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2008 US National Team

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  • Don't u think, the main problem could still be rules differences. When you have all your NBA career got the step, and now you don't, it might bring an automatic turnover. When you have used to 3-sec-defensive rule, you will still try automatically to get into the paint even when it's wrong to do etc etc.
    Sure, luckily also several other teams have NBA guys nowadays, but most of them remember FIBA rules way better than Team USA players, cause they've played under them several years.
    Also referees, most of Olympic referees are those, who all the Greeks and Lithuanians know very well, how they whistle, what they whistle, how much you can argue with them etc etc. For Team USA it's again a dark zone.
    I am not even talking about a religious dedication most of international ballers give to their NT compared to Team USA...especially in Olympics...you saw that in Garbajosa etc.
    So I think, US team has a real uphill battle to fight, all they have is talent and athleticism and I wouldnt really blackmouth them, if they come back without gold. I will be rooting for them at every game, but it is gonna be difficult.

    Comment


    • ultimately, this team isn't close to the same team as the 2004 Athens team, and it's not really close to the 2006 Japan team.

      The 2006 team played Kirk Hinrich, one of the most overrated american PGs in a while, half the time at PG. The other half the time we played Chris Paul, who during the summer of 2006 had just completed his ROOKIE season in the NBA. Now Paul has established himself as probably the best PG in the NBA, and he's not even starting (nor should he be).

      That honor goes to arguably the best ball distributor in HISTORY in Jason Kidd. Kidd was born to play on this team, as he showed last summer during qualifiers. Kidd doesn't have to think about scoring, and I expect multiple games from him during these olympics where he scores 0 points. Here's why he totally changes the face of the team though. The 2006 team WANTED to run, and when they got into the open court on a fast-break they were unstoppable. Jason Kidd FORCES everyone to run. He's one of the top 4-5 rebounding point guards in history, and as soon as he gets the ball he thinks one thing....RUN. This will really do wonders for the US offense.

      The other biggest weakness on the 2006 and 2004 team was shooters...against greece we shot 9-28 from the 3-point line. So, we add arguable the best 3-point shooter in the league today (Michael Redd), and oh-ya, Kobe Bryant, who might just be the best shooter of all time for any country (he doesn't always have the best shot selection, but again, this is Kidd's show now).

      In addition, Kobe is arguably one of the best defenders in the league for his position, and that will do wonders.

      The question this team has, and it's a big one, is at the center position. For some reason, Coach K thought it fit to only play Dwight Howard for 13 minutes against Greece. In those 13 minutes he had 10 points and 7 rebounds, but who's counting? As long as Coach K keeps Howard on the floor, and as long as Howard can stay out of foul trouble, I think the USA wins another gold. But those are 2 big ifs. And if at any point Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer are playing center (or Anthony or James), smart coaches will take advantage of it.

      In the end, just because of Kidd, Kobe, and Redd this team is much much better than the past 2 offerings the USA has had. But there is still a weakness behind Howard at the center position. And that could be the US's undoing.

      My predictions:

      US: 50% chance of gold
      Spain: 20%
      Lithuania: 20%
      Russia: 4%
      Greece(assuming they make it, which I think they will): 4%
      other: 2%

      Comment


      • Oh, and heres how I think the playing time comes out:

        Kobe, Lebron and Carmello will all play close to 30 minutes a game
        Kidd and Howard will play aroudn 25 minutes a night
        Paul, Wade, Redd and Bosh all play around 15 minutes a game

        Deron Williams, Teyshaun Prince and Carlos Boozer only come on during special situations.

        Comment


        • Kidd should NOT play any significant minutes. He might be good for leadership, but both Paul and Williams are far better players currently. Kidd was an average NBA PG at best this year, old, slow and inefficient, and in the international game his inability to shoot will be even more exposed.

          Comment


          • i dont know how to link it since tis from espn, but theres a clip of the concern with teamusa and 1 center available and with howard being not 100% teamusa and analysts are worried. bring in chandler get rid of wade!
            "A nationality that easily feels wronged is an insecure one, and one that will be difficult to progress."-Anonymous

            Comment


            • Originally posted by DarkoMVP
              Kidd should NOT play any significant minutes. He might be good for leadership, but both Paul and Williams are far better players currently. Kidd was an average NBA PG at best this year, old, slow and inefficient, and in the international game his inability to shoot will be even more exposed.
              Yeah I can't believe so many people are basing it on the Americas Championship. Seriously that was a joke compared to what this Olympics will be. Might as well compare And1 tour to the NBA finals.

              If USA is playing Kidd in key minutes down the stretch in a close game against one of the best opponents the US will probably lose because the foreign coaches are smarter than the US coaches. Kidd will be left wide open, hell not even guarded every freaking time.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Vasileios Spanoulis
                Yeah I can't believe so many people are basing it on the Americas Championship. Seriously that was a joke compared to what this Olympics will be. Might as well compare And1 tour to the NBA finals.

                If USA is playing Kidd in key minutes down the stretch in a close game against one of the best opponents the US will probably lose because the foreign coaches are smarter than the US coaches. Kidd will be left wide open, hell not even guarded every freaking time.
                And you think Kidd cant shoot better from European 3point line, than this wannabe-McGrady, softie Spanoulis???
                FYI, Kidd shot 46% from NBA 3point line in Dallas, when he had better players around him was left free more open. S├│ I dare to let these ├╝bersmart European coaches Kidd unguarded. He'll make them pay, trust me.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Vasileios Spanoulis
                  Yeah I can't believe so many people are basing it on the Americas Championship.
                  yeah, it was interesting to see how mavs128 rated Argentina's chances at 2%

                  but Americans usually have too little objective information to base their opinions on. unfortunatelly, little has changed in this regard in the last decade, imho. I mean, who can shed some light for them? Sheridan?

                  btw, for some reason I believe Kidd is the best player for Olympics USA have in this team. I somehow believe he's got true passion for this (if that is possible with NBA NT ), not the one we see in NBA games - this kind of passion may not be enough here. besides, he's really good and doesn't look shallow in the head either.
                  stop russia

                  Comment


                  • I really dont understand why 3 point guards were selected. Even without any 1 of these pgs, point position still would be great. If 2 pgs isnt enough thats why you have wade, who could easily man the position. While he is not great at distributing the ball, the time he spends on the floor, the ball can given to kobe to do what he does with the lakers. They definetly could have used a 7 footer, even someone mediocer like say brandon haywood.

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                    • what's the point of the US select team?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Vasileios Spanoulis
                        Yeah I can't believe so many people are basing it on the Americas Championship. Seriously that was a joke compared to what this Olympics will be. Might as well compare And1 tour to the NBA finals.

                        If USA is playing Kidd in key minutes down the stretch in a close game against one of the best opponents the US will probably lose because the foreign coaches are smarter than the US coaches. Kidd will be left wide open, hell not even guarded every freaking time.
                        USA hating comments!

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Mouse
                          what's the point of the US select team?
                          Will play an unofficial friendly game against the real Team USA, if I'm not mistaken. At least it was like that last year.

                          Some of my thoughts on Team USA ...

                          Reasons to be enthusiastic:
                          • Unrivalled athleticism: Howard and James are freaks. And the rest on that team, except for maybe Jason Kidd, is still (literally) way above the rest of the competition. They're so quick and great finishers in the open court. This shouldn't be worth just one point of this post, but four. But there's not much more to write about it.
                          • Indivual scoring ability: Three of the NBAs four best scorers are on the roster. And five of the best ten. Nuff said.
                          • Jason Kidd: Kidd is the best opportunistic passer in the game. He doesn't excel in pick and roll like Steve Nash, Sarunas Jasikevicius or Pablo Prigioni, but he's undoubtedly the best in the open court. That's a perfect fit for Team USA. Kidd keyed their running game in the FIBA Americas. Let's see how he is able to set the tempo against the more disciplined and versatile European teams. I really hope that Kidd won't be degraded to 3rd-string playmaker, just because Chris Paul and Deron Williams are the new big names.
                          • Commitment: I think it really has taken a good turn with Colangelo and the three-year-plan. All of them seem to motivated, which imo wasn't at all the case in 2002. I didn't have the impression they underestimated the opposition or didn't give 100% in '06. I also never thought they were arrogant towards opponents in that year. People here sometimes make a big deal out of the fact none but two players congratulated the Greeks after the semifinal loss, but everybody who watches NBA sometimes knows that it is not common to shake hands after the game over there. I think this is maybe comparable to the differences in playing the last seconds of a already decided game: In Europe many teams will try to get a basket, in the USA this might be taken as an offence, as they usually just let the clock run down to zero.
                          • Results: Blowout after blowout - except for the game against Greece. No opponent stood a chance in the '07 FIBA Americas.
                          • Chemistry: I really don't think this is an issue. Big egos, yes, but I think they respect each other and want to prove that they can play as a team.
                          • Continuousness: The fact that a lot of international team can rely on core players who know each other and have played together for a long time has often been mentioned as a big disadvantage for Team USA. This shouldn't be a big issue any more. Boozer, James, Wade, Anthony all played together in 04'. The latter three also played in '06, as did Paul, Howard and Bosh. In '07, it was James, Anthony, Howard again, plus Prince, Redd, Bryant and Williams.
                          • Competition: Lithuanian key players are getting old (Jasikevicius), or they are more injured than playing basketball (Macijauskas). Argentina is certainly getting old. Not only Oberto and Ginobili, but also important role players like Sanchez, Wolkowyski and Monteccia, who won't be in Beijing. And there's the Manu health issue. Greek is performing what looks like an early, unwelcomed refreshment of its roster, as the backbone of the team, veterans Chatzivrettas, Kakiouzis, Dikoudis and lowpost presence Papadopoulos either (in Dikoudis' case temporarily) retired, or were not nominated. Spain should be the other one of the two big contenders for gold, but Garbajosa, a key player for them, has not been playing a lot of basketball lately. This is a very good opportunity to snatch gold.



                          Reasons to be worried:
                          • Past opponents: We cannot deny that the only real top class team they have faced lately were the Greeks. Italy '06? In downhill/rebuild mode. Slovenia '06? In bad condition. Argentina '06? In the historically meaningless and hence high-scoring losers' final. Argentina '07? Without its core. Germany '06? Well, I had to include at least one joke. Having said that, there are not many really good teams out there.
                          • Defensive schemes: USA blows out opponents because attack the ball, they play the passing lanes, and then go on the run. I have to go back to the Greece semifinal game here of course, a game which Greece managed to press into the halfcourt. Some saw a heroic effort by the Greeks in that game. I think that Greece team was great, they surely executed the high pick and roll clinically, but I also think USA defended that play worse than Qatar. Especially the Pick'n'POP [edit: Pick and Pop of course] gave them problems, which is maybe due to the fact that it is far less of a threat with the longer three-pointer and less big men capable of consistently making that shot in the NBA game.
                          • Ingame coaching: Was really poor in the '06 game against the Greeks. Coach K has to find solutions next time it gets close.
                          • Play against the zone: Russia and Spain don't just play zone defense, they play outstanding zone defense. One or two Mike Millers or Jason Kaponos would have made this team much more dangerous. As we discussed a few pages earlier in this thread, Bryant, Anthony, James are not bad shooters, but they aren't the pure catch-and-shoot players you simply cannot leave open. "Rhythm shooters", as Kobe Bryant put it.
                          • Role players: See JPFs post earlier in this thread. Of course these players can play smaller roles. But even if they are willing to do so, they are not used to it, hence they are probably not really good at it. It is pretty much the same with the discussion about whether or not playing Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James on the PF spot. Sure both have the physical attributes to play this position in the international game, where PF in average are smaller and less bold compared with the NBA. But are they used to defending basketball players with big lowpost skillsets? And are they used to defend the pick and roll in that role? This is a point where the lack of real big men comes into play.
                          • Pressure: Have they ever won a really close game in FIBA competitions or Olympics since the 2000 games? Every time I watch, they get nervous, stop executing and start hoisting bad shots once the game gets close. Even if there were some players on those teams who had the reputation of being "clutch".
                          • Rule interpretation: Travelling that is. If you are used to take the extra step before you pick up your dribble, if you are used to getting star treatment, then you will have a hard time adjusting to another style of refereeing. The question for me is whether or not refereeing will be so much different, because in my opinion there has been a quite worrying development since '04 in general in FIBA refeereing towards letting players take extra steps and not managing the game as it should be.


                          Well, pessimistic points nearly outweighing optimistic points ... but let me say that this is "complaining on a high level". I absolutely expect USA to reach the semis. The competition is not really deep. Four, maybe five really good teams. But the semis - that's where the real quality meets. What happens then? I don't know.

                          Of course I don't want USA to win. I believe in European basketball. And I will believe in it when this tournament is over. I think what has happened in the last years from a pure basketball standpoint is fantastic. That's how coaches want their youth teams to play. But whoever wins deserves to win and should get respect for that. And if it is the running game and individual class of USA - or whatever it is that makes them win gold - so be it.

                          Way too long this post ...
                          Last edited by robbe; 07-02-2008, 03:15 AM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by robbe
                            Way too long this post ..
                            No worries, it's an excellent post. A few thoughts:

                            Originally posted by robbe
                            Jason Kidd: Kidd is the best opportunistic passer in the game. He doesn't excel in pick and roll like Steve Nash, Sarunas Jasikevicius or Pablo Prigioni, but he's undoubtedly the best in the open court. That's a perfect fit for Team USA. Kidd keyed their running game in the FIBA Americas. Let's see how he is able to set the tempo against the more disciplined and versatile European teams. I really hope that Kidd won't be degraded to 3rd-string playmaker, just because Chris Paul and Deron Williams are the new big names.
                            Indeed, this is exactly why he's on the team. The question is whether he's still up to par defensively. I think that K already said they would go with the same starting lineup as last year, so he should be in the lineup to begin with.

                            Commitment: I think it really has taken a good turn with Colangelo and the three-year-plan. All of them seem to motivated, which imo wasn't at all the case in 2002. I didn't have the impression they underestimated the opposition or didn't give 100% in '06. I also never thought they were arrogant towards opponents in that year.
                            IMO this is the first group of players that is really committed, really wants to win (instead of "i guess it would be cool to pick up a gold medal", like in 92/96/00, or "what? we might lose? I...I...have a dentist's appointment that summer" in 04), and doesn't disrespect the opposition. In hindsight it was a good idea to bring LeBron/Melo/Wade to Athens, and have them go through that bad experience, because they are dedicated to redeeming the US team after that. If the US wins gold this year, I am curious to see how many of the young players on this squad come back in 2010 and 2012.

                            Chemistry: I really don't think this is an issue. Big egos, yes, but I think they respect each other and want to prove that they can play as a team.
                            The key here is striking a balance between playing unselfishly and as a team, while not being so unselfish that they don't play to their full ability. LeBron was a little too passive in 2006--he played within the team as well as anyone, but at the end of the tournament he hadn't produced as much as he should have. Last summer he was more aggressive and was unstoppable, but that was against a different level of competition,

                            Continuousness: The fact that a lot of international team can rely on core players who know each other and have played together for a long time has often been mentioned as a big disadvantage for Team USA. This shouldn't be a big issue any more. Boozer, James, Wade, Anthony all played together in 04'. The latter three also played in '06, as did Paul, Howard and Bosh. In '07, it was James, Anthony, Howard again, plus Prince, Redd, Bryant and Williams.
                            Yes, this should hopefully be a big advantage for this team versus past US teams. Also having the same coaches for three years.

                            Originally posted by robbe
                            Reasons to be worried:

                            Defensive schemes: USA blows out opponents because attack the ball, they play the passing lanes, and then go on the run. I have to go back to the Greece semifinal game here of course, a game which Greece managed to press into the halfcourt. Some saw a heroic effort by the Greeks in that game. I think that Greece team was great, they surely executed the high pick and roll clinically, but I also think USA defended that play worse than Qatar. Especially the Pick'n'Roll gave them problems, which is maybe due to the fact that it is far less of a threat with the longer three-pointer and less big men capable of consistently making that shot in the NBA game.
                            1. I thought K's big mistake in 2006 was after the opening game against Puerto Rico, where the USA won but conceded a lot of points, he pulled back on the defensive pressure, and while it helped them win by bigger margins against the weaker teams, it allowed Greece to make a halfcourt game, and the US team just hadn't played together enough to be a good halfcourt defensive team. Maybe it is different now that it's their third summer.

                            2. IMO people underestimate how much of a factor scouting and preparation is in making NBA players into good defenders. When Deron Williams goes up against another NBA point guard, he has a binder full of statistics and reports showing his opponent's strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies in tremendous detail. He probably has a DVD made specially for him highlighting the same things. After studying all that information it's a lot easier to defend effectively than when you are going in blind against a guy from Greece or Italy. There's no good reason that USA Basketball can't put in the same amount of preparation as NBA teams--they have a whole year to scout foreign-based players--but for some reason they don't seem to. Also, lack of preparation hurts more on the defensive end because it's harder to make up for lack of communication and teamwork through individual talent like you can on offense.

                            The defense was still worrisome last year, but since they were scoring like it was 1992 again, it didn't really matter. But they will probably have at least a game or two this year where the shots aren't falling and they need to give a competent performance on defense.

                            Play against the zone: Russia and Spain don't just play zone defense, they play outstanding zone defense. One or two Mike Millers or Jason Kaponos would have made this team much more dangerous. As we discussed a few pages earlier in this thread, Bryant, Anthony, James are not bad shooters, but they aren't the pure catch-and-shoot players you simply cannot leave open. "Rhythm shooters", as Kobe Bryant put it.
                            I don't know...Miller wasn't very good last year and the competition is going to be a lot tougher now, and Kapono is a worse player (who doesn't like the shoot the three, even though he's very good at it)

                            I think people underestimate the shooting abilities of guys like Kobe and LeBron because they take so many difficult shots in the NBA.

                            Pressure: Have they ever won a really close game in FIBA competitions or Olympics since the 2000 games?
                            Yeah, a few--2003 qualifiers against Argentina, 2004 against Greece, and 2004 bronze medal game against Lithuania. There haven't been that many close games in general, I wouldn't say that really say that 2006 against Greece was close as they were well behind for most of the fourth quarter and only made a late comeback to make the score look close. The two most memorable close losses--2002 against Yugoslavia and 2004 in the group stage against Lithuania--were both defensive failures IMO.

                            Well, pessimistic points nearly outweighing optimistic points ... but let me say that this is "complaining on a high level". I absolutely expect USA to reach the semis.
                            I think it will be similar to 2006. They will win most of their games by good margins, but there will be one or two games where they don't play that well and the other team plays very well, and they could lose those games.
                            Originally posted by Fedfan
                            Most ppl get childish when they lose.
                            Originally posted by GuTO
                            refs in games of Spain walks with literally poop in his pants afraid of the Spanish players

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by L8DBACK
                              USA hating comments!
                              Don't mind that guy, he's still bitter about Alexander having to turn and head back to Babylon.

                              Comment


                              • robbe it wasnt a long post at all, it was a great analyses.

                                what u and jgx stated are very good. especially the whole travelling 1+ step thing, i may not be a purist like some of you but two things piss me off in basketball weak fouls, no defense, and traveling. that's 3
                                "A nationality that easily feels wronged is an insecure one, and one that will be difficult to progress."-Anonymous

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