify for Beijing at the Tournament of the Americas, tentatively scheduled to be held in Venezuela next August, needing to finish first or second to secure a berth. Should they fail, they would have one last chance to qualify in early July of 2008, one month before the Olympics.
Team director Jerry Colangelo said after the U.S. team's loss to Greece that he did not expect to make major changes to the roster, though he indicated size and strength were areas of concern.
"Maybe in the makeup of our team from a physical standpoint, the physicality was a factor tonight," he said, adding that the coaching staff likely will have to alter its basic defensive format.
The Americans abandoned their full-court traps early in the tournament and stuck with a pressure man-to-man scheme throughout, a strategy that paid dividends against weaker clubs but wasn't as effective against tougher competition. The Americans also never played zone, and Dwyane Wade questioned after the Greece loss why the coaches hadn't at least tried it when they were getting picked apart by the pick-and-roll play.
"We have a lot of work to do. And again, we have to build on what transpired here. There were a lot of good things, and there are some things we're going to have to do a little better," Colangelo said.
"You can throw a lot of great players together, but if they don't have a lot of time, I mean years together, it comes back to bite you potentially. So we want to keep a lot of our players together and learn from this experience."
So just what will Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski do with the roster next summer when all 12 of these players will be back in camp?
Don't forget, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Chauncey Billups, Lamar Odom, Michael Redd, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Gilbert Arenas and Bruce Bowen are on the national team roster, too. If six of those players are added to the 12-man roster for next summer's tournament, that would represent a 50 percent turnover.
And with Colangelo saying he wanted to change only "a couple" of spots, there is a numbers game going on here that's going to leave more than a few players out of the mix.
So here is a look at the current 12-man roster and the players on the larger national roster, along with their chances of representing the United States next summer.