Monday, August 20, 2007

I hope you got a few minutes....

The early word so far has been that team USA is having some problems getting everything together for this weeks international play. They are even losing during scrimmages to the NBA select team they put together (Raptors own Jason Kapono is one of the players doing the damage for the select team, he is going to be huge for the Raps this year). While I and everyone else should expect a U.S. victory in the upcoming FIBA championships, it's not a for sure thing by any stretch of the imagination.

The one aspect they have going for them is that a lot of the other countries are missing key players (Nash, Manu) that if every country had all hands on deck, I really think it would make the States the underdog. Argentina would have the be viewed the favorite in that perfect world where all players would be taking part. And I do believe that the States does have the much larger talent pool to draw from. While other countries top 7 guys can compete and defeat the top 7 from America, America has much more talent from 7-30 so that if some of the top guys in the States can't go, they can be replaced somewhat more easily.

Let me though say how nice it is that American is not the top dog in the world. I talked about this subject before, but the Dream Team from 92 was a once in a life time collection. They didn't need to worry about any thing in any which way shape or form. While the past few years has seen issues of team chemistry and shooting over the zone, the Dream Team beat every team by 40 or what ever points a game. International play has gotten much much better since then, and its understandable why USA basketball has fell off since then, but I am curious if I could put together 12 players from the states that could compete with 92.

Remember that the two biggest problems right now for the U.S. is...
1. Not everyone is available. 92 had everyone I do believe. (every country has this problem as I mentioned before)
2. The NBA, the showcase for the top basketball talent in the country, is filled with international superstars that are taking over the top spots. A baller from the states might have all the potential to be a superstar, but if he doesn't show that maximum potential early (Lebron style) he might end up in a situation where he is grown to be a role player to another superstar. And those superstars are becoming International stars...

Dirk/Nash/Manu/Duncan (Virgin Islands)/Gasol/Ming/Tony Parker/Deng/Okur/Barbosa/Bargnani/Kirilenko/Bogut

All top level players that would not play for the states in international play. In 1992 was there any internationally born player in the NBA that was better then any of those 13? Now if we take out these 13, there is now 13 more top level spots to breed and build American born superstars. It's a lot different scene in this day in age (for the better).

But let's for a moment ignore the second problem and just try to put together a 12 man team and compare to the 92 team...

PG - Jason Kidd, Gilbert Arenas
SG - Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant
SF - Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony
PF - Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh
C - Marcus Camby, Amare Stoudemire
Reserves - Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal

Alright first let's discuss my selections....
At point I put Jason Kidd and Gilbert Arenas. Gilbert the one who got cut off the team and went on a 50 point rage against some of those responsable. Deron Williams is on the current U.S. team and while I won't argue with someone who would take Deron over Gilbert, I am going with Hibachi here. Gilbert is just much more deadly a scoring threat, which counter balances the more assist orientated Jason Kidd. In 10 years, maybe Deron will be the man, but how much of Deron is the product of Sloan and Boozer? Not saying Deron doesn't have skill even with out a great coach and a great teammate, but he does have that help. What Gilbert brings is done on his own which is hitting three's from anywhere on the court and beating his man off the dribble at will. Only downfall is that with FIBA refs, Gilbert won't get nearly as many of the B.S. calls he gets in the NBA.

At shooting guard we got D-Wade and Kobe. By the way, the name in first is who I would start, which means Kobe is coming off the bench. I undertand a large percentage of people buys into the marketing machine of the NBA which will on a regular basis state how Kobe is the best player in the world, which is not true in any which way shape or form. (Tim Duncan would be that guy) But Kobe is not even the best shooting guard in the country. The edge that Kobe has as a scorier, which he does have over Wade, he loses that ground and more when dealing with playing team basketball. Wade can take over a game as we have seen many many times, but also will make the necessary passes to get his entire team involved when that is needed. Kobe rather take the 35 shots over triple team coverage. Are the Lakers team today a championship team? No, of course not, but they would be a much better team if they had Wade over Kobe. That being said, I am making the difference between these two seem much larger then it actually is. Kobe belongs...coming off the bench for D-Wade.

Small Forward is Lebron and Carmelo. To be honest the selection here is light. Lebron belongs, and I know that Carmelo had a great summer last year and was kicking ass in the scoring race for the first 2 months last season in the NBA, but I feel like it's more of a lack of quality which is why he is in here. The fact is that the small forward position is not as strong in the NBA as PG/SG/PF or even center to be honest (taking in the fact that alot of PF also double as centers like Duncan).

Power forward I am giving a slight nod to Garnett starting. And I am giving the slight nod to Bosh over Boozer. Some of you not familiar with CB4 will think I am just being a homer with that pick, and maybe so, but I generally believe Bosh is the better player. Ijust read an article on the web that said CB4 is not a great passer which is just proof how little the states sees Bosh play. It's a tight race between Bosh and Boozer, but I am giving Bosh that second spot.

Center position I am going against the grain. The game is won with defense just as much as offense. A healthy "Defensive player of the year" Marcus Camby SHOULDN'T be considered for the position??? I even gave Ben Wallace's name a glance, although Camby at least has a bit of offensive game to get by on. But seriously, there is more then enough players on this team for shots that having a few (w/Kidd) that is in the game not to take shots is not going to hurt at all. Again, he was voted as the best defender in the league last year. Honestly the more I think about it, the more sure I am about picking him as a starter over Amare. Dwight Howard? Again maybe in 15 years. but for right now no way. Get a jump shot Dwight.

Off the bench we have Shaq and Allen Iverson. So I am picking these guys essentially over Deron Williams/Tracey McGrady/Carlos Boozer/Elton Brand/Shawn Marion and Dwight Howard. I know Iverson might not lead to great team success like Kobe (even though he did lead Philly to the finals once) but as someone deep in the rotation, he still the same abilty to score as he did when he was league MVP years ago. And that ability is almost unmatchable by anyone in the league. Plus he can give two positions at PG/SG. Shaq daddy might be a interesting pick, but seriously. Even today when he is in a game he requires a double team. Even at 35 years old he can dominate a game like no one else. Maybe not as consistent during the 48 minutes BUT he is coming off the bench deep! If he could concentrate his prime play for the 10 minute stretch needed for this team, he is a no-brainer.

Now for 1992...

PG - Magic Johnson, John Stockton
SG - Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler
SF - Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen
PF - Karl Malone, Charles Barkley
C - Patrick Ewing, David Robinson
Reserves - Christian Laettner, Chris Mullin

Comparing the two teams...

PG- Of the 4 players to compare here, Gilbert is the one who can get the ball into the hoop. Of course, point guard does need to get his teammates putting the ball into the hoop so of the four, Gilbert is ranked 4th. It's just really tough to compare to 3 players that would be considered as the best point guards EVER. Top 5 PG's of all-time... Magic is there, Stockton is there and Kidd is in the conversation. The fact that Arenas is MAYBE top 20 and Kidd MIGHT be top 5, while Dream Teams Magic and Stockton ARE top 5 shows advantage 92

SG - This is a great comparison. Kobe vs. Jordan, Wade Vs. Drexler. Jordan has it over Kobe easily. SLIGHT nod in the scoring department, and that is the only thing that is a slight advantage. Defense and playing team basketball all Jordan easily. With Wade and Drexler though I will give it to Wade. I don't know if Clyde had the same "take over" ability that Wade has shown so many times in Miami's championship run. And I don't know if Clyde had the same play making ability. Of course, Clyde didn't have Shaq ether. But regardless I am giving this edge to 2007. I think the difference between Wade and Clyde is wider then Jordan and Kobe.

SF - Well first thing first, Larry Bird might not get his name dropped as much as Magic or MJ, but he was just as good and clutch as those other two. He was just more like Duncan in the sense that he was not style, he was substance. And as we know, the NBA marketing department perfers style over skill. Speaking of not being clutch, we got Lebron James. Watch the Spurs sweep the Cavs again and try to find Lebron hitting a shot. You will have your finger on the fast forward button for a good portion of that. I know he is young, of course Bird at the same age didn't have these issues and was playing against just as tough competition. I will give the nod to Lebron over Scottie, Pippen definetly benefitted from playing with Jordan, top 50 of all time in 96 or whenever I think not. But that being said I would take his all round game over Carmelo's. Advantage 92.

PF - Well my boy CB4 could have an amazing career. But we already know that Malone and Barkley DID have amazing careers. Malone could be considered the best PF of all-time, and Garnett, while possibly due to the fact that he has spent his time on mediocre teams for most of his career, is not ahead of Malone in the greatest of all time conversations. Garnett might be ahead of Barkley, but thats a MIGHT. Barkley is a fat beast right now, but in his playing days he was simply a beast. 1992 with the nod.

Center - Well again I like having Camby for his defence. No other center today can bring it like he does, but in 92 there was 2 centers who could, Ewing and Robinson. And they brought the offense too. Amare is nice and flashy, but Steve Nash really does help Amare out quite abit. 1992 again.

Reserves - Quick and easy, 2007. Little unfair the fact that the dream team picked a college kid and I didn't but thats the way it is.

If these two teams played in a game, the Dream Team would easily win. Again I ask, did we really know how good they were back in 1992? The term Dream team really wasn't JUST a marketing thing. It was true. BUT here is the interesting thing and it goes back to my points about the problems the current U.S. team is players taking the spots that use to be held for States born players. And I mentioned 13 names of international players. Well here they are again but without Bogut...

PG - Steve Nash, Tony Parker
SG - Manu Ginobli, Leandro Barbosa
SF - Luol Deng, Andrei Kirilenko
PF - Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitski
C - Yao Ming, Pau Gasol
Reserves - Andrea Bargnani, Mehmet Okur

Now they are not going to beat 1992 ether BUT while not as deep as 2007, anyone else pick the international boys over the 2007 Americans?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good insight until I read that Kobe was not the best shooting guard in the world. I just stopped reading after that.