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Team USA Olympic Basketball Thread


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#1 dolomite133


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Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:28 AM

Thought I'd start this while watching the US vs. Australia in the final friendly before the start of the Olympic games. Australia has somehow worked themselves back into this game to get within 51-58 with 2:34 remaining in the third quarter. And this without Bogut (who is resting a sore ankle). The American broadcasters are abolutely ballwashing Kobe and James, especially Kobe.

Personally I find it hard to root for Team USA. Not sure if it's because they are led by Coach K, or if the team is stacked with players I rooted against all season, some of whom I can't stand in Kobe and LeBron. Maybe if Pierce or KG were out there I would be thinking differently.

Australia sure has got a lot of skinny, tall white guys out there now. Didn't the Aussies have that point guard Gazes that got in everyone's face the last Olympic games?

Edited by dolomite133, 05 August 2008 - 08:32 AM.


#2 shane88888

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 02:16 PM

NBC's Announcing Line-up:

BASKETBALL:
Mike Breen, Play-by-play
Chris Carrino, Play-by-play
Mike Crispino, Play-by-play
Pete Pranica, Play-by-play
Eric Collins, Play-by-play
Teresa Edwards, Analyst
Doug Collins, Analyst
Ann Meyers, Analyst
Bob Salmi, Analyst
Craig Sager, Reporter

http://awfulannounci...rs-updated.html

- Pretty boring. I don't think NBC will allow Sager his awful sportcoats.
- I'm also gonna have a bit of a tough time really rooting for this team with Mamba, Kidd, and LBJ leading the way and a bonus unhelping of Coach K. I do like Bosh, Williams, Redd, D'Antoni, McMillan, and Paul.
- I think Melo is going to be the most important player for the U.S., but he seems like he might be the biggest ass of the bunch.
- Dywyaynye Wade sure looks good. He's going to be a problem this upcoming year.
- If this team is going to lose a game, it will involve Jason Kidd getting far too many minutes. And, of course, some truly creative officiating.

#3 dolomite133


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Posted 05 August 2008 - 03:03 PM

Pretty lame basketball broadcast team. Sager makes me cringe as a sideline guy, still not sure how he keeps that job. Too bad Jeff Van Gundy and Marc Jackson aren't along for the ride.

#4 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 05 August 2008 - 04:22 PM

As many of you know, I've been following/rooting hard for this bunch since it was put together three years ago. I always felt the biggest reason they lost in international play was because they were facing TEAMS.......while they were a group. Unless you have vastly superior talent, a team of basketball players beats a group of basketball players every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Well this is a team now........they've been together for a long period of time, they have defined roles, they trust each other on both ends of the court. Now will that be enough to beat a team like Greece? Who knows, but its gonna be damn fun to find out. A few random thoughts about this team and the Olympics:

The concern about Kidd getting too many minutes is valid and frankly it scares the shit out of me. To be honest, based on this teams roster and needs, he probably should be getting DNP CD'd more often than not. But he's their "leader" and this is one of the drawbacks of being a "team".....you don't just sit the leader of the team because someone else might be a better option. Not if thats gonna disrupt the team chemistry with the other guys. It means something that the team believes in this guy. Stay tuned.

I would have liked it if they kept Mike Miller over Teshaun Prince, but I'm fine with Micheal Redd and his role. The FIBA three point line is like a layup to him, and I think he's gonna thrive when teams go zone.

I'm concerned if USA's defensive style of "all pressure all the time" will bite them in the ass against the elite teams. Elite FIBA teams seem to WANT you to pressure them....they backdoor cut almost instinctively, at least MUCH better than NBA players do. They better have a plan B, but Coach Kaye doesn't seem like the type to have a plan B, especially defensively. If they lose in China it will be because their pressure defense backfired.

I've loved watching Bryant, Williams, Paul and Anthony play FIBA ball. They were just BORN to play this style. Kidd also........five years ago. I'm still not 100% convinced about Lebron James and Wade though. They just seem to get bogged down by the smaller court. James played very well in the Qualifiying tournament so maybe I'm wrong. Howard will thrive against crappy teams and become invisible against the better ones. Bosh will probably end up playing crunch time minutes in the medal rounds.

The FIBA ball, like almost everything else about their bullshit organization, is a fucking abomination. Its slippery, it bounces too high and its smaller than a "regular" one. Its excruciating to watch the ball carom off twenty feet on three pointers constantly throughout the game.

I think this team is gonna do well. Unlike others I do NOT think this team is the favorites. There is just too large a sample size of failure the last ten years to dismiss it as anything other than legit. That said, I think they've taken the right approach here, and this team will NOT be overconfident in this tournament. I'm hoping for silver or gold.

Edited by Rocco Graziosa, 05 August 2008 - 10:19 PM.


#5 2SeamLockup

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:45 PM

Ok, I was at this game last night and what I saw was a lot of defensive mismatches created by Aussie pick and roll/pop plays that the US team never figured out. Paddy Mills was like greased lightning. I distinctly remember maybe 3 or 4 times that he got a wide open lane or got a teammate a wide open lane to drive.

Ultimately, I'm not worried about the US offense. They won't shoot that bad from 3 in the real tournament. But defense, as I'm sure we've all heard, is a mindset and a committment that wasn't much in evidence last night. Late rotations on nearly every play. When the US went up by 15 in the 2nd, it was because they tightened up and played good defense for about 4 minutes, especially LeBron, who took over a brief stretch of the game. In the 2nd half, Chris Paul helped control the tempo, but I can't remember how many times I saw Deron Williams get burned on a switch, leaving him against Antsey, like on that little scoop shot. I was a little disappointed in 'Melo as well, he looked great at everything he did, but his shooting touch was just a little off and his rotations weren't all that they could've been. Wade was awesome, and really saved the team in the 3rd Q.

Last thing: the 1st Q was full of US turnovers that drove me up the wall. Take care of the ball, rotate defensively, box out and make the extra pass. This game was won with the US playing awful, and I hope that it was just a before-the-real-games-start game and not a sign of things to come.

#6 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 05 August 2008 - 10:31 PM

Last thing: the 1st Q was full of US turnovers that drove me up the wall. Take care of the ball, rotate defensively, box out and make the extra pass. This game was won with the US playing awful, and I hope that it was just a before-the-real-games-start game and not a sign of things to come.


First off, welcome 2seam. Great first post.

Second, I honestly believe this was a "just before the games start" lack of focus and nothing more. This team is READY. They've waited 3 years for this, and I'm sure they're sick of playing meaningless games. I know I've seen the Boston Celtics turn in some stinkers in the preseason and never batted an eye. Same thing here. If this was one of the "lets take the best players, throw them together for a month and assume we'll win gold" teams of the past I would worry. Thankfully thats not the case.

On to Beijing............

#7 Tokyo Sox


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Posted 05 August 2008 - 11:43 PM

First off, welcome 2seam. Great first post.

Second, I honestly believe this was a "just before the games start" lack of focus and nothing more. This team is READY. They've waited 3 years for this, and I'm sure they're sick of playing meaningless games. I know I've seen the Boston Celtics turn in some stinkers in the preseason and never batted an eye. Same thing here. If this was one of the "lets take the best players, throw them together for a month and assume we'll win gold" teams of the past I would worry. Thankfully thats not the case.

On to Beijing............


I hope you're right Rocco, b/c the exact same thing was evident when I saw them play Friday in Macau, except for a lot longer than 1Q. No facet of their game really looked exceptional. They seemed to be at the basket before they knew it and had several turnovers on what should have been easy fast break passes. That said, they ended up beating Lithuania by about 35.

#8 wade boggs chicken dinner


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Posted 06 August 2008 - 09:19 AM

I'm concerned if USA's defensive style of "all pressure all the time" will bite them in the ass against the elite teams. Elite FIBA teams seem to WANT you to pressure them....they backdoor cut almost instinctively, at least MUCH better than NBA players do. They better have a plan B, but Coach Kaye doesn't seem like the type to have a plan B, especially defensively. If they lose in China it will be because their pressure defense backfired.

I've watched the first two games (and have the 3rd game on tape) and I agree completely with this. I think the problem has been - even from John Thompson in 1988 - is that the US does not respect the athleticism of other teams. The international game has improved to the point that teams can deal with pressure defense. Also, most of the US players gamble way too much, and it results in open shot after open shot, which negates all of the turnovers they may force. Plus, they have Boeheim on the bench; I would have thought they'd play more zone at least to make other teams prepare for it.

The inconsistent defense combined with the lack of interior scoring I think means that if the US has a bad shooting night, they will not win.

Which means, the more I think about it, is that the US team is playing a lot like Coach K's recent Duke vintages - pressure defense; rely on the 3-point shot; steamroll over lesser teams; get deep in the tournament but lose when they meet a team that doesn't turn the ball over and they have a bad shooting night.

Yuck.

#9 shane88888

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:52 PM

I enjoyed this piece from Kelly Dwyer (whose tone seems to be becoming more and more Charley Rosenesque):

http://sports.yahoo....u?urn=nba,98588

Glad he mentioned a personal pet peeve of mine - the long-range fall-away jumper (though I'd prefer that Kobe never figures out that it's a lousy shot).


Much has been made about teams like Lithuania not showing their full arsenal of schemes in these tune-up games. I haven't seen anyone mention that USA Basketball might not have shown their hand either, particularly at the defensive end. Boeheim is there for a reason, right? Right? Please?

#10 Captaincoop


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Posted 06 August 2008 - 04:54 PM

I've watched the first two games (and have the 3rd game on tape) and I agree completely with this. I think the problem has been - even from John Thompson in 1988 - is that the US does not respect the athleticism of other teams. The international game has improved to the point that teams can deal with pressure defense. Also, most of the US players gamble way too much, and it results in open shot after open shot, which negates all of the turnovers they may force. Plus, they have Boeheim on the bench; I would have thought they'd play more zone at least to make other teams prepare for it.

The inconsistent defense combined with the lack of interior scoring I think means that if the US has a bad shooting night, they will not win.

Which means, the more I think about it, is that the US team is playing a lot like Coach K's recent Duke vintages - pressure defense; rely on the 3-point shot; steamroll over lesser teams; get deep in the tournament but lose when they meet a team that doesn't turn the ball over and they have a bad shooting night.

Yuck.


The obvious difference is that Coach K's recent Duke teams have not had a massive talent advantage over all of their opponents. This team is the most talented team in the Olympics by far - maybe not the best "team" but certainly the most talented group of players.

#11 southshoresoxfan

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 05:07 PM

The obvious difference is that Coach K's recent Duke teams have not had a massive talent advantage over all of their opponents. This team is the most talented team in the Olympics by far - maybe not the best "team" but certainly the most talented group of players.


They have been every year.

This team is not winning a gold with JKidd at PG...just will not happen, these other teams will sag off and make him shoot jumpers, kind of the way i play the Mavs in NBA Live.

#12 Captaincoop


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Posted 06 August 2008 - 05:24 PM

They have been every year.

This team is not winning a gold with JKidd at PG...just will not happen, these other teams will sag off and make him shoot jumpers, kind of the way i play the Mavs in NBA Live.


I'm not saying that pure talent wins gold medals - 2004 certainly disproved that. But the comparison to Duke is not very helpful, IMHO, because this team has a dominant level of talent.

As to the point about Jason Kidd - I feel very confident that this team can win the gold with Kidd at PG: I'd rather have an A+ ballhandler with questionable shooting skills running the point in international play than an A+ shooter with questionable PG skills (see: Athens, 2004). And if it can't win with Kidd, Coach K has the best PG on the planet waiting in the wings anyway. You have to be confident about this squad; I consider the USA Hoops FIBA debacles of 2002 and 2004 to be learning experiences (painful learning experiences, but learning experiences nonetheless) moreso than signs of decline. The world clearly made adjustments and improvements following the 1992-1996-2000 USA Olympic gold medals; USA Basketball has counter-adjusted since 2004 and is in position to take back the gold this summer. I believe that 100%.

#13 shane88888

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 06:23 PM

A+ shooter with questionable PG skills (see: Athens, 2004).


There may have been an A+ scorer (though not in my opinion), there certainly weren't ANY A+ shooters, at any position, on that 2004 team. That was their biggest problem.

#14 eddiew112

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 09:37 PM

The concern about Kidd getting too many minutes is valid and frankly it scares the shit out of me.

Normally, I would agree, but I doubt that any of the PG's were are facing will be athletic enough to exploit this potential mismatch (unless we are facing Spain).

To me, the US team is far and away more athletic than any other team out there. I think that we will see its full defensive force once the real games start. Hell, they could get away with playing defense for only half the game and still beat almost every team in this tournament.

Elite FIBA teams seem to WANT you to pressure them....they backdoor cut almost instinctively, at least MUCH better than NBA players do.


Great point. This can be so easily fixed. I am sure you know this because your a coach Rocco, but at all levels of basketball you are taught to close out and end up AN ARMS LENGTH AWAY. That way, when he tries to backdoor you, you can react and knock his ass into the wall.

#15 Captaincoop


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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:06 PM

There may have been an A+ scorer (though not in my opinion), there certainly weren't ANY A+ shooters, at any position, on that 2004 team. That was their biggest problem.


That's a great point- poor choice of words on my part. But I would certainly consider both Iverson and Marbury (circa 2004) as very good scorers.

Edited by Captaincoop, 06 August 2008 - 11:07 PM.


#16 dividius

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 12:09 AM

This team is not winning a gold with JKidd at PG...just will not happen, these other teams will sag off and make him shoot jumpers, kind of the way i play the Mavs in NBA Live.


I hope they have the sense to put Deron or Paul out there at crunch time. They're both much better than Kidd at this point in their careers.

If they go down with Kidd as their main PG, it would be heartbreaking. Fuck geezer leaders. I want the best players to get the most minutes.

Edit - How the hell did I forget about Paul? Jeesh.

Edited by dividius, 07 August 2008 - 12:52 AM.


#17 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 07 August 2008 - 12:24 PM

Great point. This can be so easily fixed. I am sure you know this because your a coach Rocco, but at all levels of basketball you are taught to close out and end up AN ARMS LENGTH AWAY. That way, when he tries to backdoor you, you can react and knock his ass into the wall.


The problem is, good FIBA teams, with quick players, cut back door instinctively the second they see that arm come up to deny the pass. THATS what burns this type of defense and up til now I've seen no evidence team USA would make an adjustment and NOT deny one pass away. Or at least change things up for a few possessions with a zone. This can work because when you go back to the deny one pass away defense the opponent can be a bit subdued after playing against a non pressure zone. I have this nagging fear that in the biggest game of the tournament they're going to give up 4 or 5 massively important buckets to back door cuts. I hope I'm wrong.

Edit: FWIW what USA has done so far to combat aggressive backdoor cuts is rotating defensively on the cutter and making steals. This works maginificantly against lesser opponents but it could lead to layups against good teams who will find the open man on the defensive rotation.

Edited by Rocco Graziosa, 07 August 2008 - 12:27 PM.


#18 eddiew112

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 12:47 PM

The problem is, good FIBA teams, with quick players, cut back door instinctively the second they see that arm come up to deny the pass. THATS what burns this type of defense and up til now I've seen no evidence team USA would make an adjustment and NOT deny one pass away. Or at least change things up for a few possessions with a zone. This can work because when you go back to the deny one pass away defense the opponent can be a bit subdued after playing against a non pressure zone. I have this nagging fear that in the biggest game of the tournament they're going to give up 4 or 5 massively important buckets to back door cuts. I hope I'm wrong.

Edit: FWIW what USA has done so far to combat aggressive backdoor cuts is rotating defensively on the cutter and making steals. This works maginificantly against lesser opponents but it could lead to layups against good teams who will find the open man on the defensive rotation.


I would assume that is why they have Boeheim on the staff. This team is long and athletic, perfect for Boeheim's aggressive 2-3. Even though I am morally opposed to the idea of a 2-3, the USA could certainly roll that out to force teams to make an adjustment. I can imagine that Tayshaun, Carmelo, and LeBron would be fantastic preventing the three on the wing closeout or trapping in the corner, and that the Paul/Williams/Kidd combinaton would be able to feast on the passing lanes.

Honestly, I just think the USA needs to run a couple of hours of Shell where any player who is one pass away attempts to make a basket cut. You need to put it into these guys minds that they can get burned with a tactic that is not very prevalent in the NBA.

EDIT: That still does not address the idea for a non aggressive zone. Wouldn't it be great if they pulled a 1-3-1 out of their ass?

Edited by eddiew112, 07 August 2008 - 12:49 PM.


#19 wade boggs chicken dinner


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Posted 07 August 2008 - 02:01 PM

Chris Sheridan's take.

The world clearly made adjustments and improvements following the 1992-1996-2000 USA Olympic gold medals; USA Basketball has counter-adjusted since 2004 and is in position to take back the gold this summer. I believe that 100%.

Hope you're right, but quite frankly, I didn't see a lot of the adjustments in the first two exhibition games. Saw lots of open looks from the Euros; not very efficient half-court offense; and a non-existant inside game. You really that sure that the talent differential is so great that the US take pressure defense and three-point shooting and win the Gold?

EDIT: That still does not address the idea for a non aggressive zone. Wouldn't it be great if they pulled a 1-3-1 out of their ass?


I would love them to see them play Dean Smith's half-court trapping defense. Even an aggressive match-up zone would be a great defense for them to play.

Edited by wade boggs chicken dinner, 07 August 2008 - 02:27 PM.


#20 Captaincoop


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Posted 07 August 2008 - 04:47 PM

Chris Sheridan's take.
Hope you're right, but quite frankly, I didn't see a lot of the adjustments in the first two exhibition games. Saw lots of open looks from the Euros; not very efficient half-court offense; and a non-existant inside game. You really that sure that the talent differential is so great that the US take pressure defense and three-point shooting and win the Gold?
I would love them to see them play Dean Smith's half-court trapping defense. Even an aggressive match-up zone would be a great defense for them to play.


I am not referring to X-and-O adjustments, I mean they adjusted the whole USA Basketball model. We have top-tier NBA talent on this team, and they have played together far more than the 2004 team (or any previous Team USA comprised of NBA players) did before the Olympic Games. This team wasn't just thrown together; they've had time to develop some cohesion and to understand the coaching staff's schemes. That should make the difference.

As for the X's and O's, I would not play much zone defense unless some really specific situation calls for it during the tournament. When you have faster, stronger, longer players than your opponents, why give all of those advantages up and sit back in a zone? Especially against teams that are loaded with three-point killers? I would press the living hell out of these teams, get the ball out of the hands of their PGs as much as possible, and see how their wings and big men handle the ball. With the speed and athleticism on Team USA, that will lead to plenty of turnovers when the real games start, especially against the non-elite teams. Plus that lets this team get a larger portion of its offensive looks from transition - and with Kidd, James, and Kobe in the starting five, that should be a very good thing.

When teams have multiple excellent ballhandlers on the floor, and they're getting layups against your full or 3/4 court pressure, you pull it back and play good, solid Man-to-Man all the way out to the arc. If any team in this tournament can beat Team USA playing that way, then you tip your cap to them. I don't see it happening. This isn't the 2004 team, I really believe that guys like James, Kobe, Wade, etc. are capable of bearing down defensively and shutting teams down in the halfcourt. Call me nuts, but I actually like that they aren't going to have a big shotblocking center to rely on to bail out perimeter guys who give up on cuts and drives. Because inevitably in FIBA, that big center gets in foul trouble and the whole defense falls apart. This team will have five guys who can each defend their man.

edit: And with all that being said...if Team USA doesn't win Gold this year, I will give up and admit that the talent gap is no longer big enough for our coddled millionaires to beat teams that are precisely drilled in their offensive and defensive sets and play hard for the entire game. I'm hoping I don't have to do that (at least until 2012).

Edited by Captaincoop, 07 August 2008 - 04:57 PM.


#21 wade boggs chicken dinner


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Posted 07 August 2008 - 09:56 PM

When you have faster, stronger, longer players than your opponents, why give all of those advantages up and sit back in a zone? Especially against teams that are loaded with three-point killers?

Honest to God, I hope you are right but to me, the problem with this reasoning is that defense - basketball, for that matter - is no longer about one-on-one matchups but how a team works in unison. The problem with playing straight-up, man-to-man pressure defense is that the US hasn't been together long enough to be on the same page. The rotations are late if someone gets beat, and from the exhibitions (maybe K has something he hasn't shown yet, but why would that be the case) the US still doesn't have the team defense necessary to stop the pick-and-roll.

I think it's easier to teach zone in a short period of time than the intricacies of pressure defense.

You know Spain has like 7 NBA'ers on their roster, right? (Gasol, Gasol, Navarro, Calderon, Garbajosa, Fernandez, and Rodriguez) and a potential top-10 draft choice? If the US is going to win the Gold, the issue isn't how to blow out non-elite teams, it's how to win the medal rounds.

#22 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 07 August 2008 - 10:10 PM

Honest to God, I hope you are right but to me, the problem with this reasoning is that defense - basketball, for that matter - is no longer about one-on-one matchups but how a team works in unison. The problem with playing straight-up, man-to-man pressure defense is that the US hasn't been together long enough to be on the same page. The rotations are late if someone gets beat, and from the exhibitions (maybe K has something he hasn't shown yet, but why would that be the case) the US still doesn't have the team defense necessary to stop the pick-and-roll.

I think it's easier to teach zone in a short period of time than the intricacies of pressure defense.

You know Spain has like 7 NBA'ers on their roster, right? (Gasol, Gasol, Navarro, Calderon, Garbajosa, Fernandez, and Rodriguez) and a potential top-10 draft choice? If the US is going to win the Gold, the issue isn't how to blow out non-elite teams, it's how to win the medal rounds.



Uh, you do know this team has basically been playing together for three years right? This team has NOT been hastily put together. I don't disagree that they're not perfect at rotating, but the C's were able to get it together in a MUCH shorter time than this team has been together.

Edit: Your damn right about Spain though. They're fucking legit, and probably a smidge better of a FIBA team than USA. Ditto Greece. They lose to either of those two teams and it will NOT be an upset.

Edited by Rocco Graziosa, 07 August 2008 - 10:18 PM.


#23 wade boggs chicken dinner


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Posted 07 August 2008 - 10:39 PM

Uh, you do know this team has basically been playing together for three years right?

Umm, yep.

This team has NOT been hastily put together. I don't disagree that they're not perfect at rotating, but the C's were able to get it together in a MUCH shorter time than this team has been together.

Look Rocco - you watch a ton more basketball than me, so I'm sure you know what is going to happen if (perhaps when) the US loses. They will be facing a team with good ballhandlers who will beat the US's pressure off the dribble and create open shots for themselves and their teammates and the US, without an effective transition game, will rely too heavily on the 3-point shot and won't make enough to win.

Sounds just like what might happen against Spain and even Greece again.

But like I said, I hope I'm wrong.

#24 Captaincoop


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:27 AM

I think it's easier to teach zone in a short period of time than the intricacies of pressure defense.

You know Spain has like 7 NBA'ers on their roster, right? (Gasol, Gasol, Navarro, Calderon, Garbajosa, Fernandez, and Rodriguez) and a potential top-10 draft choice? If the US is going to win the Gold, the issue isn't how to blow out non-elite teams, it's how to win the medal rounds.


People are talking above about playing matchup zone or 1-3-1 zone. Those are both a lot harder to learn and to teach than good man defense is. Installing a working matchup zone can take half a season. That stuff is simply not happening this summer.

And I'm not saying there are not some great teams in this tournament, but I was talking about the talent gap. On pure talent, no one compares to Team USA. It's not even a discussion. Marc Gasol? Sergio Rodriguez? Comparing these guys to Lebron James and Dwayne Wade isn't fair.

#25 HomeRunBaker


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 08:27 AM

People are talking above about playing matchup zone or 1-3-1 zone. Those are both a lot harder to learn and to teach than good man defense is. Installing a working matchup zone can take half a season. That stuff is simply not happening this summer.


Totally agreed. On a side note.....if i hear one more USA rep or player state the ridiculous "we've been working for 3 years for this" i am going to throw a remote.


And I'm not saying there are not some great teams in this tournament, but I was talking about the talent gap. On pure talent, no one compares to Team USA. It's not even a discussion. Marc Gasol? Sergio Rodriguez? Comparing these guys to Lebron James and Dwayne Wade isn't fair.


In the NBA, no. Under the FIBA umbrella, absolutely.

This is why Spain (and Argentina) are or should be favored to win the Gold rather than the USA. This is a different game than the one we watch from October - June.


Uh, you do know this team has basically been playing together for three years right?


Really? Don't you mean that "roughly half" of this team has been playing together for a couple months during each of the last three offseasons? Quite a difference when they are going up against talented players using the rules they grew up with from when they were 5 years old.

Edited by HomeRunBaker, 08 August 2008 - 08:32 AM.


#26 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 10:31 AM

Really? Don't you mean that "roughly half" of this team has been playing together for a couple months during each of the last three offseasons? Quite a difference when they are going up against talented players using the rules they grew up with from when they were 5 years old.


You make it sound like they only played a few games together. They've played like half an NBA season together. (the Celtics were able to come together fairly quickly this season IIRC) And no matter what you think of that its a HUGE difference between how they used to do it. And its also the best they can do.

#27 Euclis20

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 10:44 AM

This is why Spain (and Argentina) are or should be favored to win the Gold rather than the USA. This is a different game than the one we watch from October - June.


The US is (again) heavy favorites to win the gold. Whether they should be is another question. There is a pretty big difference between FIBA and NBA rules, but most casual fans won't see that. They will simply see it as basketball, with the different rules having little actual effect on the game. Whatever the team's expectations are, if they don't win gold, it will be seen as another massive disappointment.

#28 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 10:51 AM

The US is (again) heavy favorites to win the gold. Whether they should be is another question. There is a pretty big difference between FIBA and NBA rules, but most casual fans won't see that. They will simply see it as basketball, with the different rules having little actual effect on the game. Whatever the team's expectations are, if they don't win gold, it will be seen as another massive disappointment.


And anyone that thinks that hasn't been paying attention to FIBA basketball the last decade. I hope no one here believes that.

#29 Euclis20

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 10:55 AM

I didn't say I think that, but I can't speak for the rest of the folks here. The oddsmakers on the other hand...

http://sports.bodogl...ympic-games.jsp

Mens BBall is about 2/3 of the way down the page.

#30 koufax32


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 11:03 AM

I have reluctantly resigned myself to the idea that USA basketball will never again roll through the Olympics with an average margin of victory of 40 pts. I've also resigned myself to the very real possibility that they will not win gold this year. Some of my observations so far...

Defense: John Wooden. Great coach, best ever, yadda yadda. I wish he had never given his opinion on rebounding. This Olympic team takes the "find the ball and jump for it" approach instead of everyone finding a man, putting a body on him and keeping him away from the ball. I can see allowing an offensive rebound on a freak bounce or maybe a missed 3 pointer. But when it consistently happens on normal shots with normal bounces I find it unacceptable for a team with this much athleticism. IMO it stems from the offensive stretegy of run and gun. Too many people want to be that outlet pass to start the break. Boxing out is not condusive to fast break basketball.
I would absolutely love to see the team shift to a 2-3 zone. Imagine Boeheim being alowed to take over the defensive controls and put D Williams, Michael Redd, Kobe, Carmelo, and Bosh on the court with hands up in passing lanes? He could bring in LeBron, and Durant on the wings as well. That's a whole lot of appendages in passing lanes. I just don't see a zone happening under coach K's watch. I especially don't see it happening in light of the boxing out issues that already exist. It's too bad. It could become a clinic.

Offense: I have literally been embarassed so far by this team's offense. We all know they can go on spurts because of their transition game. That should be exploited to some extent. The emphasis has gotten to the point that it hurts their defensive efforts though. The biggest problem has been the half court set. I've watched most of several of the tune up games and do not recall any screen being set for a teammate who didn't have the ball. Ball screens have their place but not every time down the court. Team USA has shooters now to compete and dominate at this level of play. They can't be used to their fullest unless teams are forced to switch to a zone defense. Our attempts to force that switch have come from an NBA "inside game first" mindset instead of off ball screens for the guards. Isn't that one of the first things we learn in high school ball? Pass the ball and then screen away. Forwards, post up, count one one thousand two one thousand and then screen away. It seems as though this team is still trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

#31 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 11:54 AM

I didn't say I think that, but I can't speak for the rest of the folks here. The oddsmakers on the other hand...

http://sports.bodogl...ympic-games.jsp

Mens BBall is about 2/3 of the way down the page.



Oh, I'm well aware of the oddmakers. They're off base here. A bet on Spain at +300 is a fucking steal. And since I never bet with my heart I'll be placing fairly large wagers on Spain and Greece.

Ball screens have their place but not every time down the court


Welcome to FIBA basketball my friend. Since there is no low post game to speak of in FIBA because of the trapeziod lane, the only way to get movement from your bigs is to screen and roll them. Unless you want to stick them in the corner (some teams do) or play 5 guards (some teams do) your gonna see a screen on the ball just about every time down the court. It sucks.

Edit: And you can't run a traditional motion offense because you can't run your bigs high low. (and its why a guy like Carmello Anthony is the best power forward in the world in FIBA ball.......he's big enough to guard other 4's yet quick enough to penetrate against guards, and can shoot threes) It just won't work with the dementions of the court. Thats why all FIBA offense is about is screen and roll, drive and kick, screen and roll drive and kick.......rinse lather repeat.

Edited by Rocco Graziosa, 08 August 2008 - 12:02 PM.


#32 Nick Kaufman


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 12:22 PM

Oh, I'm well aware of the oddmakers. They're off base here. A bet on Spain at +300 is a fucking steal. And since I never bet with my heart I'll be placing fairly large wagers on Spain and Greece.


Serious question, not meant to bust your balls. Have you seen Spain or Greece since the world championships in 06?

They played in the European Championships last year. Did you watch that?

Edited by Nick Kaufman, 08 August 2008 - 12:23 PM.


#33 koufax32


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:08 PM

Welcome to FIBA basketball my friend. Since there is no low post game to speak of in FIBA because of the trapeziod lane, the only way to get movement from your bigs is to screen and roll them. Unless you want to stick them in the corner (some teams do) or play 5 guards (some teams do) your gonna see a screen on the ball just about every time down the court. It sucks.

Edit: And you can't run a traditional motion offense because you can't run your bigs high low. (and its why a guy like Carmello Anthony is the best power forward in the world in FIBA ball.......he's big enough to guard other 4's yet quick enough to penetrate against guards, and can shoot threes) It just won't work with the dementions of the court. Thats why all FIBA offense is about is screen and roll, drive and kick, screen and roll drive and kick.......rinse lather repeat.


It depends on what your definition of "bigs" is. A simple motion offense could still work by passing left and then a guard (let's say Kobe) setting a down screen so Bosh or Anthony could pop into the center of the paint. I would love a player like Bosh to get the ball in the lane with noone bodying him up. He would have a field day in there with drives, catch and shoots from 8-10 feet, or passing to the baseline cutter. Setting screens for "forwards," and again I use the term loosely as I agree Carmelo should be used asa the best 4 in the tourney, so they can get the ball in this situation is exactly how to turn a man to man into a zone very quickly. Using the forwards in the set as an important channel for the offense is possible in FIBA basketball. It just has to happen in a different way than the traditional NBA isolate and back 'em down.
I think the roster was created much better than in years past. One glaring weakness I see (and not because I'm a Celtics fan) is KG. How many points would he score popping into the lane, catching, and shooting 10 foot jumpers?

Edited by koufax32, 08 August 2008 - 01:09 PM.


#34 MttKnx

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:14 PM

(Not-so) random thought: how would the Celtics do in this tourney? (they are all American, right?) Would they be favored over Team USA? For the gold? I only know the basics of the FIBA differences, but my gut tells me they'd still be favored. Perhaps I just ate something funny.

#35 Euclis20

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:27 PM

One glaring weakness I see (and not because I'm a Celtics fan) is KG. How many points would he score popping into the lane, catching, and shooting 10 foot jumpers?


Garnett would be pretty much the perfect big for FIBA. Not only with his athleticism and versatility on defense, but his deep jumpers would be 3s (or really close to it), rather than just deep 2s. Regardless, it was KG's choice not to play on Team USA.

#36 HomeRunBaker


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:40 PM

I didn't say I think that, but I can't speak for the rest of the folks here. The oddsmakers on the other hand...

http://sports.bodogl...ympic-games.jsp


The oddsmakers don't set the odds on whether they believe the USA are prohibitive favorites to win the Gold.......they base their odds on what they expect the money to come in on so they can make their spread or vig without the outcome of the tournament being a factor.

If they play this tournament 100 times i do not feel the USA would win more than some other teams in these tournaments.......it isn't relevant to me how some random gamblers who don't understand why the USA isn't as good as other teams in this FIBA tournament feel. It is a realistic possibility that this USA team doesn't even medal.

Edited by HomeRunBaker, 08 August 2008 - 01:43 PM.


#37 Captaincoop


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 02:14 PM

The oddsmakers don't set the odds on whether they believe the USA are prohibitive favorites to win the Gold.......they base their odds on what they expect the money to come in on so they can make their spread or vig without the outcome of the tournament being a factor.

If they play this tournament 100 times i do not feel the USA would win more than some other teams in these tournaments.......it isn't relevant to me how some random gamblers who don't understand why the USA isn't as good as other teams in this FIBA tournament feel. It is a realistic possibility that this USA team doesn't even medal.


Would you bet $100 to win $1000 that the USA doesn't medal at all? Serious question.

#38 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 02:26 PM

The oddsmakers don't set the odds on whether they believe the USA are prohibitive favorites to win the Gold.......they base their odds on what they expect the money to come in on so they can make their spread or vig without the outcome of the tournament being a factor.


They do and they don't. They may put a line out there with what the public "feels" but they can't go too far. Otherwise the "smart money" will come in late and bury them. There can be no doubt Vegas thinks team USA is a massive favorite to win this tournament. They're wrong.

Edited by Rocco Graziosa, 08 August 2008 - 02:26 PM.


#39 shane88888

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 02:52 PM

Garnett would be pretty much the perfect big for FIBA. Not only with his athleticism and versatility on defense, but his deep jumpers would be 3s (or really close to it), rather than just deep 2s. Regardless, it was KG's choice not to play on Team USA.


I was thinking about what a good FIBA 3-point shooter Garnett would be. That long jumper is so lethal for him because, more often than not, it's not a contested shot in the NBA. I used to hate that shot, but Garnett was over 50% from midrange this season, and particularly good from around the top of the key to the right side of the floor.

http://www.nba.com/hotspots/ (You'll have to plug in some info to play around. Interestingly, PP favors shooting from the left side but was a much better shooter from the right side of the floor).

In the Olympics Garnett wouldn't be getting all those free looks. Plus, international big men are much better perimeter defenders, if only from having the practice.

#40 burnageredsox

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 03:04 PM

Lurker just sticking my head above the parapet here, but it might interest you guys that for the 2012 Olympics and onward, the court will look more familiar to the American team.

Scroll down to 'Official basketball rules 2010'

#41 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 04:34 PM

Serious question, not meant to bust your balls. Have you seen Spain or Greece since the world championships in 06?

They played in the European Championships last year. Did you watch that?


I saw a bit. Spain looked fucking legit, and the tournament meant nothing to them.

#42 Nick Kaufman


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 04:48 PM

I saw a bit. Spain looked fucking legit, and the tournament meant nothing to them.


The European championships? You re way off base there. The Eurobasket is big in Europe.

I didn't watch it last year, but they lost to Russia in the final in their own turf... while we were crap and were lucky to finish fourth. We re better this year, but I know we aren't going in Bejing with the certainty we ll win a medal.

There's a difference with the US. Greece or Spain can be upset by any team at any stage, while you can be certain that the US will go to the semis.

I also know that in 06 we played the game of our lives; both teams will have a different psychological outlook this year.

Perhaps, this is the time where expectations for the US are lower than the real ability of the team which has aimed for these Olympics for a long time now.

Edited by Nick Kaufman, 08 August 2008 - 04:50 PM.


#43 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 08 August 2008 - 05:49 PM

The European championships? You re way off base there. The Eurobasket is big in Europe.

.


I meant they had already qualified for the Olympics....... it meant nothing in that respect. I'm well aware of what that championship means in Europe. Didn't Gasol play hurt one year against the advice of team doctors?

Edited by Rocco Graziosa, 08 August 2008 - 05:51 PM.


#44 dolomite133


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Posted 09 August 2008 - 08:43 AM

On the women's side, just saw them obliterate the Czech Republic. One of those Olympic matchups where you ask "can't they impose a mercy rule?" Afterwards Diana Taurasi was inerviewed by Craig Sager, and once again I found myself wondering "Whose dick does Craig Sager suck to keep his job?" He is so uncomfortable to watch/listen to.

#45 Rocco Graziosa


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Posted 09 August 2008 - 06:16 PM

Anyone know what time the game against China will be and where it will be televised live?

#46 Obie Ortiz

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 07:00 PM

Here's the schedule:

USA Basketball

Those times are Beijing time. So the game will be tomorrow at 10 AM Eastern time. I am assuming they will use common sense and broadcast it live.

#47 Kraut

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Posted 09 August 2008 - 07:57 PM

Serious question, not meant to bust your balls. Have you seen Spain or Greece since the world championships in 06?

They played in the European Championships last year. Did you watch that?


Last year, Greece didn't play well. Now they are better than ever. Spain somehow lost the final against Russia, perhaps too much pressure. Everyone in Spain expected the title. Everyone else rooted against them because of their arrogance as hosts.

I think that Team USA could lose against Spain and Greece perhaps Argentina but not against anyone else. The other teams also have flaws. They don't have the firepower or their guards aren't good enough to handle the pressure defense.
In the past Team USA was painful to watch ,and I'm sure that won't change. I expect lots of one-on-one and no ball movement in the halfcourt offense but they are still good enough to beat the other teams.
My prediction: 5-0 in group games, a win in the quarterfinals and then Spain or Greece waits for a rematch.

Of course I'm more concerned with Germany winning against Angola. In Japan two years ago they won in triple OT thanks to Dirks 47 (incl a tying 3 at the buzzer in regulation). They also have to beat China to get to the quarterfinals because there is no chance to beat one of the three top teams. The thought of the German guards trying to get the ball over the timeline.....ughhh......btw Kaman played really well in the qualifying tournament and that without playing one game with the team before. Predictably he struggled a bit with the foul calling ("it's more like rugby under the basket").

Group A:
1. Argentina
2. Croatia
3. Russia
4. Australia
5. Lithuania, of course they could win the group
6. Iran

#48 Nick Kaufman


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Posted 09 August 2008 - 10:38 PM

Zere is a German basketball fan here? The rarity of rarities!

What? Handball not good for you? :angry:

Welcome. :)

#49 Nick Kaufman


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Posted 09 August 2008 - 10:38 PM

I meant they had already qualified for the Olympics....... it meant nothing in that respect. I'm well aware of what that championship means in Europe. Didn't Gasol play hurt one year against the advice of team doctors?


I think that was in 05 when Germany pulled an upset on Nowitski's back.

#50 Stuart Scott's Lazy Eye


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Posted 09 August 2008 - 11:13 PM

Zere is a German basketball fan here? The rarity of rarities!

What? Handball not good for you? :angry:

Welcome. :)


They're about to beat Angola by 30. Someone mention a mercy rule?