Blog Entry

Examining the flawed Team USA roster

Posted on: August 15, 2010 4:41 pm
NEW YORK -- There was more room on the bench Sunday for Team USA's lone exhibition game on American soil as Jerry Colangelo and his staff settled on the first cuts before paring the roster to 12 for the World Championships. JaVale McGee and Jeff Green were the easy decisions. Now comes the tough one.

Not much could be read into the U.S. team's 86-55 rout of France at Madison Square Garden, other than the fact that Tony Parker is on vacation. That's what he said, anyway, when he was approached by several reporters on the court after the final buzzer and explained why he wasn't talking to the media.

But a glimpse of the chemistry and personality of this star-starved U.S. team that will venture to Madrid Monday for its next round of preparation for the games in Turkey did begin to emerge during a week-long training camp in New York, capped by Sunday's rout of a French team featuring four NBA players (Boris Diaw, who apparently is on the Eddy Curry diet; Nicolas Batum; Ian Mahinmi and Alexis Ajinca) plus the brother of another one (Florent Pietrus).

Coach Mike Krzyzewski used a starting lineup of Tyson Chandler (the only true center on the roster), Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Rajon Rondo and Chauncey Billups. It's all obviously a work in progress, so I can't quibble with it too much. I guess if you only have one center, he has to start. But if Coach K wanted to get creative -- especially against undersized opponents -- I think replacing Chandler with Lamar Odom and Iguodala with Rudy Gay would be a lineup that would do some damage. In fact, the group that built the biggest lead of the game to that point, 37-28 with 1:56 left in the second quarter, featured Odom and Gay with Rondo, Iguodala and Durant. They did it by taking advantage of the two most obvious strengths this team has: defense and athleticism.

The starters used that blueprint to open up a 19-point lead midway through the third, getting a block from Durant, a steal from Iguodala, and two 3-pointers from Billups before getting substituted for en masse. In came Rose, Gay, Odom, Danny Ganger and Eric Gordon, who stayed on the floor until Kevin Love subbed for Odom with the U.S. leading by 24, 70-46.

Coach K obviously is searching for combinations that work; as the old saying goes, LeBron, D-Wade and Carmelo aren't walking through that door. But whatever Krzyzewski decides to do with the final cut, the following personality appears to be emerging for Team USA: the Americans' best chance to medal in Turkey will be to defend and rebound as a team, ride the championship experience of Billups, Odom and Rondo, and create a small-ball second unit that can catch an opponent on its heels for key stretches fueled by defense and transition baskets.

But don't forget one key ingredient: 3-point shooting. It's invaluable in international play, especially for a team with as little size as the U.S. And it might just be the reason that Gordon, Stephen Curry and Danny Granger make the team and Russell Westbrook doesn't. Gordon is a spot-up shooter, while Curry can get his shots off the dribble and also give you on-ball defense and raise the tempo a notch when needed. So while the final spot seemed destined to come down to Gordon vs. Curry, it's conceivable that both of them make it. Westbrook, a luxury on a point-guard heavy roster, looks to me like the odd man out. He was the last guy to check into the game Sunday, and that means something -- considering that McGee and Green didn't get off the bench Saturday in a scrimmage against China.

"I think this group is a real good group," Krzyzewski said. "Intangible-wise, it's off the charts with attitude, teamwork, 'I'll do anything,' all that. Let's start there. That's a good place to start."

Krzyzewski wouldn't commit to a timetable to making the final cut, which must be done by Aug. 26 -- two days before the tournament begins in Istanbul. So there's plenty of time for Westbrook to play himself back into the picture, or for Curry, Gordon or Granger to play themselves out of it. Chances are, with an exhibition game in Madrid against tournament favorite Spain on Aug. 22, the U.S. will lose a game before it loses a player.

Category: NBA

Since: Sep 13, 2010
Posted on: September 13, 2010 11:23 pm

Real flawed -

these guys won a championship for the first time in 16 years.
Let's talk about some real flaws - no wait, that's

Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: August 17, 2010 12:50 pm

Examining the flawed Team USA roster

I think that coach “K” is an excellent selection to be the head coach of team USA. I also
Think that he has the ability to select talent to be successful on the basketball court. He has one of the best records in college as doing just that selecting players to fit his system or changing the system to fit his players.

I don’t understand a few of the remarks about the make up of Team USA, I am familiar with a few of the players and their abilities on the court.

I am glad that coach “K” and his staff is doing the selection as oppose to a few of the posters.

I think we will do just great in the games we have to play and be very successful. We are playing by international rules not NBA rules therefore the ones selected because they are athletic as well as have certain aspects of the game that contribute to team success.

The team need to play a few more games together to gel and get to know each other before we can make a blanket judgment about their ability to win in these games and how they will react under certain circumstances.

On a lot of international teams they are not as physical as playing in the NBA, they are more finesse players, such as Pau Gasol of the Lakers, very versatile and a good knowledge of the game.

About the team not having a star studded team, as we had for the Olympics this might be by design. We wanted attention in the Olympics and players with name recognition. This caused jitters among the other teams as they had a little doubt about their ability to beat these star studded players such as Kobe, Le Bron, Wade, Bosh and the other named players.

This is one reason the Dream Team was put together so they could intimidate the other teams. Who in the hell would want to play Magic& Bird on the same team let alone the other players that were on this team with them.

I think our team as constituted will be fine without the so called star players, though there could be an argument there.


Since: Aug 17, 2009
Posted on: August 17, 2010 11:24 am

Examining the flawed Team USA roster

Tyson Chandler has bronze written all over him .

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2010 2:12 pm


It all comes down to Defense and team Defense.    If they play it well they should do very well, meaning win a medal, if they decide to not worry about it, then it could get very ugly.

Since: Aug 12, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2010 1:08 pm

Examining the flawed Team USA roster

This team keeps getting analyzed as having a major flaw because of their lack of size.   I would say that this team should be pretty good in the international game.  Yes they may be small but their athleticism is amazing.  Any one of the players on the team can go in and grab around 5-6 rebounds per game (including old man Chauncey).  I believe that with their depth at point guard, the ability to stretch the floor with Curry, Billups, and Gordon, and the overall athleticism provides some major matchup issues at the international level. I see this team running so much pick and roll or penetrate and kick that no other teams on the international level can match up with (even while playing zone) them.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: August 16, 2010 10:54 am

Examining the flawed Team USA roster

I was dissapointed.  I now that yesterday was a friendship's game and the only value of it was to start set in lineups and or rotations but, the team is weak.  Is not that the USA doesnt have a center or whatever other excuses the media want to put on but France doesnt have ball handling, outside shooting, and their defense is slow and still the USA had problems with them in the first half and permitted some runs in the second half too.  They can't depend only in their defense and athleticism because when the first round end, the upcoming teams have tough handling, defense, and team incorporation.  For me, this doesnt look good for the USA Team. 

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2010 10:19 am

Examining the flawed Team USA roster

Great article, I think. While the team is small, all the forwards on the team are very good rebounders. Chandler is the only true center on the team but the 2008 Dream Team only had only one as well, Howard. It should be noted that most of the international bigs play outside the post. Unfortunately, one that does play down low, Gasol, is on the favored team, Spain. I think it is here that Kevin Love may prove his worth to the team.

Since: Aug 15, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:37 am
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Since: Aug 15, 2010
Posted on: August 16, 2010 9:32 am
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