Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Team USA

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Interesting times ahead in the selection of Team USA for the upcoming FIBA World Championships and in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Team USA has done the right thing in finally trying to bring some stability to the team through the introduction of 3 year ‘commitments’ from players. Given that the core of the team is quite young, there is a strong foundation for the future of the squad.

The team is currently in training camp in Las Vegas and this will give Coach K a chance to evaluate some attractively difficult battles for starting positions.

KB8/24 has done Krzyzewski a favour in pulling out to have minor knee surgery as it eliminates one of the selection headaches he would have encountered. In addition, Paul Pierce (family), JJ Redick (injury) and Lamar Odom (family) will not be available.

I’d venture to say that this could be the greatest array of talent Team USA has had since the Original – and only ‘real’ – Dream Team.

So who would you select for the final squad? My selections would be something like this:

PG Chauncey Billups (you need a pure PG here with so many stars – otherwise I’d consider LBJ here with Melo at SF)

SG Dwyane Wade (there’s absolutely no competition with Kobe out – hands down)

SF LeBron James (the guy is not going to get under-used like he was at the 2004 Olympics by Larry “I don’t like youngsters” Brown)

PF Shawn Marion (I’d consider AmarĂ© here but let’s let him prove himself fit first – plus Marion is the ultimate do-all guy)

C Elton Brand (maybe the term ‘underrated’ is over-used here – but the guy is a beast – we all know it)

2006-08 USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team that will participate in the team’s Las Vegas training include: Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets); Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards); Shane Battier (Houston Rockets); Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons); Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors); Bruce Bowen (San Antonio Spurs); Elton Brand (Los Angeles Clippers); Kirk Hinrich (Chicago Bulls); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Antawn Jamison (Washington Wizards); Joe Johnson (Atlanta Hawks); Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns); Brad Miller (Sacramento Kings); Adam Morrison (Charlotte Bobcats/Gonzaga University); Chris Paul (New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets); Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks); Luke Ridnour (Seattle SuperSonics); AmarĂ© Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns); and Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat).

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