Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tournament of the Americas

I'm bumping around the channel guide last night and to my surprise I found basketball, and real basketball at that. Needless to say I had to watch this incarnation of Team USA after their flop at the World Championship last year. They obliterated Venezuela, who should probably start Johan Santana at point guard, they'd certainly be better. The final was 112-69 and I did not make it to the end, they were up 44 in the third quarter and I figured that was that. I do have some thoughts on this version of the team (shocking).

  • Carmelo, LeBron, and Kobe do kind of look awkward on the floor together. I actually kind of wonder if LeBron is a good fit for this style of play. Carmelo clearly is, he's our best international player by a mile, and Kobe is just so dominant on both ends of the floor that he has to play. If LeBron can turn into the passer of the 3, then they could be almost unstoppable.
  • Kobe's defense is a serious upgrade, as is Tayshawn Prince coming off the bench.
  • I like Chris Paul as much as the next guy, but Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups are better for this style. They're much more in control and set up guys in the exact position to hit shots.
  • Michael Redd makes a huge difference, Team USA would be the world champions right now if they'd had him. You just simply can't sit back in a 2-3 zone with him on the floor. And when the back court is Billups, Kobe, Redd, they'll just destroy a 2-3 zone. Then when you come out of it Kobe just takes his guy for an easy bucket.
  • Greg Oden is going to be on this team next year. If Tyson Chandler is on it right now, then it's a no brainer Oden will be going to China. Plus they're going to need another athletic big man to play along side Howard against teams like Greece.

Some final scoring numbers: Carmelo had 17, Michael Redd 17, Kobe had 14, Amare 16, Dwight Howard 12, and LeBron had 11.

Update: How come nobody has told me about the sweetest bald spot in the league? Everyone knows Manu's is great, and it is, but apparently Michael Redd developed a great one over the summer. Wait till you see it, it's quite enjoyable.

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