I guess Chris Paul lost the job last summer to Jason Kidd, backed up by Deron Williams and Chauncey Billups, a group that seemed to work well against negligible competition. But no question Paul has been the best pg in the NBA this year, and may pick up league MVP. He's an order of magnitude quicker than the other three. Does K stick with Kidd, who arguably is starting to slow down just a bit? Give the ball back to Paul? Williams?
I'm wondering also how much the Duke coaching staff's ability to evaluate player progress in Cameron pick-up games this summer will be hindered by being away for a long stretch with the O team. Do the assistants usually spend a lot of time watching in Cameron, or is that verboten by the NCAA and they get their info from others?
Interesting question. While Paul has clearly passed Kidd and is having one of the greatest seasons ever by a PG, I think Kidd will remain the starter. His passing is even more invaluable when playing with such a talented roster.
No doubt Paul has been amazing this year but Kidd playing the point and feeding other scorers will be the choice.
And, Coach K gets his info from others during pickup games. I think the coaches can only do individual skills work (with a few guys at a time) and not monitor pickup games. I can assume any and all of the Duke NBA guys who come into town become very good scouts for K.
This will be interesting to see which PG's make the team, and then who gets the major minutes.
One problem that K's first US team had in 2006 was defending the pick and roll at the top of the key; Greece in particular ran that very effectively. Seems like K went to bigger PG's the second time around, with Kidd, Billups, and Deron Williams, and would occasionally have LeBron or even Kobe at the top of the defense. The bigger defenders did better against the physical international pick and roll plays.
That said, Chris Paul has had a sensational season; with his great quickness, seems like he can go wherever he wants on the court and deliver the ball perfectly. He can certainly score and run the offense, but will he be the type of defender we need in the Olympics?
Paul leads the league in steals (and assists) and averages 10 more points a game than Kidd. He also has fewer turnovers a game than Kidd. He's up for MVP. I believe those that probably know more about this than I do, but why would Kidd get the nod over Paul? Is it something about the style of play in the Olympics vs. the NBA?
Alot of this will take care of itself over the next few months as players get tired and injured. Some will pull themselves out so no sense in stressing out about it now.
We will have a great team for the Olympics. I just wish I could watch the tryouts/practice.
Chris Paul was a dirty player in college. (How can one forget the punch in the nuts that Hodges took during the ACC Tournament) Chris Paul is a dirty player in the pro's. I can see the headlines now, Chris Paul starts war between US and China.
Seriously, Paul is not K's type of player and just in case you think Paul has changed since the ball hitting incident think again. Take a look at this article.
This is a very interesting topic as both Kobe and LeBron like to play with the ball in their hands, much like our Duke team this year when Demarcus and Gerald (and to some extent Jon) did most of the penetrating.
So the question becomes, what are the most important roles for the PG on this olympic team? Do we need a pure penetrator/passer, will Defense be the number one priority, what about an outside shooting PG?
The real question to me will be what K does with Michael Redd and Mike Miller. Where does K get his 3-point shooters? Billups would add a long range threat at the point that Kidd, Paul and Deron do not bring. Lots of interesting choices to be made.
Kidd is cinch because of his experience and leadership. Nobody else on the team will question Kidd having the ball in key situations. Kidd also plays TEAM defense, and won't over commit for steals (a highly overrated stat for arguing a player's ability to play defense).
Chauncey is nearly a lock because he too has the respect of all of the other players (he has ring, multiple All Star trips and a Finals MVP) and the shorter three point line makes him a real weapon. He is probably the strongest of the point guards.
I don't think CP's NBA success will immediately translate to the international game. The zone defenses (or active help man-to-man D) in the international game will limit his penetration; remember, there is no defensive 3 second call to pull the bigs out of the lane. The international teams also do a much better job of rotating back to cut off fast breaks - so his speed would be less of a factor. CP would get killed (perhaps literally) by high screens. Last, CP wouldn't get the calls he currently enjoys in the NBA.
Although Allen Iverson had some statistical success in international play, his struggles to get into the lane should be a decent predictor as to CP's chances in the Olympics.
The beauty of it is, Coach K will have no pressure to pick CP because of his popularity. The only goal is to win, and they will let Coach K live and die with his choices. I predict that Williams gets the last spot because of his defense, three point shooting, and his ability to run the pick and roll.
NBA playoffs end in June. Olympic basketball tourney is Aug 8-24.
Does the US Basketball team get a chance to practice against any international teams before Aug 8th?
I would like to see how our point guards match up against international guards. I'll try to find 07 FIBA videos...
I used to think a 3rd PG is necessary, but as Jumbo points out, both Wade and Lebron are very capable creators...
BTW, why isn't KG on the team? I can only imagine that he declined an invite. To not include him would be just stupid.
Assumes KG and Duncan still not playing:
Wade (chance he will sit out because of injuries?)
Redd (lit it up last year in role as designated shooter)
Boozer (but maybe need a big defender like Tyson Chandler)
Josh Howard (Prince, Battier, Jefferson all options as top wing defender)
I wonder if the looming court date of Carmelo will now affect his standing with the team? Last summer, he developed as the main offensive option and proved to be unstoppable.
yeah, KG and Duncan (and Shaq) declined to participate.
I'm SO excited about Stoudemire now, the way he has developed his jumpshot makes him a starter for sure IMO. My predicted starting lineup:
I know it seems strange to have Howard off the bench, but Stoudemire's jumpshot makes up for his defensive shortcomings (its not like he's a BAD defender either, just not as good as Howard).
Barring a shock, you'll have these nine guys:
There will be at least one backup PG among Paul, Billups and Williams for the 10th spot. Let's call it Chris Paul for the time being.
Then K will have to pick two guys who emerge from the following three battles: Williams vs. Billups; Battier vs. Prince; Bosh vs. Chandler.
It'll be interesting.
Oh and I would also throw Brand in the Bosh vs. Chandler battle, though I'm guessing you did not include him b/c he just returned from an injury a week ago and probably will sit out. (he has looked good though since his return so who knows...)
Last edited by SilkyJ; 04-15-2008 at 01:11 PM. Reason: Brand