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The Last Thing I'm Saying About Team USA (for awhile)

Back in February, the Onion spoofed the Team USA selection process with this article, Kobe Bryant Named As 2008 Olympic Basketball Team.

On the old blog, I was a major critic of Team USA, before, during and after the World Championships.  In particular, much like the Onion, I'm not buying Colangelo's 'everything is different' now act, though I have given him the plan to fix it.    

A couple weeks ago, Colangelo said that he gave Team USA 2006 a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.  Um.... is this like golf where a low score is good?  Cuz, if it's not, and 10 is the best score you can get, I think we need a new President of USA Basketball, with slightly higher objectives.  

In his latest interviews, Colangelo has said that he believes that Team USA would beat Greece "99 times out of 100".  WOW!  What are the odds?  That's like, a 100 to 1 chance or something!  The same interview included such pearls as

"What happened was we ran up against a team that pressure didn't bother," Colangelo said. "They played together so long, and we played into their hands. We got caught unprepared for what they hit us with."

Colangelo acknowledged that the Greeks apparently hid part of their plan in earlier games and didn't show the pick-and-roll as much as they used it against the U.S.

"We were prepared overall, but they threw something at us we didn't see much of," he said.

How's that?  Excuse me?  We were unprepared for the PICK AND F'ING ROLL!  You think?  This is basketball 101, folks.  When I go to the gym on Sunday morning with the other 40-something schlubs, we run PICK AND ROLL.  And the defense either adjusts, or they lose and have to get off the court.  How can you be unprepared for it?  And the naivety of assuming that you'll win the game simply by playing pressure defense, without any sort of a plan for what to do if the pressure doesn't work... well, it's mind-boggling.  I don't get why Colangelo and Coach K have not taken more heat for this.  The team was unprepared.  Period.

Perhaps most disconcerting of all is this quote from an Andy Katz article on ESPN.com

"If Michael Redd, Chauncey, Kobe and a healthy Amare were on this team, then that makes a difference. Our talent will allow us to score. We're going to focus on defense."

So now it's not anything we did wrong in preparation or execution - we just didn't have the right players out there.  Cuz, you know, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony and Elton Brand are a bunch of stiffs.  Moreover, one of the supposed advantages of Colangelo's new approach is to have a team together for a 2 year cycle, from Worlds to Olympics.  But Mr. Team USA just rattled off 4 guys who didn't play in the Worlds, 3 of whom have NEVER played for their country.  (Of course Redd and Chauncey had never been invited until this year.  It's a different story for KB8...er KB24.)  Who you gonna cut to make room for these guys, Jer?  Cuz you haven't had the balls to cut any superstars so far.  (Special aside:  if Jason Kidd is indeed saying that he's willing to play now, you take that call.  Point guard play wins Gold Medals, and first and foremost that is what Team USA has been missing for 6 years of Baron, Andre, Stephon, AI, and the inexperienced Paul and Hinrich.)

To sum up, Colangelo gives the team that won the Bronze a 10 out of 10, calls the Greece loss a 100-to-1 fluke, admits we were unprepared, blames the personnel which sets up a contentious camp in 07... and never once looks in the mirror.  All I can say is U-S-A!  U-S-A!