Out with the old... In with the new

Gone are the days of dominance. After a bronze medal performance at the 2004 Olympics and a 6th place finish at the last World Championships, USA Basketball took a new approach to putting together the dream team of the future. They targeted youth and athleticism and above all players who can make a long term commitment to the team and are hungry to win. With the youth on board they brought on Coach K, one of the best in the business and he brings with him a ton of experience dealing with young gifted athletes.This is a test

At first glance the roster is hardly overwhelming as its not a team full of superstars but more a balance of role players and defensive specialist to complement the superstars. One third of the roster is made up of players from the class of 2003 (probably one of the best draft classes in the history of the NBA) and the average age is closer to 20 than it is to 30 for this men's senior team but if they learnt anything in the past is that the game is played different and this team was put together with that in mind. The players representing the USA are the best suited to the international game in the opinion of the mastermind behind this program Jerry Colangelo. The team is on their way to China to begin this quest for gold and it will be about a month until they can prove that they are once again the best in the world.

Living in Canada isn't very conducive to getting basketball coverage on television but with the help of TVUplayer I was able to watch the exhibition game between USA and Puerto Rico.

Observations after a first look at team USA...

  • The Average age of the starting 5 of Melo, Wade, Bosh, Lebron and Chris Paul is about 22... Wow!
  • Carmelo Anthony looks like a man on a mission and from every interview he seems to be the guy most of the coaching staff was surprised by. He was on the last team that captured bronze and received a ton of negative press in the aftermath of the Olympics. He is lookin' for redemption and looked like the most game ready player on the court yesterday.
  • Dwayne Wade is going to be the most unstoppable player on this team as he looked to be in playoff mode still. Wade is matured a ton after this years playoffs and it showed in his game on this night
  • Chris Paul is a Star! He is going to be the man that gets everyone going and he is the right guy for the job as his speed will be an asset during the tournament.
  • The team seemed to have a logjam at the guard position so when the roster is trimmed to 12 I expect only one player from the group of Joe Johnson, Bruce Bowen and Hinrich to survive.
  • Lebron James shot was flat and he was outshone the whole time by Melo and wade.
  • Carlos Arroyo looks like the next coming of Allen Iverson when playing for his country... I wonder if this Arroyo will ever show up in the NBA
  • Shane Battier looks like a dad amongst this team but his veteran presence will be welcomed. He brings something different to the game and was effective off the bench
  • Dwight Howard may be just 20 years old but he is a beast and opponents are going to have a tough time keeping him out of the paint. Also, he can be effective with pulling rebounds off the rim and stuffing them down without worrying about basket interference.
  • Brad Miller hit some shots but he really didn't look like he fit in well to the style. He seemed to be moving at a slower pace down the court and in the future his roster spot will probably go to Amare.
  • The team started out looking a little mechanical and were trying to get the perfect shot but after the half they made the adjustments and came out flying
  • The players effectively implemented college style full court pressure and that created turnovers and steals and at the same time they made good adjustments to the constant zone defence they faced.
  • Joe Johnson had a good shooting night and him along with Elton Brand were effectively hitting the mid-range jumpers
  • Gilbert Arenas and Chris Bosh looked a bit over anxious to start but that can be said of a lot of the players as the team got off to a slow start with a lot of turnovers and fouls as they were forcing the issue
  • 3 Pointers didn't fall as easily as I had expected but this needs to be a weapon that the team can use often during the tournament

  • Random Notes
  • After the first half I had to turn the game on mute as the sound of Bill Walton's voice was giving me a headache...
  • Pat Riley was in attendance and he looked burnt to a crisp! I think he might have fallen asleep in the tanning bed or sumthin...
  • 10 minute quarters are going to take a little time adjusting to...
  • This concept of pulling rebounds right off the rim after a missed free throw is crazy...
  • Seeing Coach K. pacing the sidelines and talking to Battier and Brand during timeouts is surreal...

    Anonymous said...

    Nice outlook on Team USA. I would like to comment on the part where you said that Bowen, Hinrich, or Johnson would be left off the 12 man roster. Johnson's nice vision as a 2 is a nice complement to coach K's system. Bruce Bowen will be needed when team USA faces France and Argentina. Finally Hinrich is a pure point guard. He has a nice touch from the international 3 and flows nicely. Many analysts say Hinrich may start over CP3. I would think the first to go would be Brad Miller. I absolutly love Brad but in the exhibition game, he looked sluggish and lost. As much as a passing, mid range bigman looks, he may soon be cut.

    coach said...

    I doudt if coach K will cut Bowen . Let's see .
    You are right . Melo will play with a mission and Wade will be Wade .
    Tonight Raptors TV will show the game Nice observations !

    Nat said...

    @anon: the reason i feel that one fo the guards will get cut is because the only bigs they have over 6-10 are bosh and dwight in the world championships and will need brad miller for this tournament even tho they ahve brand.

    @coach: i feel that what battier brings is more than enough and they dont really need a bowen but thats just me :)

    coach said...

    you're right. after watching the game last night on raptors tv , bowen is the odd man out .
    i also note that , outside shooting is much better than the athens team . kirk heinrich shd. help. thanks.

    jerms said...

    hey nat, how do u access that tvuplayer. do u have to be at certain location for it to work or do u need some cable? it seems all too simple to just click away and watch live television.'d be so cool if it worked. i d/led it but theres just a blank screen. =(

    Nat said...

    @jerms: All you do is you will see a list of channels load on the left hand side and you should be able to click on the channel and wait for it to buffer. it works on the same concept of torrents where the more people connected the better the stream but as long as u have a decent dsl/cable internet you should be able to use it no problem

    jerms said...

    weird...when i click the channel, it just stays on that white screen with the TVU networks icon and the status just stays at "ready." I do have cable connection, but this thing just doesnt seem like its working very well.

    jerms said...

    do i need to download some plug-in or anything?