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September 05, 2006

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BBAL FAN

Too young? They had the best roster by far. Even if they were all two years younger they still would have had the vest roster. Didnt adjust to international game? Not true. Wade didnt got called on too many times, and Lebron played like any other international player. USA doesnt care? I dont see how can it make such a good team loose like that. They were tired? They didnt look tired while playing... I dont know... :-/

I think the real reason is bad game managment by coach K. The US team failed to defend a simple pick and roll for like ten times, and the coach was helpless... On the offence they tried isolations (agaisnt zone def... wtf??) and long ranged jumpers instead of slowing down the game and feeding the post for easy points with howard, brand and bosh.

I'm sure that if D'antoni would have been the head coach, USA would have won the gold.

coach

i think the coaching staff is learning as well. melo, dwade and lbj played in 'short' mins instead of their usual 'continous'presence on the court . they are not able to really pour it on 'cept for melo. i don't know if coach k wants to keep his star studded line happy or what . the team will be better off with more role players .

basketbawful

Here's the thing. Ever since David Stern built his empire around Michael Jordan, basketball has evolved (or devolved) into a sport where you isolate your best athlete and the other four guys stand around and watch him work, hoping against hope that maybe he'll pass it out for an open 3-pointer.

The American ballers live and die by their ability to dominate with sheer athletic ability. Guys don't move without the ball. The Greeks were all about hard cuts and whipping the ball around to the open man. And let's face it: nature has yet to create a man who can outrun a well-passed basketball.

Team USA is a group of superior athletes who play an inferior brand of basketball. It's more exciting to watch. We get dunks and steals and fast breaks and all sorts of bells and whistles. Meanwhile, Greece has 8 players who averaged between 8 and 11 points (that's right...no one averaged more than 11 points for Team Greece) and they beat us. Without a single dominant scorer, they beat us.

Also, I just don't buy the exhausted excuse. In most cases, the players on opposing national teams play year around EVERY year...and they don't make as much money, they don't travel in swanky jets, or stay in 4-Star hotels, or get the general ass-kissery that Team USA gets. Those guys are just as tired, if not more so.

It should also be noted that Team USA missed 14 freethrows against Greece...with 10 of the 14 misses coming from Dwayne/Lebron/Carmelo. Warrants mention.

Craig

"nature has yet to create a man who can outrun a well-passed basketball."

Good coach-speak there. I can just hear my old HS coach telling me that.

But I have to disagree with you on the exhaustion part. International basketball is a far different animal during their regular season. They play only one game a week and practice the rest of the time. NBA players play one of the most gruelling regular seasons in all of sports with 4 to 5 games a week travelling all over the nation. Mix in the intensity of the playoffs and the constant demand of USA Basketball promotions and you have a very tired team.

Sure the team stays in the best accomodations, are escorted by local police and fly first class, but they still have little down time. All I'm saying is that it seemed like the whole tournamnet was a big NBA promotional tour rather than a competition.

For the first two months of the upcoming season you'll see the Team USA players slip a little statistically. (except for Howard, I think this summer was a great learning experience)

basketbawful

A few points about the whole exhaustion thing. First off, Team USA had greater depth than any other team in the tournament. In fact, the American players averaged between 24.2 (Lebron James) and 9 (Antawn Jamison) minutes a game. Only four of the players even averaged as many as 20 MPG -- Lebron, Carmelo (23.9), Chris Paul (23.7), and Wade (22.9). Should these guys REALLY be exhausted playing 20 minutes a game? And need I mention how young these guys are?? They're in their early 20s (22, 22, 21, and 24 respectively)!! When I was that age, I slept 3 or 4 hours a day, drank like a sailor, played basketball every day, worked two jobs, and attended college full-time. And, needless to say, I didn't have the benefit of an army of trainers, massage therapists, team physicians, personal chefs, etc., etc, etc. Yet I don't remember exhaustion getting the better of me.

Secondly, Joe Johnson, Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, and Dwight Howard weren't even IN the playoffs this year. Shane Battier played 4 playoff games. Carmelo Anthony played 5. Brad Miller, Kirk Hinrich, and Atawn Jamison played 6 playoff games each. I'll allow you that Wade, the NBA Finals MVP, might have been a little gassed, and I guess maybe Lebron. But damn, again...Lebron is only 22 years old!! And at the peak of physical health. I think the month off he had should have been plenty.

If Team USA had been composed of aging veterans -- like the 1992 Dream Team was -- I would be more apt to agree that fatigue could be a factor. But considering the youth, the relatively low MPG they played, the fact that very few of the players either made or went deep into the playoffs...I just can't see it. The '92 Dream Team weren't dragging ass in the Olympics...and those guys were (with the exception of Christian Laettner) all in their late 20s to mid-30s.

Jack

Thank you, basketbawful.

These young guys in perfect physical condition, playing barely 20 minutes a game were not the victims of fatigue. It was indeed an "inferior" brand of basketball, to be blamed on the coach. His strict adherence to the sacred man-to-man was what doomed them, and his offense that stemmed directly from that was the dagger in the heart. When your defense isn't working, (and especially if the offense is a direct dependent on that defense) CHANGE IT. They should have at least experimented during training camp with different types and different strategies, rather than just hoping that the competition would be blown away by their immense athleticism. I'll give it to them: most of the time, this was the case. But then you get to the really good teams (i.e. Italy and Greece) and they struggle. They managed to pull out the win with Italy, but weren't so lucky with Greece. Tough break, Coach K. I can't help but think that had D'Antoni been head coach, USA would have fared better, due to his superior knowledge of the international game (he both played and coached internationally) and his better overall concept of team-basketball (check out the Phoenix Suns). But overall, I believe it was Coach K's stubbornness to not investigate and experiment with other types of play that cost them the medal.

Craig

You guys are doing a good job at convincing me. I can't believe I missed ripping on Coach K's lack of adjustment. Maybe he tried to simplify the gameplan because he feared that he couldn't relate to the pro-players. (He spends all his time whipping and screaming 18-20 year olds into shape and can't really do that to multi-millionares. Coach K's nototious for running brutal practice sessions, but I got the feeling he scrapped those plans for fear of losing the players.)

D'Antoni may have done a better job, but I still can't get out of my head the fact that he was so exposed by Phil Jackson in Games 1-4 vs. LA. However, he made the adjustments and beat the Lakers (though Smush Parker's vagina had a lot to do with that).

At least D'Antoni would have brought in a better offensive set. It still comes down to a bunch of players used to playing the isolation game (Wade, Melo, LeBron) buying into the way D'Antoni's Suns played.

I still think Team USA needs to reduce the promotional tours. Again, all I kept seeing was photos of player doing public appearances, pimping their shoes and taking photos with politicians. I didn't see any of the other teams having such a busy schedule. Save all that promotional crap after winning the tournament, not during the preparation.

Jimmhumm

People seem to ignore the obvious. I wouldn't even say that those where our best players! Kobe, T-mac, Garnett, Duncan, Billups, Ray allen none of those guys where there. The problem centers on us having our best foot forward. Look in 2000 we sent our truely best players for the last time. After that players felt "unsafe" about travel, remember? Dwade and Lbron are good but for real kobe is the best player, allen is the best shooter, garnett is the best forward, Duncan is the tied with shack for the best lowpost man. At least we handled our PG problem but we lost out on a lot of our proven stars. Sometimes a "rising star" isn't enough!!

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