If I can take a minute to pry myself away from the Phillies...
That was highly embarrassing yesterday. I was working when it happened and elected not to watch the late night replay on ESPN2 for fear of the nightmares it may cause. The Sports Guy has a great column on the problems with the team and I could not agree with him more.
Obviously there were problems with players not wanting to go due to security reasons. This took away several of the US's best players (Kidd, TMac, KG). One thing that I think may have been overlooked is the selection of the coach.
Larry Brown is NOT a good coach for international rules. A great defensive coach, he loathes the three so much that his teams rarely shoot them. With the zones played in international ball, plus the closer three-point line, where are the shooters?
This team has none. There isn't one player on the team that is a great shooter. LeBron, Carmelo and/or Wade may be someday, but these guys are just young pups.
The selection committee simply went out and tried to market the jerseys and whatever other trinkets they could think of by giving spots on the team to 'names' and guys with 'style points'.
Has Stephon Marbury ever played on a truly good team?
I just read on ESPN.com that before canning the game-winner against Germany earlier today, Allen Iverson had NEVER made a buzzer-beater to win a game. Not in high school, not as a Hoya, not as a Sixer. Does anyone else find that odd for someone who has taken soooooo many shots in his lifetime? He's also the only player on the team to have ever taken part in the three-point shootout during all-star weekend.
Since there are no shooters, Team USA must have decided we should just out-bang the rest of the world, right? Guess again.
No size on this team, either.
Duncan is the only proven inside player. Okafor is a banger, but is untested at this level. Lamar Odom is small, but thin. A good player to match up with some of the international Nowitzki's and so forth, but not an great inside guy. Boozer is an inside guy, but is he any less undersized than he is in the NBA. And you have to sort of doubt him after backing out on his handshake agreement with the Gunds (you have to think that even though he'll say all the right things, LeBron must be seething about him jumping ship). This team could certainly use a Brad Miller, as the Sports Guy suggests. Granted KG and either of the O'Neals could fix this as well.
Had everyone agreed to play, there would be no doubt about this squad. Shaq, Duncan and KG in the frontcourt and Ray Allen and Kidd in the backcourt. Add in Michael Redd (not even invited, but can flat out fill it from the outside), Bibby and Rip Hamilton (asked, but he wasn't even close to making the speed dial on the selection committee phones) on the bench. Miller to set screens and pass, then a couple guys to hustle and dive on the floor.
With all the superstars turning things down, the US was left with guys who don't necessarily buy into the team game and go with more of a 'what do i have to do to get on SportsCenter' mentality.
I'll go on to say that I think the US gets a bit of a wake up call from the last two days and Larry Brown gets them to play some tight D. But I think this team is not suited well for anything other than marketing purposes and brings home the silver.