My original idea of compiling reports on all the 2008 Beijing Olympic Basketball participants sadly came to and end simply because these reports take a lot of time to compile and as of right now I do not have such energy. So I decided to cut it down and just focus on the main country that everyone will be paying attention to a country that is looking for payback after the 6th place World championship finish in 2002, A Bronze medal in 2004 at the Athens Olympics and a truly dissapointing loss to Greece in the 2006 World Championships. Everyone knows who they are Team USA.
Ever since they suffered the travesty of the loss in 1972 to the then Soviet Union USA Basketball was on a roll including the Dream Teams. Actually one of the few things International Basketball and the NBA have in common would be good shooters and Centers. The 1992 Dream team featured centers David Robinson and Patrick Ewing to go along with shooters Chris Mullin and Larry Bird. In 1994, centers Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning were joined by shooters Reggie Miller and Mark Price, In 1996, Dream Team The Sequel featured three centers in Robinson, O'Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon and shooters Miller and Mitch Richmond whilst in 2000 arguably our worst Gold medal team had the shooters in Ray Allen, Allan Houston and Steve Smith, but only one center in Mourning.
And yet with all the attention Coach K and the staff have given to the preparation of this team the real embarassment lies in the fact we only have one Center Dwight howard. Because of the five foul rule having an extra Center is neccessary for extra security and the allowance for tipping in shots still touching the rim. Most international teams have a zone yet Michael Redd is the only pure shooter out there. (Melo, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Tayshaun Prince) and point guards (Jason Kidd, Deron Williams and Chris Paul are all talented in their unique way but if you want Toughness and hard nosed play a prequisite for international ball you take Chauncey Billups. Rather then take Prince why not take Stoudemire a bruising Power Forward. Inclusions like that virtually gurantee gold.
Just to virtually sum up my feeling as to how I don't think the US is guranteed gold one bit ESPN's Chris Sheridan
Porous defense, inside and outside. Abysmal 3-point shooting. Bad free-throw shooting. Sloppiness with the ball."
"They need to play smarter, they need to play better, and they need to get a grip on the fact that there are going to be nights when mistakes, hubris and failed defensive execution are going to put them in grave danger."
Against teams like Angola or even the Chinese they probably will get away with the One on one Basketball they employ. But against teams like spain or Argentina the question is will they do the same tactic?