Team USA 07

I was about to write a 'credit where credit is due' post and then I saw the Chris Sheridan's piece on ESPN.com.  When people start comparing this team to the original Dream Team, be afraid.  Be very afraid.  

There's not much point in my praising this team at this point.  Plenty of other people are doing that.  I thought they looked great.  Kidd and Bryant were terrific.  Carmelo was simply beautiful on offense.  LeBron was unconscious.  But if one possible concern going into this tournament was getting overconfident while beating up on mostly 3rd and 4th tier international competition, consider that mission accomplished.  

There's absolutely no point in comparing this team to the Dream Team.  Were Bird and Magic in the twilight of their respective careers in 92?  Sure.  It doesn't mean that these guys are better because they are younger.  But the really inane part is the question of the OTHER TEAMS!  Shouldn't we be more concerned with winning the Gold Medal in Beijing?  Someone on the 92 Dream Team might have actually had to play defense to beat the 2008 edition of Spain.  But in 1992, they just showed up and people watched.  The competition is better now.

I feel a little like the kid in the Emperor's New Clothes.  I mean, sure, I saw how they dominated these games.  But I'm far from convinced that they are on the right track.  31 three point attempts per game?  Really?  Is that what the dominant team does?  In the NCAA tournament, does the ACC Champ go into it's matchup with some team from the MAAC and beat them from the three point line?  I'll admit that I'm being old-fashioned and a bit cliché here, but Valparaiso wins single elimination games shooting 3's, right?  

I'll have more on this later, but let me leave you with this thought.  Everyone is talking about the average margin of victory for this team in Vegas, and indeed it was impressive.  But as I said before, a small team that shoots a lot of threes is designed to win a lot of game by a wide margin, but susceptible to lose a close one when they go cold, or run into a hot team.  When the Gold Medal in Beijing is basically the only acceptable outcome, I'd much rather design my team to win every game by 15.

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