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.