I think Carmelo's in. He might be the best pure scorer in the league, and he was fourth on the 2008 team in scoring. For the record, he did score 13 points (in 17 minutes) in the title game.
Here's my suggested roster:
G -- Wade, Rose, Paul, Westbrook,
F -- Durant, James, Love, Bosh, Anthony, Griffin
C -- Howard, Chandler
Starting lineup of Paul, Wade, Durant, James and Howard. It really doesn't matter. If I recall, Kidd started in '08 as a formality and a show of respect, then would abdicate to Paul and Deron, who'd play the lion's share of the minutes.
I omitted Bryant. Obviously, he loves Krzyzewski and is a fierce competitor, and he loves the limelight. I don't know anything you don't know, it's just a hunch. He currently gets a painkilling shot in his wrist before every game, and it looks like a balloon after each game. More so than his knees, I just figure he's going to want to rest and heal that wrist for the NBA season, and maybe even get surgery on it. It'd be a very tough decision, but Kobe's won his medal, which might factor in. (In addition, between now and then, he has about 60 chances for someone to knock him over or something and completely ruin the wrist regardless.)
Paul is iffy, too. His knees have a shelf life, and if I'm him, I try to avoid a Brandon Roy situation and don't play. But I can't see him just not playing if he's feeling reasonably okay at the end of the season. I took out Deron thinking whatever team signs him probably won't want him to play in the first year he's under contract.
I thought Bosh played pretty well in '08. Love is the perfect international 4. I think Chandler is a must because of his defensive superiority. I'd actually be surprised if he didn't make it. I might consider Gordon (the only pure shooter on the prelim roster) over Westbrook -- for that reason -- but for health reasons, I'm not counting on him being there either.
Know why I'm not crazy about Griffin? The free throws. You already have one guy like that in Howard. But Krzyzewski may want to lay the groundwork for future teams to have Griffin involved, and he just has the feel of an Olympian.
The team I put forth up there would need Love and Durant to stretch the floor, which isn't out of the question, but presents new challenges. They're likely to want Gordon on the team, but unlike the world championships, I'm not convinced he sees major run. Redd really didn't play at all in 2008.
One thing I'm sure of: I can't wait to watch this team play.
USA basketball website confirms
I seem to recall he couldn't participate, although it may have been he just got cut...
Last edited by Newton_14; 01-11-2012 at 10:06 PM.
Here is the rule:
http://www.backpagelead.com.au/baske...omer-heres-howItem 23 - A player who has played in a main official competition of FIBA (see article -1) after having reached his seventeenth (17) birthday may not play for a national team of another country. However, in exceptional circumstances the Secretary General may authorise such a player to play for the national team of his country of origin if he is ineligible to play for such country according to this article -23 and if this is in the interest of the development of basketball in this country.
Sounds like both USA Basketball and FIBA would have to okay the switch. Last June, Kyrie himself said he's like to play for Australia:
I just saw this thread and greatly enjoyed reading it. Thanks to all who contributed. But...The unfortunate side-effect for me is that I now can't wait for the 2012 games to begin.
I want to add a highly technical observation: Isn't this an amazing bunch of talent?! Wow. When we are wondering whether to go with Griffin, Howard or Love; Paul, Westbrook or Williams; whether Melo makes the cut -- what anguishing dilemmas! Not to mention the coaching staff. We have a real treat in store.
Ok, feel free to rebut.
What's interesting to me is that from 1992 (original and "only" Dream Team) to 1996, there was excitement. Then 2000, if I recall, had much less interest. Then, the 2002 and 2004 meltdowns. Finally, in 2006, there was interest again, and especially in 2008. In 2010, all the "young ones" wanted IN, which I don't think happened before. I think the progression of the national teams (from senior down to the under-xx teams) having a lot of interest is great. Now, in 2012, there is much excitement again. I can't wait (of course, I like to think that Coach K had a big part of USA Basketball resurgence)
Chris Paul, Lebron, Melo, KD, Rose, Wade, Kobe, and Dwight are significantly better than Blake. The next tier is all so close it would be tough to choose between them.
Blake is around Love, Aldridge, Westbrook, Gordon, Bosh. Not to mention he will never and I mean NEVER pass Lebron. Lebron can play pg, sg, sf and pf no problem and C if they are small enough.
Anyway I think we wont see 4 bigs considering Melo and Bron take some of the mins at the 4. If health is not an issue I think the sure fire locks are:
PG: Paul, Rose
Wings: Wade, Kobe, Melo, Bron, KD
Bigs: Howard, Love, Blake
Just to clarify a pure scorer is not always the best at everything but merely great at everything offensively with not to much left to improve on that side of the ball. Both KD and Melo lack solid defense and KD lacks weight and strength and Melo could stand to become a better distributor. Also one last thing and I also do not mean to sound combative but Lebron only scores at that high of an efficiency because of how often he is around the rim and he scores as much because of his physical abilities. Once Lebron learns to expand his offensive game as a shooter and post guy he would truly be unstoppable.
Something I don't see on this proposed roster is a spot-up three-point shooter, which is so valuable in the international game. The guards and wings that we've got are more slashers than pure shooters. For this reason I could see Curry having a role, even though he wasn't on the original list.
By comparison, JJ's career percentage is 39% and Curry's is 44% (wow). The numbers do make me wonder whether Chauncey is a better pick than Deron who is shooting horribly this season, and the two are roughly the same size at 6'3 and ~210 pounds. I like Love and Paul even more now, and Gordon could probably make it on the strength of his shooting.
That said, the 3-point line in the international game is closer and for some players it could make a substantial difference -- Carmelo being the primary example. Moreover, a lot of these guys are players who have to carry their teams, and thus probably shoot while more closely guarded than they would have to in the Olympics. Overall, I'm guessing they'd be better shots in the international game with their All-Star teammates creating plays for them than their NBA career percentages would suggest.
Westbrook is a freak athlete and would fit in perfectly in Coach K's aggressive perimeter, fastbreak-after-turnover defence, but he's the odd man out offensively. His jump shot isn't great and he's more of a scorer than playmaker (and the Olympic team will have the former in spades). Also, in the Thunder games I've watched, he doesn't always seem to make the best decisions. I think it's Paul and Rose and either Billups or Williams as the insurance policy.
http://cornerplay.com - the Shane Battier of tech blogs
Note, by the way, I am a Knicks fan, but I hate the current iteration of the team. I'm fine with Carmelo, not expecting a leopard to change his spots, but I enjoyed the prior Knicks team that had actual depth last season before the trade.
Blake will be starting for the West in the All-Star game and will probably be 2nd team All-NBA this year. Could sneak into the 1st team. I'd also go so far as to say he wont choke every 4th quarter the way Lebron does. Being the best player in the league the first 3 quarters is great, but leaves a little to be desired.
Gordon and Curry filled the spot-up shooter role (aka Michael Redd role) on the 2010 team. But honestly, Redd didn't really play that much in 2008. He was used situationally at best, and in the later games hardly played. He only averaged 3.1 ppg.
Curry could fill that role well, but Gordon outplayed him in 2010 and shot well from 3 (19-42) and was the 4th leading scorer at 8.6ppg (though about 6 guys averaged between 7-10ppg as Durant mainly filled it up). Not to mention Gordon's size helps him in the int'l game where handchecking, physical play on the perimeter is the norm. (The 3 pt line is about 1.5 feet shorter than the NBA line too, so that helps Gordon).
See also Posnanski. FWIW I like your definition better; any usage of "pure hitter" that would rank Paul Molitor ahead of Barry Bonds is pretty flawed in my book. Though, to complete the circle, I wouldn't say "pure hitter," I'd just say "hitter," both to avoid confusion and because I don't think the word "pure" adds anything.
Similarly, if I read you correctly, you seem to define "pure scorer" as "guy who is most difficult to stop in his favored position." ("If you get it to Carmelo on the blocks one on one, there's a real good chance he'll score. Simple as that.") Meanwhile, JNort agrees Melo is the best pure scorer because "I define a good scorer from a pure scorer as someone who has the complete well rounded most balanced offensive game." (I assume by "offensive game" he means "scoring game.") Those are nearly opposite definitions -- well-rounded vs. possessing a dominent go-to move.