Team USA

The "Redeem Team" looked impressive on...whatever the hell day it was that they just played China (Friday, Tuesday, I have no idea), defeating China by 30 in what may have been the most watched sporting event in the history of the world.   Team U.S.A. put on a show for the Chinese fans, who seemed to be cheering for the Americans as loudly as for their own countrymen.

D-Wade has been the team's best scorer so far, while LeBron has been a versatile do-it-all type player.  Plus, LBJ is just overwhelming athletically for the players he is up against.  Kobe has so far been very accepting of his role as the primary defensive stopper (but he did go 1-7 downtown).   Overall, though, they look very imposing.  

It should be noted that Spain, considered a gold-medal contender, looked good in dismantling Greece, but they didn't look unbeatable, especially for this U.S. squad.

A few thoughts: 

I think the team would have been better served with an additional 3 pt. shooter on the roster.  Redd has been a pretty good zone buster, but the rest of the team struggled.  Ray Allen would have been great, but perhaps he wasn't interested.  Even Jason Kapono would have been a great fit.

I think one solution to this problem is to have Deron Williams spend some time at the 2 with Kidd or Paul at the one.  Williams is solid from downtown.  The problem this creates that Williams is probably the best zone penetrator of the bunch.  I think the more obvious choice is for the team to realize that Carmelo is NOT a PF and scoot him back over to SF, where he can spend more time on the perimeter. 

Melo was the top scorer for USA the past two seasons, and seemed to be the ideal FIBA player.  He has been less of the offensive focus so far this time around.

I really think that Coach Krwzhwkkhzkwy should have swapped Boozer for Chandler.  Tyson is a much better fit for this team and it's purpose.  The need for long players is obvious.  The Clipper's own Marcus Camby would have been an ideal fit as well, as would have Germany's Chris Kaman.  Boozer is not going to cut it as a FIBA center.  (But Carlos is a Dukie.)  FWIW, Boozer has been decent on the glass.

Tayshaun Prince has done little thus far, but I do see where he will be useful, especially against Spain, where defense will be the difference.  And Chris Bosh has been a huge surprise.  His ability to defend the S/R is going to be key throughout this tournament. 

I was skeptical about the role that Jason Kidd would be able to play for this team, but when he is out there, they can really run.  So although he isn't the ideal shooter to use against the zone defenses, he is still effective.  And he is a very good defender. 

The player who has been the most inconsistent is Dwight Howard, the only true center on the roster.  It would be faulty to judge too much from the China game, where he was matched up primarily with Yao Ming.  But if he struggles against some of the smaller centers he will face, he may begin to see less minutes.  His physicality will be needed against a team like Spain, whose top big man, Pau Gasol, does not like a lot of contact.  If Kendrick Perkins was able to intimidate him, Dwight Howard should be as well.  I wonder if Kobe will be reminding his new mates about this.

This team should win Gold, but they will have to weather some storms along the way.  It is going to be fun to watch.

 

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