I get that Westbrook has been a bit of a malcontent in the NBA, but wasn't he the go-to PG in the world championships, getting more run than Derrick Rose? Wonder if his game is better suited. Rose is clearly the superior NBA player, but we've seen how all-time greats in the NBA (Tim Duncan, for example) just can't get going in international play. Because of that, point guard is the toughest to call, and one of Paul, Westbrook, Rose and Williams isn't making the team.
Durant is Carmelo on steroids (figuratively) in my opinion and has to start, or at least get starters minutes. Carmel has been the US' best offensive player until Durant. I am also not sure you really have to play a true power forward.
A starting lineup of:
with Wade, PG2, Griffin and 'Melo being first of the bench, and with Chandler, PG3 and either Gordon or Love (depending on what specialty you need more of) getting limited specialist minutes.
People scoff at Chandler, but without him, there are no interior shot blockers on the team, and not a lot of great post defense either.
If we only take three post players as SilkyJ suggests, Dwight is a definite. The you pick two of Blake, Bosh, Tyson, Love and Odom. Tyson is the best defender on that list. Love is the best rebounder. Blake is the best scorer. Odom is the most versatile. Bosh is the best shooter.
I'd personally go with Blake and Love. Those guys are playing out of their minds right now. Bosh would be third.
Love seems like a lock to me. He's perfect for the international game - an agile big man with a jump shot and voracious rebounding. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets substantial minutes.
I would take Chandler as the third big. Experience counts for something, and Chandler will most likely play only when Howard and Love are in foul trouble. In that situation, what you probably need most is defense and that's what Chandler brings.
I'll be shocked if Odom makes the cut.
PG - Paul, Rose
Wings - LeBron, Durant, Wade, Melo, Kobe, Williams, Gordon
Bigs - Dwight, Love, Chandler
Think the primary look of the team will be Paul orchestrating wing weapons of Wade, Durant, and LeBron with Dwight cleaning up.
Rose comes off the bench as an offensive spark plug, running the pick and roll with Melo, Love, and penetrating and dishing to shooters.
Chandler plays only when Dwight and Love are in foul trouble. Love will close games over Dwight due to his vastly better foul shooting - yes, Love will get major minutes.
I agree with the poster who wrote that Kobe will start games but won't play a lot, though I can see him taking over when the team needs him to.
I think if Williams makes the team it'll be as a shooter, a large PG defender specialist, and backup guard in case Paul and Rose get into foul trouble. But Paul and Rose will take most of the PG minutes and I don't see Williams playing much. Not to mention Gordon.
LeBron and Durant will be the top scorers on this team at 15-20 a game. Followed by a second tier of Wade, Melo, Rose at 10-15 each. Kobe, Dwight, Paul and Love will contribute 5-10 a piece. These 9 will make the bulk of the rotation.
Coach K probably still has vivid memories of Greece running a very successful pick-and-roll near the top of the key time after time in the 2006 World Championships. That USA team could not stop it, and it had something to do with lack of size and physicality at the PG positon for us. So Paul seems very likely to make the team, and may have plenty of minutes, but he has some limitations as a defender, especially against a bigger PG (Rubio?)
So I'd guess Deron Williams does make the team in that context, and maybe Billups is not out of consideration.
left on his own.
Not sure if there was any damage to the relationship
In 2008 Kidd did start and played limited minutes while Paul/Williams played large chunks of the game together. Check out the box score of the Gold Medal game, this is pretty indicative of how playing time was split
USA Basketball – always one of my favorite topics.
While injuries will certainly help trim this list, here are my thoughts on each guy:
Definites (in order of how definite)
Kevin Durant – the MVP of the 2010 Worlds and the player K has said had the best international tournament of any player under his watch. I put him #1 based on that K quote.
Kobe Bryant – health permitting. He took over in the 2008 Olympic Gold medal game settling all, to quote Bill Simmons, “alpha dog” questions about that team. He would also be the wise leader K always craves.
Dwayne Wade – next to Kobe, our most clutch crunch time performer in Beijing. If Kobe wasn’t hitting big shots, Wade was.
Lebron James – current best player in the world and Team USA veteran (06, 08)
Dwight Howard – best USA center. Even though the international game doesn’t play to his strengths the way the NBA game does, we need his defense and physicality.
Derrick Rose – starter for the 2010 Worlds, reigning NBA MVP.
Chris Paul – like Kobe, health permitting. I agree with those who think he’ll start. A veteran of the 2006 Worlds and the 2008 Olympics and he played crunch time minutes in the latter.
Carmelo Anthony – not the lock that everyone seems to think. His role on the 2008 team shrank as the tournament went on. His star was brightest in the 2006 Worlds. He was on the bench down the stretch of the Gold Medal game. Still, I think his tenure and close ties with the Lebron and Wade will get him in.
Blake Griffin – they are going to want to break in some new blood for the next 10 years of competitions. I can’t see them resisting Blake Superior.
Russell Westbrook – a more important cog in 2010 than some remember. He didn’t start, but he finished practically every big game. I feel like he will edge out Deron Williams because he’s such a freak that he gets deployed as a secret weapon who enters and creates chaos with his speed.
Chris Bosh/Kevin Love/ LaMarcus Aldridge – two of the three, not sure which. My gut says Bosh & Love but Aldridge is really coming on, is much more mobile than Love, and represents the Team USA youth movement. We haven’t typically run stuff for bigs to shoot 3s which negates Love’s value a little, save for the fact that Love is a rebound machine who everyone would love to play with.
Deron Williams – could easily make the team, but I feel like he’s not as good as Rose and not as athletically disruptive as Westbrook.
Eric Gordon – too many guards ahead of him and, with Wade and Kobe we don’t need his shooting as much.
Lamar Odom – I put him here as opposed to the “no shot” group because despite his horrible start this season, he earned a lot of cred as a key starting cog in 2010. He represents that big man versatility that plays well in Euro ball.
Chauncey Billups – this is ceremonial, mostly to help set the right “veteran” tone at the training camp
Tyson Chandler – Odom got the important minutes at the 2010 Worlds at the 5. Chandler was not starting for most of that tournament.
Andre Iguodala – too many better wings, despite his great performance in 2010
For those who keep adding names as potentially invited to the tryout (e.g. Steph Curry), I think this list represents the final tryout list. There will only be chances for additions based on injuries or other withdrawals.
Last edited by wk2109; 01-11-2012 at 03:37 PM.
I would say though that Sheridan's brief synopsis called this the preliminary list, not the final list. I wouldn't be surprised to see a small number (maybe one or 2) of guys to be added over the course of the season as players emerge and potentially express interest. That said, Coach K and Colangelo have been adamant about "building a program" so if someone hasn't been involved with Team USA at all before, would be tough to see them added for this tryout.
I wonder if they'll bring current college juniors in to play against the pros, or will they go with another "Select Team" of young pros to try and keep building the Team USA pipeline (e.g. Kyrie, John Wall, Greg Monroe, etc.)