Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Preparing For Venezuela’s Chris Mannix notes four keys to Team USA success in the FIBA Americas Championship.

His first key involves featuring Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd:
“Play your shooters

What do the numbers 31.4 and 36.9 have in common? They are the three-point shooting percentages of the U.S. teams in the '04 and '06 international competitions, respectively. This summer, however, USA coach Mike Krzyzewski has two of the NBA's most dangerous three-point shooters in Michael Redd (career 39.2 percent) and Mike Miller (39.8 percent). Coach K also has a proven clutch shooter in Chauncey Billups, who also has the potential to extend or break a zone defense and open up the floor for the U.S. slashers.”
That brings up the discussion about what Team USA’s rotation should be. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has already indicated that Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony will start throughout the tournament:
"I think the three guys you could say would start every game would be Carmelo, Kobe and LeBron," Krzyzewski said. "And then we would look at other people. The main thing is just so they can develop a feel of playing with one another."
Bryant and James are excellent, if not obvious picks to start. And since Team USA’s opponents aren’t going to have a lot of quality post players in this tournament, starting Anthony at power forward is reasonable.

My Team USA depth chart:

C- Amare Stoudemire
PF- Carmelo Anthony
SF- LeBron James
SG- Kobe Bryant
PG- Jason Kidd

6- Dwight Howard
7- Chauncey Billups
8- Michael Redd
9- Tyson Chandler
10- Deron Williams
11- Tayshaun Prince
12- Mike Miller

The trouble is that since this Team USA roster is so good, and the competition is so limited, it might not matter what the lineup looks like. That’s problematic because they won’t have such a luxury in 2008. Anthony could shine playing power forward this summer, but not next summer. Since it’s assumed Team USA will secure an Olympic spot, the real order of business this summer is to figure out who fits where next summer.

On another note, Team USA’s first opponent, Venezuela, is coming off a rough showing in the Stankovic Cup, where they went 0-5, including a loss to the U.S. D-League Ambassadors. Turns out, they didn’t take that particular defeat in stride:
“The Venezuela national team blamed the loss on the referees' poor judgments made at "the key moment" in the fourth period when the score gap was only five points.

"We would not lose the match if it was not for them (the referees)," said Gabriel Alejandro Ruda, coach of the Venezuela team.”
What is like being basketball referee right now? In any event, Team USA won’t be leaving any doubt about this game.

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