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USA NT 2012
#1
Ok I'll get the Olympic conversation started. The US World Championship team loses out from the US automatically qualifying for the Olympics and not having to play in the Americas championship this summer. There was an "If it ain't broke don't fix it" attitude towards the roster that won the world championship last summer. That was last year and already nobody recalls the past so I fully expect the US to take the best team possible next year dependent on injuries and player availability.

This is my prediction/what I would like to see in the starting lineup.

PG: Deron Williams - he is one of the best PGs on the planet. He is bigger and more physically dominant than his competition and his move to Besiktas will better familiarize him with the international style of play and players that the US will potentially face in the Olympics. This gives him the edge in the most competitive roster battle on Team USA.

SG: Kobe Bryant - if you have a lights out shooter you take him. If you have a lockdown defender you take him. With Kobe you get both.

SF: Kevin Durant - Durant showed in the WC that as long as he is on the court the US will be able to compete. He is the closest player to a lock for next year's olympics that the US has.

PF: LeBron James - I already hate myself for writing this. I hate LeBron, I hate him in the NBA and I think that he is an arrogant d*ck. However, when it comes to Team USA he has been able to control his ego. He doesn't demand the ball and he does what it takes to win. In fact, he is ideal due to the matchup problems that he creates. He can play SG, SF or PF well at the international level. In this lineup alone he can rotate with Durant as to who plays downlow. He said in the past that he might not want to play for Team USA so who knows.

C: Dwight Howard - I don't need an explanation, if Howard is available the job is his.

Bench: I won't go into too much detail on the bench to save some discussion for later. I will say that I absolutely want to see these two players on the team:

1) Russel Westbrook - Lightning quick and he demonstrated in the WC that he can play PG, SG and SF in FIBA play. That is too much versatility to leave at home.

2) Kevin Love - the fan in me wants Love in my starting lineup instead of LeBron. Love is a rebounding machine, he has to make the team.
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#2
3) I will add Blake Griffin to my roster. He wants to play for Team USA pretty badly and his energy could spark the team if they find themselves struggling.

I still have 4 roster spots to fill.
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#3
AHHHHHHH YEAHHH SKANGLES!! I've been wanting to start this thread. Watching Eurobasket and FIBA Americas has me pumped for USA basketball! Biggrin Before i get started lets have a moment of silence for Serbia, Turkey, Germany, Italy. Serbia and Turkey in particular would have made the competition stronger for the USA. Rest in peace guys you will be missed in the Olympic games Sad Don't worry Team USA will send you a post card "wish you were here" Thup

So lets look at the known competition:

Europe: 1.Spain, 2.France 3.Great Britain
Americas: 1.Argentina, 2.Brazil
Oceanic: 1.Australia
Africa: 1.Tunisia
Asia:

Front court match-ups

When I look at Front court match-ups Spain(Brothers Gasol plus brother from another mother Ibaka), France(If they have Joakim Noah, Ronny Turiaf, Ali Traore) and Brazil(especially if they have Nene + Tiago Splitter) pose the most threat. So lets look at centers, forwards first. I'll do guards another time. I think USA needs a 3 headed monster. We need a strong 5 and 4 with a versatile and competent 3. I'm listing the center, power forward and small forward positions. Here is my list.

CENTER

Dwight Howard 26
Tyson Chandler 28
JaVale McGee 23
Brooke Lopez 23
Robin Lopez 23
DeAndre Jordan 23
LeMarcus Aldridge 26
Josh McRoberts 24
Greg Oden 23(yeah i know...I know BUT he could come back this year strong.IF he does he should be in the convo)
Roy Hibbert 24
Cole Aldrich 22
Andrew Bynum 23

POWER FORWARD

Kevin Love 23
Amar'e Stoudemire 28 (STATS)
Chris Bosh 27
Blake Griffin 22
Tyler Hansbrough 25 (Psycho T)
Kris Humphries 26
Lamar Odom 31
Zack Randolph (Z-Bo) 30
Andre Igudola (Iggy) 27
David Lee 27
Al Jefferson 26

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant 22
LeBron James 26
Gordan Haywood 21
Carmelo Anthony 26
Rudy gay 25 (he's back)
Channing Frye 27
Chase Budinger 23

There is a lot to choose from here. One could easily make 3 teams here. Keeping match-ups in mind, here is who I'm going with for the starters:

Center

Dwight Howard no explanation needed.

Bench

Tyson Chandler Defense and rebounding nuff said on that

Kevin Love I listed him as PF BUT he played in the middle sometimes in 2010 WC. I think he can back up both. I expect starter minutes from this guy.

Javale McGee defense Rebounding and now....scoring

Power Forward

Amar'e Stoudemire (if healthy)He poses both a defensive and offensive threat. He is aggressive in an intelligent way. STATS is my first option. Has strong rebounding.

Bench

Chris Bosh Offensively he is amazing. His position defense is good. I'm worried how he'd guard against Pau, marc and Noah. His rebounding is strong. he lacks aggression.

Kevin Love yeah I know he's on here twice but he needs to be on the team...Either center or PF. we need his rebounds and scoring.

Blake Griffin It makes me smile when I think of watching International guys try to defend or box him out. Remember when Vince carter jumped over that French dude back in 2000?? Please Blake make it happen! Laugh

Tyler Hansbrough Psycho T is an amazing player. Absolutely deadly from most anywhere within the perimeter. has strong basket moves and rebounding. From what I've seen he should go before Blake.

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant no explanation needed.

Bench

LeBron James His attitude has improved over the years. Still i don't like the guy for some reason. I don't hate him BUT I wouldn't want him on my Knicks. Still he deserves to be here. Just don't put him in the 4th quarter Rofl3

Rudy gay He is back and healthy for now. Great shooter and rebounder. Plays good D.

Gordon Hayward If this is his break out year like I think it will be then let this guy on the team.

EDIT: I added JOSH McROBERTS he's a good role player and athletic. He can jump through the roof...

EDIT2: ROY HIBBERT was also added. He is becoming a very reliable player.
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#4
Great post Raze. The challenge with Team USA is finding a formula that will defeat the competition without defeating themselves. The Dream Team formula of taking the 12 best individual players has failed miserably over the past decade. I look at having an amazing starting 5 and star players who will accept a bench role to fill the roster. I don't know if Colangelo will go with this strategy but it is risky not to.

B. Lopez and Aldridge are two players that fit exactly what I would expect from a backup but Chandler has already lived the life and done it well. It may be tough for other guy to make the team, although I'd welcome it.

Looking at the player pool, I cannot find a place on Team USA for Bosh. Every player you mentioned is better suited for this team and is less likely to implode.

At SF in my opinion there is only room for two of Durant, LeBron and Carmelo. Durant is the obvious choice to the point where I would honestly rather have Durant and anybody else than Carmelo and LeBron.

Carmelo is great in FIBA play but offers the same services as Durant and will demand playing time. LeBron will also demand playing time but can be used in several capacities to stretch defences. Unless there are injuries I cannot see Gay or Hayward getting a look. I could, however see Iggy getting a roster spot as he can cover several positions and offers another versatile player that will be hard for opposition to plan for.
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#5
In terms of teams that the US could face we can add the United Kingdom, Tunisia and Australia to the list. The Asian qualifier will be decided on Sunday.
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#6
^^^Raze, you actually forgot Tiago Splitter! I think you underestimate him because he has only one year in the NBA. But I can tell you that he may be better than Nene! Wink

Also, don't count out Greece!! We'll be probably with full roster(unfortunately without Diamantidis) because of the Olympic Games motivation!

Of course I don't say we have any chances of winning you(that happens once in 20 years) but we'll be probably for sure above France and maybe we'll be in the same calibre as Spain!!! Wink
______________________________________________________________________________

In my opinion the players who will be for sure in USA team are:

Derrick Rose(come on... he's the MVP, you think he's going to be out?!?! Bag )
LeBron James
Kobe Bryant
Dwyane Wade
Kevin Durant
Dwight Howard
Amar'e Stoudemaire
Chris Paul

*They'll be on the roster unless anything unexpected happens.

The candidates for the other 4 gaps may be:

Tyson Chandler
Rudy Gay
Blake Griffin
Javale McGee(I'm not very sure though)
John Wall
Kevin Love
Russell Westbrook

...and others!!! Wink
[Image: panathinaikos-basket-opadoi.jpg]
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#7
Teo: I added Splitter in the edit. Trust me bro I know Tiago Splitter. Tiago is one of my favorite players. Thup He will be the new Tim Duncan even more athletic. I just mentioned Nene because he didn't play in FIBA Americas. I'm thinking Nene at center and Tiago at forward. This would be an awesome front court for Brazil. I think Brazil can compete with anyone.

I think/hope Diamantidis will play. He is the most gifted player in Europe right now IMHO. I think he has one more Olympics in him. Diamantidis can effect the game without scoring or touching the ball. He's a special player. Seriously the guy has Jedi powers. I enjoyed watching him in Euroleague. Diamantidis is better than Teodisic IMHO.
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#8
McRoberts is an interesting name given that he just signed with Partizan.
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#9
On that logic, what are your thoughts about Josh Childress? I hadn't entertained the idea until right now but he has some great experience from his time in Olympiacos that he could bring to the national team. I am really liking this idea but I do not think that Colangelo will give it serious consideration.
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#10
(09-22-2011, 06:38 PM)skangles Wrote: Great post Raze. The challenge with Team USA is finding a formula that will defeat the competition without defeating themselves. The Dream Team formula of taking the 12 best individual players has failed miserably over the past decade. I look at having an amazing starting 5 and star players who will accept a bench role to fill the roster. I don't know if Colangelo will go with this strategy but it is risky not to.

B. Lopez and Aldridge are two players that fit exactly what I would expect from a backup but Chandler has already lived the life and done it well. It may be tough for other guy to make the team, although I'd welcome it.

Looking at the player pool, I cannot find a place on Team USA for Bosh. Every player you mentioned is better suited for this team and is less likely to implode.

At SF in my opinion there is only room for two of Durant, LeBron and Carmelo. Durant is the obvious choice to the point where I would honestly rather have Durant and anybody else than Carmelo and LeBron.

Carmelo is great in FIBA play but offers the same services as Durant and will demand playing time. LeBron will also demand playing time but can be used in several capacities to stretch defences. Unless there are injuries I cannot see Gay or Hayward getting a look. I could, however see Iggy getting a roster spot as he can cover several positions and offers another versatile player that will be hard for opposition to plan for.

1.100% agree! Finding the right balance is a tricky task. It's why I added players like Hansbrough, Gay, Lopez etc. because I know those guys won't step on each others toes. I can do without the Melos and LeBrons. I loved my B-Team! I would gladly send Lebron and Carmelo home with a giant "U" (unsatisfactory) on their report cards with a note saying "does not work well with others" Biggrin

2. If we can get Chandler in the back up Center position he is a lock for me. I'm sold after 2010 WC and this past NBA season with the Mavs.

3. Chris Bosh... Have you ever seen a more sensitive athlete? Watch the ESPN interview he had with Skip Bayless this week. I saw it this morning. He needs to toughen up a bit. He seems emotionally vulnerable. I do like the fact that he's genuine. Yup your'e right he could be the best weapon or he could implode in the gold medal match.

4,5. Durant is in 100%. If you put a gun to my head and made me choose I'd say LeBron in and Melo out. Melo has a better jump shot and like you said would work in FIBA well. LeBron plays way better defense, rebounds and is a match-up nightmare for the opposition. Lebron's Defense is what puts him over the top IMHO.

(09-22-2011, 06:50 PM)skangles Wrote: In terms of teams that the US could face we can add the United Kingdom, Tunisia and Australia to the list. The Asian qualifier will be decided on Sunday.

I edited it accordingly
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#11
(09-22-2011, 07:28 PM)skangles Wrote: On that logic, what are your thoughts about Josh Childress? I hadn't entertained the idea until right now but he has some great experience from his time in Olympiacos that he could bring to the national team. I am really liking this idea but I do not think that Colangelo will give it serious consideration.

Yeah a Serb friend of mine who is a Partizan fan told me he signed. I was impressed with his play during the playoffs. He fits the role of a solid back up and energetic player to the "T". He's a talented player. i hope he has a out I'd love to see him play in Indiana this year.

Josh Childress: I'm not familiar with his game anymore I did see that in his last year of Euroleague and Greek A-1 he put up 4.8rbs 1.9ast 1.1stls .6blks 15.2pts. It looks like after a year he really adjusted well to Europe. His FT% was low at under 65%. If I had to choose 1 American that knew Euro ball and could help our team it would be Bo McCalebb. I know its not an option Just saying....
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#12
A few other American Wild Cards to fill the "Christian Laettner role" Wink

Mike Batiste. If we want a yank with European experience Batiste has it by the bucketloads. He has been one of the most dominant big men in Europe for years and he is still going strong. The downside? He'll be just shy of 35 at the time of the Olympics and at just under 6'9 it is hard to consider giving him minutes that could go to Kevin Love.

Jeremy Pargo - He had a hell of a season. Downside? He is a point guard which is the strongest position of Team USA (Williams, Rose, Paul, Rondo, Wall). We could also consider his brother Jannero who played in Russia and Greece but taking Jannero would likely come at the expence of of his Bulls teammate Rose and anybody who would take Jannero Pargo over Derrick Rose needs to have their head checked Laugh

I think that Childress is the best Wild Card option but it won't happen. Sad

In the past we could have taken Trajan Langdon or Marcus Brown but it is too late now.
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#13
(09-22-2011, 07:28 PM)skangles Wrote: On that logic, what are your thoughts about Josh Childress? I hadn't entertained the idea until right now but he has some great experience from his time in Olympiacos that he could bring to the national team. I am really liking this idea but I do not think that Colangelo will give it serious consideration.

Childres?!?!?!?!?! Blink Blink Blink

Come on man, we're talking about US Olympic team...

He can't even shoot... Bag
[Image: panathinaikos-basket-opadoi.jpg]
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#14
(09-22-2011, 07:06 PM)Raze Lupin Wrote: Teo: I added Splitter in the edit. Trust me bro I know Tiago Splitter. Tiago is one of my favorite players. Thup He will be the new Tim Duncan even more athletic. I just mentioned Nene because he didn't play in FIBA Americas. I'm thinking Nene at center and Tiago at forward. This would be an awesome front court for Brazil. I think Brazil can compete with anyone.

I think/hope Diamantidis will play. He is the most gifted player in Europe right now IMHO. I think he has one more Olympics in him. Diamantidis can effect the game without scoring or touching the ball. He's a special player. Seriously the guy has Jedi powers. I enjoyed watching him in Euroleague. Diamantidis is better than Teodisic IMHO.

You know what, I couldn't believe that an American would understand Diamantidis' value. Bag Not because Americans don't know about basketball(of course you do) but because he plays in europe and and he's not a scorer. Every big scorer can easily be noted by someone!! Wink

So, I'm glad you know why Dimantidis is so great! Wink Thup Thup

Basketball is not just scoring!!! Thup Even though Dimitris is a capable scorer as he proved in Euroleague quarter-finals this year against the champs!!!

*Of course he's better than Teodosic!!! Wink Laugh Crazy

Many players are better than Teodosic! Bag

Teodosic's attitude will burn him. Baby
[Image: panathinaikos-basket-opadoi.jpg]
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#15
It looks like Coach K is sold on James, Bryant, Williams, Paul, Howard, Wade, Anthony, Bosh and Durant. He is also interestd in Rose and has been speaking with Griffin.

http://eurobasket.lt/lt/naujienos/67006/...yn%C4%97ms
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#16
^^Both coach K and Jerry Colangelo said something similar a few months back. Looks like they are set on these guys."
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#17
Here is a list of potential players for the 1 and 2 positions. I listed all players that have USA basketball experience either on the final roster or training camp(s). As you can see there are many guards to choose from.

POINT GUARD(S)

Jason Kidd 38
Chauncey Billups 35
Deron Williams 27
Chris Paul 26
Rajon Rando 26
Ty Lawson 23
Raymond Felton 27
Russel Westbrook 22
Derrick Rose 22
Jimmer Fredette 22
Stephen Curry 23
Kemba Walker 21
Kyrie Irving 18
John Wall 21
Brandon Jennings 22

SHOOTING GUARD

Kobe Bryant 34
Dwayne Wade 29
Monta Ellis 25
Brandon Roy 27
James Harden 22
Jeff Green 22
Danny Granger 28
Eric Gordon 22
Tyreke Evans 23
Joe Johnson 30

I'd really like to see some of these young guys get a chance but this is unlikely
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#18
For Center position I'd like to see Roy Hibbet get an invite to USA basketball training camp.Roy improved last year and had a good playoffs.
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#19
Really good lists, Raze.

A few comments:

1) Brandon Jennings should be ahead of a lot of the PGs on your list but he is so low on the pecking order that this is a moot point.

2) We must have Iggy somewhere on one of your lists. SG or SF doesn't matter but he has a reasonable chance to make the olympic roster and is only 27 himself.

3) Tyreke Evans was on the US radar for a while but had a disappointing sophomore season. He could still turn it around if there is a season this year.

4) Roy is talented enough to be on the lists but given that he doesn't have knees I cannot see any way that he plays in an offseason tournament. Even if he wanted to and Team USA wanted him, I cannot imagine that the Blazers would agree to let him play. It would be a repeat of the Ilgauskas situation with the Cavs.
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#20
I really believe that one guy who deserves to be on the NT is LaMarcus Aldridge!!! Thup Thup Thup

Extremely talented PF with great low post game, great mid range shot and great rebounder!!!

He must make the final cut! Cool
[Image: panathinaikos-basket-opadoi.jpg]
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