Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spain, Not Team USA, Should Be Considered Favorites To Win 2010 FIBA Worlds

An early look at the odds for the 2010 FIBA World Championships, which will be contested in Turkey from Aug. 28-Sept. 12, show that the United States is roughly a 1-3 consensus favorite to win the tournament, while Spain has the next-best odds at around 6-1.

I feel like these odds reflect the reputation of USA Basketball rather than the team I see being put together in 2010 (the U.S. Men's National Team is conducting its training camp in Las Vegas this week).

As of now, I believe that Spain, the defending FIBA world champion from 2006, should be considered the favorites to win the 2010 FIBA Worlds, ahead of the U.S. Certainly, the idea that Team USA is still a heavy favorite to win, based on the odds cited above, is somewhat ridiculous.

I'll explain my reasoning about Team USA below, and we'll certainly have more in-depth previews closer to the tournament, once rosters fully take shape and pre-tournament friendlies help sort out power-ranking pecking order. For now, here's a quick capsule look at the teams (other than the U.S.) which we consider to be top medal contenders at this early date:

SPAIN: Will be without Pau Gasol, who is taking time off after three straight long NBA playoff runs plus several years of service to his national team, but all of the other Spanish players should be available. Without Pau, brother Marc will step into the lead big-man role, and in Fran Vazquez, the Spaniards have another quality big to add to the roster.

This is a talented and experienced club in its prime, with golds at the 2006 Worlds and 2009 EuroBasket, and silvers at the 2008 Olympics and 2007 EuroBasket, under its belt.

GREECE: Experienced, deep side should have everyone other than veteran playmaker/catalyst Theo Papalouakas.

ARGENTINA
: No Manu Ginobili, and getting a bit long in the tooth without too much young talent in reserve, but Argentina should still have enough wily veterans to be formidable.

As far as sleepers, we like....
BRAZIL: With Nene, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter scheduled to play, Brazil might well have the most talented collection of bigs in the tournament. Poor coaching has been the biggest problem for this ballclub in years past, so the addition of coach Ruben Magnano - under whom, Argentina not only won 2004 Olympic gold and 2002 World silver, but also played some of prettiest team basketball seen anywhere last decade - might be the most underrated personnel move of the tourney.

SERBIA: After hitting rock bottom in missing the 2008 Olympics, traditional power Serbia overhauled its roster and won a surprise silver at the 2009 EuroBasket with a young squad led by 2009-10 Euroleague MVP Milos Teodosic.

FRANCE: Plenty of NBA talent to draw from even with Tony Parker, Mickael Pietrus, and Rony Turiaf out for Turkey. Boris Diaw, Nic Batum and Roddy Beaubois should all make the team, but Joakim Noah is an uncertainty who could be a key X-factor. Poor shooting and lack of team cohesion have sunk the French in recent years despite the talent, and could do so again.

OK, on to Team USA....

*******************************

After the 2008 Olympics, we wrote a post-mortem examining the key reasons why the U.S. had won gold after stumbling in major international competitions in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Let's take a look at how the prospective 2010 version of Team USA stacks up in the key areas we identified back in 2008:

1. EXPERIENCED ALL-STAR TALENT
After USA Basketball's struggles, hoop pundits often derided their teams as a mere collection of stars thrown together, with a need for additional role players to fill out a team. But, even considering everything that Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski did to turn Team USA into a true team, the single most-important factor in winning gold in Beijing was that the U.S. brought overwhelming talent in a way it had not done so since 1996. More stars, not more role players, made the decisive difference - having a big talent edge is vital for Team USA given all of the disadvantages these NBA players face in FIBA competition.

Excerpted from our 2008 post, here's a breakdown of the number of players on the USA roster who were All-NBA players or All-Stars in the seasons leading into their international summers, including projected numbers for the 2010 team:
                92  94  96  00  02  04  06  08  10
All-NBA 1st 5 0 4 3 0 1 1 4 1
All-NBA 2nd 4 2 4 1 0 0 2 1 0
All-NBA 3rd 0 4 4 1 3 0 1 1 0
All-Stars* 11 7 12 7 5 2 5 10 6
[* - includes players who made All-NBA teams but not the All-Star Game: Ben Wallace in '02, Deron Williams in '08.]

The 2010 U.S. Men's National Team projects to rival the 2002 and 2004 editions as the least-talented U.S. teams of the NBA era. While the potential total of 6 All-Stars doesn't seem so bad, consider that:
• Three of those players are point guards - Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo - with Rondo hardly a lock to make the team.
• Gerald Wallace is another - he played in perhaps the only All-Star Game of his career in 2010, and his spot is not guaranteed, either.
• David Lee was an injury-replacement All-Star, whose availability is now in question following a finger injury on the first day of practice.

This is simply not an overwhelmingly talented team. It is well-stocked at the point-guard position (especially with Russell Westbrook in the mix in addition to the three players listed above), but particularly thin in terms of big men, especially with bigs dropping like flies as Amar'e Stoudemire and Robin Lopez have dropped out and now Lee has been injured.

In looking at the chart above, you might say, well, that 1994 team was able to win gold without overwhelming talent, but that was a different world of hoops. The talent level around the globe has increased drastically since then - teams like Brazil (with Nene, Varejao and Splitter) may have a more talented contingent of bigs than the group the U.S. fields, which is likely to be some combination of three out of Brook Lopez, David Lee, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler.

One thing working in Team USA's favor is that several top players such as Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, Tony Parker and Andrew Bogut are sitting out the Worlds.

Still, a team like Spain can field a roster loaded with NBA-caliber talent including Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez, Ricky Rubio, Juan Carlos Navarro, Jorge Garbajosa, Sergio Llull and Victor Claver. Is this Spain lineup as talented as the USA roster? No way. But with the other advantages they have (discussed below), they don't have to be. They just need to be talented enough to bridge the gap, and Spain certainly fills that bill.

Another area in which Team USA has taken a step back is in terms of big-game playoff experience:
• The 2004 team had just 1 player who'd won a championship (Duncan), 2 who'd been to the Finals (Iverson, Jefferson) and no one else who'd made it to even a conference finals.
• The 2006 team had just 1 player who'd won a championship (Wade) and no one else who'd been to even a conference finals.
• The 2008 team picked up much more playoff experience along the way, with 3 champions (Bryant, Wade, Prince), 2 who'd been to the Finals (Kidd, James) and 2 more who'd played in the conference finals (Williams, Boozer) - more closely resembling the '92 and '96 teams which were laden with players who'd made deep runs.

Now, the 2010 team is taking a big step back in terms of big-game experience. They will have a maximum of 3 champions (Billups, Odom, Rondo), but beyond that, not a single player has played in even a second-round NBA playoff game other than Tyson Chandler in 2008 and Gerald Wallace's rare and scattered minutes as a young King.

2. TEAM COHESION
As we've written many times, Colangelo and Krzyzewski deserve an immense amount of credit for building a cohesive sense of team over the course of the 2006-08 cycle. But now we are back at the beginning of a team-building cycle for Team USA.

Despite all the efforts of Coach K and Big JC, roster turnover is still a major factor in affecting team cohesion. Teams like Spain and Argentina and Greece have a huge advantage because they have so much more roster consistency.

Back in 2006, we ran a post titled "How can Argentina and Spain compete with the USA?"

We offered this breakdown of minutes per game at the 2002 Worlds, 2004 Olympics, and 2006 Worlds, with players who played in all 3 events in bold, showing how deficient the U.S. was in roster consistency:

ARGENTINA
2002
Oberto 27
Sconochini 23
Wolkowisky 23
Ginobili 22
Sanchez 20
Nocioni 20
Scola 18
Montecchia 17
Palladino 16
Fernandez 8


2004
Ginobili 30.0
Scola 25.3
Nocioni 24.1
Oberto 22.7
Wolkowisky 21.8
Montecchia 19.9
Sanchez 18.5
Sconochini 13.8
Hermann 12.8
Fernandez 12.1
Delfino 9.5

2006
Scola 24.4
Oberto 24.1
Sanchez 23.7
Ginobili 21.7
Nocioni 20.4
Wolkowisky 20.0
Delfino 18.7
Hermann 16.7
Prigioni 14.0
Fernandez 10.0


SPAIN
2002
Gasol 30
Garbajosa 29
Navarro 28
Jimenez 23
I Rodriguez 22
Angulo 16
F Reyes 15
Paraiso 15
Marco 13
A Reyes 12
Calderon 6


2004
Gasol 31.9
Calderon 31.4
Garbajosa 26.9
Navarro 23.7
de la Fuentes 19.9
Jimenez 18.3
F Reyes 14.0
Comas 10.7
Fernandez 9.0




2006
Garbajosa 28.6
Gasol 25.9
Jimenez 21.6
Navarro 21.3
Calderon 21.0
Fernandez 19.7
Mumbru 17.1
M Gasol 11.9
B Rodriguez 11.1
Cabezas 10.1
F Reyes 9.5
S. Rodriguez 9.0

USA
2002
Finley 25
Pierce 24
B Wallace 22
A. Miller 22
B. Davis 21
Marion 21
J O'Neal 19
A Davis 18
R Miller 17
Brand 16
LaFrentz 10
J Williams 6
2004
Iverson 27.1
Duncan 26.0
Marbury 26.0
Odom 22.0
Marion 19.6
Jefferson 18.5
Wade 17.5
Boozer 17.1
James 11.4
Stoudemire 7.1
Okafor 7.0
Anthony 6.7
2006
Paul 24.3
James 22.4
Anthony 22.3
Wade 20.5
Hinrich 19.6
Johnson 19.4
Brand 16.7
Battier 14.9
Bosh 14.8
Howard 14.0
Miller 12.5
Jamison 9.0

After having 6 U.S. players carry over from 2006 to 2008, this issue is rearing its head for Team USA again in 2010, as they do not have any players who played for the National Team in either 2006 or 2008, though Billups and Chandler were with the team in 2007, and several players have been in training camps over the past few years. Widening the roster and adding a training-camp model has certainly been a smart Colangelo innovation - now it'll be interesting to see if it can help mitigate massive roster turnover.

Spain, meanwhile, could have as many as 8 players who played on its 2008 Olympic team, as many as 9 players who played on its 2009 EuroBasket champions, and even as many as 6 players who played on its 2006 World champions. They have years and years of experience playing together - in many big games - and it's a hugely underrated reason why teams like Spain get an advantage over more-talented USA teams.

3. RESPECT FOR OPPONENTS
This was a major issue during USA Basketball's slide - U.S. teams would have no respect for the opposition and get themselves into huge holes against teams like Argentina at the 2002 Worlds and Puerto Rico at the 2004 Olympics, and frantic rallies were too little, too late.

The Colangelo-Krzyzewski era has seemed to reverse this trend, and I don't expect it to be a problem for this 2010 group.

4. SCOUTING KNOWLEDGE OF OPPOSING PLAYERS/TEAMS
This was a major problem in many games such as the 2006 loss to Greece - the Team USA coaches and players had absolutely no idea about the strengths and weaknesses of the individual Greek players (none of whom had spent meaningful time in the NBA), and were absolutely shredded by Theo Papaloukas & friends on the pick-and-roll.

Hiring the well-regarded Tony Ronzone to overhaul the USA Basketball scouting department was a significant move which improved Team USA's preparation in 2008. It will be interesting to see if these scouting improvements can carry over effectively in 2010.

Think about it: night after night in the NBA, players are going up against opponents who have been scouted thoroughly. Over time, players gradually learn other players' moves and tendencies and strengths and weaknesses to the point where plans of attack become second nature.

Then, in FIBA play, NBA players are often thrown into competition against Euroleague guys they've never seen before, and have no idea about their playing styles or tendencies. It's been a major advantage for the Euroleague players over the years.

I'm confident that the 2010 U.S. team will get quality information about their opponents - and plenty of video on opposition players will be available to distribute to the Team USA guys. It'll be interesting to see if the U.S. players - so inexperienced in FIBA play - will be able to apply their scouting information in their first matchups against the world's best non-NBA players.

5. INTERNATIONAL RULES & REFS
I would estimate that the U.S. loses an average of 4-5 net points per game just by being unfamiliar with the way FIBA referees call games, and with foreign rules such as offensive goaltending being legal. Again, Colangelo and Coach K have done a much better job of educating their teams on FIBA rules & refs compared to their predecessors. It's just tough for players to adjust habits and instincts after playing in scores of NBA games.

I'd also note that I think the most underrated rule difference in FIBA basketball is that unlimited zone defenses are allowed. Despite the fact that zones are allowed in the NBA, the existence of a defensive three-second rule really opens up driving lanes in the league which generally do not exist in the international game.

This rule really makes it tough for U.S. teams to exploit their advantages in athleticism in the halfcourt, and makes it imperative that the U.S. get out and press and run, and play a full-court game. It's a strategy Coach K has successfully employed in his tenure, and will certainly need to do in 2010, when the team's strengths lie in outstanding athleticism on the perimeter, and weaknesses will be a dearth of quality bigs.

[Note: Many casual observers always seem to blame a perceived lack of shooting for every USA Basketball loss. I've always found that to be an overrated factor. If you care to read my argument why, it can be found at the bottom of my 2008 post.]

*******************************

I found the USA Basketball pre-tournament game schedule to be interesting: they'll play France, Lithuania, Spain and Greece. That is one tough schedule of tuneups, including perhaps Team USA's two toughest challengers. I sense that Colangelo and Krzyzewski know that they'll need to get this group battle-tested in a hurry. I'm guessing Coach K is viewing the pre-tourney schedule like he does a tough non-conference schedule at Duke: maybe they'll take a loss prior to Turkey, but if it gets them prepared to cut down the nets at the Big Dance, I'm sure he'll take it.

I'm certainly not counting out the U.S., but to me as of today, the signs point to Spain being the favorites to win gold, and extend a remarkable national sporting run including Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam titles, Pau Gasol's NBA championships, FIBA gold medals at the 2006 Worlds and 2009 EuroBasket plus silvers at the 2007 EuroBasket and 2008 Olympics, and football championships at the 2008 Euro and 2010 FIFA World Cup.

73 Comments:

At 3:47 AM, Blogger kalamidad21 said...

You forgot than US won Olympic by the referals.

They should lost the final.

 
At 5:12 AM, Anonymous jn said...

Yeah, all those nasty referrals.

I think that the whole "respect your opponent" thing is just PR. I can remember when Yugoslavians ruled Euro basketball and everybody hated them because they did not respect anybody. Same for Italians, and Argentineans have never been famous for their respectful attitude to foreign teams and fans.

They won because they played better, period.

Also, I do not think that the game vs Greece in 2006 is a good example of scouting the opposition. Actually, the Greeks were being trounced for as long as they played as usual; they came back for the win when they switched to a much faster play they had never used before (and have never used again, by the way). Schorchianitis, for instance, had been a non factor for the whole tournament. He came alive at the right time, good for him, but it's not as if he had been beating people left and right and nobody had told Team US.

 
At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Eoin said...

This is a really good piece, and I definitely think it will be tough for the US over there. However, I have to wonder about your saying that Rondo isn't a lock. Are you basing that on information you've received? Because Rondo was the best player in the NBA for about the last two months of this season (no, I'm not a Celtics fan - he just WAS). The idea of putting Rose ahead of him, in international play, where a steady hand is needed, is absurd. And the idea of putting Billups ahead of him when the US will be looking to push the ball, is equally crazy. If Rondo doesn't get the start and the lion's share of the minutes, the US will be shooting themselves in the foot.

 
At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While this article is well thought out, it over-analyzes the situation. The simple facts are that the U.S. is by far the most talented team in this tournament. Given the international players sitting out, you can argue that no international player in this tournament is even as good as the 12th man on the U.S. roster. Anything other than a gold medal is a huge disappointment.

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger Tony said...

@Anonymous--At the same time, however, you have to recognize, that these are not players who play together year-round like the other squads.

I'm currently playing on an extremely talented local rec-ball team, with more size and athleticism than any other team in our league, and yet last week we got our @sses handed to us, simply because we never play together.

I think unfamiliarity with the rules, international style of play, reffing tendencies, and lack of cohesiveness as a team can create problems. I've always thought that you could probably take any playoff-caliber NBA team and they would be just as competitive in an international tournament, because they are familiar with one another and their respective roles.

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those other rules aren't that much of a factor because the referees are a bit softer for the US squad.

Of course playing offence with international rules is harder. You can play harder and the us team probably should.

@Tony
That's true, it doesn't really mather if you got all-star tallent on your team. You just need a group of sollid players. Who are willing to fight for every victory as a team.
Off course you don't need to pick a 12th man or a reserve of a team as your players.


@Anonymous

It's not because a player isn't playing in the NBA but in Europe means that he's a bad player.

 
At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rondo was the best player but Coack K and team have often liked to use guards who can run both spots, I believe that was why he was listed as not being a lock. He is a pure point guard! But I think he needs to at least be on the team because of his big game experience and talent at the 1 is unmatched with the options they have.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

This article actually made me more optimistic about the United State's chances. The big advantage of teams in the past has been their familiarity with the rules and their familiarity with each other. Jerry Colangelo has put in a system that has tremendous cohesion on the national team. What is going on behind the number of players returning is that many of these players have played in Sr. Men's National Teams camps, and many more played as part of junior national teams. While the world may be getting closer on talent, the US is getting closer on those intangibles.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger PY07 said...

The USA is not winning squat this year. They should be ashamed of sending such a bad team to the most important basketball tournament of them all.

 
At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why wasn't John Wall invited. If you want to run, he's the guy!

 
At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

USA is still going to win this year. Kevin Durant will be his usual self and I can see 3 or 4 that no one is talking about who is going to really step up.

 
At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

who do the US have in the key now?

given the tight zones they need a player on the inside to crash the boards and be an inside threat. who is that going to be? lamar "i like to hang out by the 3" odom?

 
At 3:56 PM, Blogger killedelvis said...

The biggest issue with the World's for the US is a lack of respect for the tournament in general. The US has failed to win the gold at the Olympics (when it has competed) as many times as it has won the World's -3-. I think in the past they sent a team out of obligation (defending Olympic Champ getting an automatic berth), hoping to get automatic qualification to the Olympics without worrying about having to qualify through the Tournament of the Americas like the last two times.

I wish the NBA would adopt FIBA rules in everything but game length, FIBA should make quarters 12 min., the NCAA would go to 4 quarters and FIBA rules.

The game is getting away from the US when the rest of the world competes under one set of rules, in more competitions, with more cohesive teams.

And they care.

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@py07


Just what do you want them to do? Sit out this year, because nobody from the 2008 olympics recommitted. You sound dumb.

 
At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Cody A said...

i think you are being a bit hard on the US there. The size in the middle issue isn't really major, remember that Carmelo played as a four for a lot of his minutes in the Olympics. Similarly, I think Green and/or Wallace will be able to slide over to the 4 for some minutes and of course Odom can be strong inside when he wants to be. The strongest opposition that the US will have will come from Spain, but I just can't see their group having the talent to match the US in crunch time. The other factor in play for Team USA this time is the fact that it seems to be a team that doesn't have a lot of big egos, which will definitely help in game situations.

BTW, I think you're sleeping on Australia as a medal contender. Bogut may be out, but they look better when he's not out there anyway. Mills has been about the best point in international basketball over the last 3 or so years, plus they have a number of NBA/Euroleague experienced talent.

 
At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is simple, you need shooters and guys who can play defense on PG in international basketball. that's why I'll put Billups at starting PG and also Curry because of his shooting ( even though he can't guard a kitchen table, but they will use his outside touch), Westbrook, Rose and Rondo are basically the same guy, young athletic, super quick and can't shoot the ball if their lives depends on it. The difference is that Rondo is much better passer, rebounder and especially defender and also he is more experienced. so I'll put Rondo as the 3rd guard, if the US needs some penetrations and havock on defense..In NBA Rondo, Rose and Westbrook are probably better than Billups but it is no need to have all of them in int. basketball.

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger john marzan said...

mhaubs, you forgot about slovenia.

 
At 6:35 PM, Blogger john marzan said...

mhaubs, you forgot about slovenia.

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger Trey said...

Bank on it . . . the USA will not place in the world championships. Like i wrote in my blog (basketballnoitall.blogspot.com), team USA lacks defensive toughness to dominate their opponents.

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but with Pau, Parker, Dirk, and Yao all skipping out, team USA will be the most talented team out there. Durant will be the best player out there.

This is still basketball. Talent wins. The only reason we ever lost is because we had teams of ego maniacs. I'm glad there won't be any LeBron or Kobe this year. We might see the best team ball ever if it's Rondo, Durant, and some of the others you mentioned on this roster.

 
At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very curious to see how the US and its opponents pre-Worlds comport themselves during the game. My guess is they'll conserve a lot of energy by subbing a lot and giving each other a bunch of looks. Cohesion and outside shooting will be our biggest bugaboos. Take a look at my Worlds preview I wrote a few weeks ago.

http://nba.suite101.com/article.cfm/2010-basketball-world-championships

 
At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

isnt the 3 line alot shorter? seems like an easy plan to me let em SHOOT

 
At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't even think the USA should even participate in International competition. The truth is that there are different rules that our players are not used to following. They shouldn't have to follow those rules. Basketball is an American Invention and should use American rules. The best players still do and always will play in the NBA. You don't hear of American born players going to Europe on purpose unless they aren't stars on their respective team and a rich team wants to give them more money than they are worth. I'm sorry but we should just sit these things out until the rules are the same as the NBA.

 
At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If full court press and pushing the ball are what you're looking for in the US squad then Rondo definitely has to be the #1 guard above Rose, Westbrook, and even Billups. This is even more true if we're "concerned" about our lack of size and rebounding. I think Coach K will have the US squad ready to go for a repeat gold medal performance.

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger Jeffrey said...

To Eoin - Im with you on Rondo. Not only is he the best passer and defender out of the group. The key is that he rebounds at the point guard position. How many international PG's are gonna put a body on him? With a lack of depth down low, this team is gonna needs the guards to rebound and pursue the ball. Rondo's specialty. The real issue is his enthusiasm. But, if he plays like he has in the past 2 post seasons. He should be the primary PG in my eyes. Billups will still get the call late in the game and rightfully so. Free throws are supposed to be free.

 
At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typically American view of the world, predicting the obvious (Greece, Argentina, Spain) as the main threat to the US ! You might like to read up on the recent series between Argentina and Australia,which Australia won 3-0, including two 40+ blowouts. Ironic that there is talk about a lack of respect for all opponents and inadequate scouting .....

 
At 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US does have one huge advantage...Coach K. I have a feeling he will be able to get this squad to play together and play his style of winning basketball. If this team plays anywhere near its potential they will win gold hands down.

 
At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They've moved the three point arc further from the hoop in the FIBA tournament so that opens the lane up. This makes stretches the zone which the USA team's athleticism can take advantage of. We have a potential line up 4 or so shooters (specifically Billups and Curry) and people who can drive (Durant, Rondo, Rose). We have Chandler who can play a decent center, and I'm sure 1-2 of our power forwards can partially play center. The US team has the players to be an extremely high scoring team so we just need do mediocre in term of defense (although really good defense won't hurt). Even though we might come up short on rebounds often due to a lack of size, the basketball IQ of our point guards (also in general, our players) is extremely high, and we can cause turnovers.

 
At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Throw in Alberto Contador's Tour de France victories as more of Spain's successful runs in various sports.

 
At 8:55 PM, Blogger Kyle said...

usa will get crushed because they have no concept of what basketball is about. nba is garbage now. they need to watch the movie hoosiers a few times tnen they might get a clue. our last team struggled against ricky rubio and the gasols. we had lebron,kobe and wade.

 
At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes the US is still the most talented team in the tournament and Durant is by far the best individual player this year. You could argue that no one else in the tournament could even MAKE the USA roster in an open tryout. (It should be noted that this is also the case almost every year. Look at 2008 you could argue MAYBE Pau, Dirk or Yao could make the US roster yet Spain gives them all they can handle in the Gold medal game) They SHOULD win, but they likely will not.

As a avid watcher of these competitions, it is obvious that the US has far better players but that many of the other elite countries actually play the game of basketball MUCH better than the US does. They understand the game better and play together better than Americans. The best example was in Indy in 2002 when Arg and Yugos picked apart the one on one Americans. In spite of this, most of time the overwhelming talent is too much and the US wins anyway. But not when they don't send their absolute best of the best.

Can you imagine if your mens league or college or high school team played an opponent that had no one better than your worst guy? You would expect to win by 50! No?

As hard as it to swallow for the Team USA fans you have to admit that they just play great team basketball and we do not.
The real argument is why this happens you make lots of theories...
Have you watched any AAU ball recently????
Many High schools still playing with no shot clock
(and college at 35) while euros play with 24/8 as 13 year olds!
The game of basketball in the USA is in trouble and the call is coming from inside the house!

 
At 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this is why the rest of the worlds does not like you...
(by the way Naismith was Canadian)
Anonymous said...
I don't even think the USA should even participate in International competition. The truth is that there are different rules that our players are not used to following. They shouldn't have to follow those rules. Basketball is an American Invention and should use American rules. The best players still do and always will play in the NBA. You don't hear of American born players going to Europe on purpose unless they aren't stars on their respective team and a rich team wants to give them more money than they are worth. I'm sorry but we should just sit these things out until the rules are the same as the NBA.

8:37 PM

 
At 9:20 PM, Blogger Kyle said...

NBA is not the best players in the world. Only the most athletic. They can't shoot, pass or play good team D.

 
At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think some of you are overestimating how much talent is on this USA team. Outside of Durant, that is.

 
At 10:07 PM, Anonymous John said...

"I would estimate that the U.S. loses an average of 4-5 net points per game just by being unfamiliar with the way FIBA referees call games..."

You mean they lose that many points per game because of how terrible the FIBA refs are, right? I thought NBA refs are bad (and I still do), but the FIBA refs are so much worse. They make so many ridiculous traveling calls (it seems like they're unprepared for Team USA's athleticism, specifically on the first step) that it's laughable.

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want to hear you foreigners lecture to Americans about how good Australia and Greece are. Let me put it to you this way. Your idea of these players (except Bogut) competing with top NBA players (who play cohesively) is the same as thinking that MLS teams can matchup day in and day out against English or Spanish first league football teams. It is absolutely absurd. Like any sports competition if a team is not prepared they will not play well. However the only threat to the US (if they play cohesively) is Spain as they can match up with legitimate NBA players. Simple as that.

 
At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is good article. I'd consider myself merely a minor basketball fan, but I noticed that the author of this article pointed out that building team cohesion after a massive roster overhaul is one of the major problems with this squad. I think it needs to be pointed out that this is what Coach K does year-in and year-out. Every year with his college team there is an average of 25-35% roster change (25% because of 4 years of elligibility minus red-shirts, and 35% because of leaving early for the NBA). But, I think it needs to be said that this issues is something that Coach K is very well suited for--building a cohesive team after roster changes in a relatively short time.

 
At 10:48 PM, Blogger Ronald said...

Some of these comments remind me of those I see on The Guardian's website when describing England's chances in the World Cup....rather delusional :)

 
At 11:13 PM, Anonymous milaz said...

Hilarious comments all around... and to think most of the people here are true hardcore basketball fans/players.... I'm sure you all know that in international competition a team is assembled a bit before the tournament, plays some exhibition games and goes to the tournament. European teams are more familiar with each other (smaller leagues), have been playing together since they were kids and most come from the top European clubs, many from NBA clubs or have played in the NBA for a period (so they know the NBA more than an NBAer knows the international game). Team USA is assembled from a larger pool of players and tends to be much less cohesive than the rest of the teams. That alone is one major drawback for Team USA.

Also, if you are a true basketball fan/player you know that this is a team sport. In 2006 the USA lost to a better TEAM - so what if they had better individual players? On that day, Greece played a simple pick and roll game and beat the US comprising of Lebron, Carmelo, Wade, Bosh, Paul etc by simply being more unselfish; that is play TEAM basketball and we all know that a better TEAM beats any individual.

Also, you need to get off the high horse that declares that the NBA is the best basketball in the world and look at some Euroleague games...

Finally, this is a international tournament where the final stage is knockout games - its ONE game - anything can happen! So making predictions on who will win is foolish - yes you can name a favorite or favorites (as does this article) but guaranteeing victory ... where's the fun in that... Anyways... anyone that has been watching basketball for the past 15-20 yrs knows this...

I know the writer of this blog is one of the most well rounded basketball writers on the web so all of the above is directed to various "silly" comments that are posted above.

 
At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The main reason Coach K is reluctant to keep Rondo is his broken shot outside of 14 feet. Against a zone you need 4 threats and all have to be able to hit an open 3. This is why Curry, while not nearly at Rondo's level in the NBA (yet), is actually a better selection for FIBA.

 
At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US did not win because of the officials you tool. Anybody that claims that does not know a thing about basketball.

The US will win this thing easily. There is nobody in the WORLD that can match up and defend Kevin Durant.

To the writer of this: you wanna put your money where your mouth is and bet me that the USA does not win gold?

Your attempt to breakdown the USA is lame. You know nothing about basketball.

This team is being built to play a lot of guys that are going to press and run for 40 minutes.

You also seem to forget that the real goal is the Olympics in London in 2014.

US will win easily.

 
At 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without Wade they won't win, he was MJ jr in 08...

 
At 5:30 AM, Blogger Charles said...

This is the second article that has Rondo possibly not making the team. Don't they watch the NBA? He might not be a great shooter but he will impact any game he plays and this team is just not that good or experienced. I think this poster thinks that Bird, McHale and Parris still start for the Celts. Durant will have to be a monster in this tournament for the US to win, though. Buthe is totally capable.

 
At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok....lets stop with the stupid chatter, the best basketball in the world is played in the NBA. That's not open for debate. If you took the reigning NBA champions of any given year (a team that had been playing together all season) and pitted them against the top international teams, the international teams would be screwed. If you could some how play Pau Gasol on both teams, do you honestly think Spain would have a snowball's chance in hell against the Lakers? What about the Celtics? No. They wouldn't.

The only reason this tournament is interesting is because the U.S.A does not have a "team" so much as a collective. And that's good, because it makes it exciting. But lets stop with the bull**** about the best basketball being played anywhere but the U.S.A. You're just wrong.

Also, Dwayne Wade was nasty in '08, but the more important players were Kobe (ask anyone on the team how important he was) and Jason Kidd (who is back to coach).

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger john marzan said...

My FIBA Final Four

USA
Spain
Slovenia
Turkey

 
At 6:44 AM, Anonymous jn said...

Please, don't watch Euroleague games. Even now and then you will find a good game there, but most of them will make your eyes bleed.

 
At 7:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does Team USA have so many PGs? Because all smart coaches know that great PGs make it easier to run the offense with limited practice time. When you don't have much time to play together and you lose several quality players, great PGs can still make offense run smoothly and allow coaches to focus more on defensive strategy

 
At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Rondo might struggle with FIBA rules.
While he was spectacular at the end of the season, I don't think he'll be as adept at picking apart solid zone defenses, especially since he won't be able to make his haphazard drives as much.

 
At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont like how sports "experts" say you cant just throw a team together and win. If you look at the 2003 FIBA Americas roster,that team would have easily won gold at the 2004 olympics.

 
At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the posters suggesting we watch more euroleague games--i've seem them and they aren't good. maybe you need to watch more NBA games instead...

 
At 5:14 PM, Blogger Justin said...

Spain has the most talented players, and the most team experience, better shooters, better passers, and better bigs.

This is a team that played toe-to-toe with USA in 2008, and they are 90% the same roster, with a lot more experience, while the USA is 0% the same.

This is shaping up to be the worst USA team ever. USA will be lucky to place in top 6. A medal would be a miracle.

 
At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, the other teams do not all play together for years. Sure, maybe a team like Argentina or Spain to a certain degree. But NO ONE ELSE. Most teams change 5-8 players every tournament. That's a pure fiction and made up excuse for Team USA if they lose. Even Argentina and Spain change several players from tournament to tournament.

Second....that FIBA rules hurt Team USA. RIDICULOUS. FIBA allows Team USA to travel and palm the ball as Team USA is reffed under NBA rules. EVERY other team is reffed under FIBA rules and cannot palm the ball, nor travel. HUGE MEGA UNFAIR advantage for the US. 90% of their dunks in 2008 were travels and none of the other teams are allowed to make those plays.

If you were such an expert on FIBA you would have known that FIBA changed the rules prior to the 2008 Olympics to from then on allow travels and palming for ONLY Team USA. They have a HUGE GIGANTIC UNFAIR built-in advantage from the refs and the rules because of that.

Third, you keep stating that the US has vastly superior talent to all the other teams.....You even mention players like Rubio and Claver for Spain as clear NBA players. Clearly my friend you have never in your entire life seen a Euroleague game.

Claver is not an NBA caliber player. Rubio.....he is a bad player in Europe. He's practically a scrub even. Practically no one in the world outside of US or Spain even considers him a good player. But he's a great hype machine for that Latino market. Just what the NBA wants. He will be manufactured into a star by NBA refs for marketing reasons, even though he can't play all that well. Just like most of the NBA "superstars" are manufactured ref creations.

Now to USA's "superior" NBA players...The NBA has maybe 5-10 players that are elite that possibly the Euroleague does not have. However, even that is debatable as the very best of the Euroleague can hang even with the elitist NBA players.

However, after that the Euroleague players are better on average. The average NBA player is practically useless in the Euroleague. While the average Euroleague player can play well in the NBA. The examples are plethora and numerous but NBA fans are too arrogant to grasp it. After all, "Euros" (a racist term) are white and it's a "black man's game", "a black American game".

Yeah, well, players like Linas Kleiza and Josh Childress go from being 6th men on NBA playoff teams, go to the Euroleague... They put up big stats, hog the ball, play like crap in big games, choke every time in crunch time, lose the game every time when it counts. They are practically in tears crying on the court in the championship games. They get dominated so bad it's like a man playing against his kid in the driveway. All they know is "stats". They don't have the slightest clue how, nor ability to win games.

 
At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Average NBA player does not have the skill, nor the mental aspects to 1/10 the degree of what good Euroleague players have. And the very best Euroleague players like Spanoulis, Navarro, Siskauskas (not playing at the tournament) are way better than the second tier NBA guys. I mean WAY better than guys like Joe Johnson, Derrick Rose, etc.

But the American NBA fans think they "suck" because racist NBA coaches don't like to use them properly (Navarro) or to play them at all (Spanoulis). Darko Milicic, Andrew Bogut, Juan Carlos Navarro, Arvydas Macijauskas, Vassilis Spanoulis, Mirsad Turkcan, and others have given slight little hints here and there that NBA coaches are racist against any player that is not a black and/or American.

Fabricio Oberto, Mirsad Turkcan, Vassilis Spanoulis, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Fred Weiss, etc. implied in comments that US coaches imply that only American blacks can play basketball.

It's pathetic. An NBA GM said "never draft a white guy" to Draftexpress.com

And the NBA obviously instructs the in game announcers to make up lies about foreign players. For example, in nearly every local broadcast game, "Marc Gasol was Euroleague MVP". "Luis Scola was Euroleague MVP". "Rudy Fernandez was Euroleague MVP", etc.

The NBA announcers make up these lies. Combined they have ZERO Euroleague MVP awards between them. It's called NBA marketing 101 style. It's a pure fiction, but NBA fans just lap it up.

No.....NBA players are not "more talented". This roster the US have selected is nowhere close to the talent that a team like Spain or Greece has. Half those NBA players you are talking about could not even make it on big European clubs. Where you have to have skills, will, and smarts. They would last about as long as Von Wafer did in Olympiacos.

I mean a guy like Tyreke Evans??? Surely this is a joke or Colaneglo is just throwing him a bone and he won't actually be on the team? They can't be serious. You would have thought they would have learned after Iverson and Marbury in 2004, but apparently not.


A guy like Rondo? Really? Yeah, the American version of Rubio and equally as awful in shooting. While you kept mentioning Spain's gold in 2009 at EuroBasket in your piece, maybe you should have mentioned that Rubio was so awful (because he can't shoot) that he almost got Spain eliminated at the group stage. Where they needed a miracle come from behind win (with the help of the refs) to beat Great Britain to avoid elimination at the group stage.

Or how they lost to Serbia, a team that was like on average 22 years old. Or how they went to overtime with a DEPLETED Slovenia team and only won on a blown ref call. Just to get past the group stage.

Maybe you should mention how when the elimination games started Spain's coach made an adjustment and removed Rubio from any duty other than bringing the ball up court in the first half. The offense was run almost exclusively by Navarro and Carlos Cabezas. Because the team could not win with Rubio handling the offense, because he can't shoot.

Rondo would be perhaps even worse than Rubio against a zone. I mean it's like a joke just thinking about it.

No, you most certainly do NOT have "more talented players". Not at this tournament anyway.

 
At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And the NBA obviously instructs the in game announcers to make up lies about foreign players. For example, in nearly every local broadcast game, "Marc Gasol was Euroleague MVP". "Luis Scola was Euroleague MVP". "Rudy Fernandez was Euroleague MVP", etc.

The NBA announcers make up these lies. Combined they have ZERO Euroleague MVP awards between them. It's called NBA marketing 101 style. It's a pure fiction, but NBA fans just lap it up.

No.....NBA players are not "more talented". This roster the US have selected is nowhere close to the talent that a team like Spain or Greece has. Half those NBA players you are talking about could not even make it on big European clubs. Where you have to have skills, will, and smarts. They would last about as long as Von Wafer did in Olympiacos.

I mean a guy like Tyreke Evans??? Surely this is a joke or Colaneglo is just throwing him a bone and he won't actually be on the team? They can't be serious. You would have thought they would have learned after Iverson and Marbury in 2004, but apparently not."
*********************************






Does this guy above even watches the NBA? Nearly everything you said is ridiculous. I rarely hear NBA announcers saying those things you mention, and if they do it's because they don't know what they are talking about. But it's rare. It doesn't happen every time. You probably heard them saying those things and, someway, somehow, this led you to believe they do that all the times. Maybe you are the liar.

How exactly NBA players are not more talented than their FIBA counterparts (you are also forgetting that many of those players in international play are NBA players themselves: Ginobili, Parker, Duncan, Nowitzky, Bogut , Gasol etc.)? Are you serious?

And how exactly half those players wouldn't make it to Europe? Maybe it's true the opposite: half those players on international teams wouldn't make it to the NBA.

Have you even watched Tyreke Evans playing? How do you even dare to compare him to Iverson and Marbury? And throwing Rondo under the bus? Have you watched the NBA playoffs at all?

It's funny how NBA fans get accused of being arrogant and ignorant, yet many international fans posting here are the ones who are REALLY being arrogant and ignorant.

-Andrew

 
At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kalamidad21 said...

You forgot than US won Olympic by the referals.

They should lost the final.

***********************************
yeah, the REFERALS. At least spell it right next time.

There were bad calls going both ways, my friend. But they didn't win because of the refs. They did win because they played as a team and played formidable defense, which is shocking to those NBA haters who are posting on this site

 
At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger PY07 said...

The USA is not winning squat this year. They should be ashamed of sending such a bad team to the most important basketball tournament of them all.
**********************************

Ashamed of what, exactly?

"Such a bad team"? Even before they actually play an official game?

I challenge you to prove they are such a bad team. I challenge you. Go ahead. Try to back up your ridiculous comment, please.

And if they are such a bad team based on their roster, what would you call the other teams playing in this tournament then?

Team USA may win the gold medal..or maybe not. Who knows what will happen, but saying they're such a bad team even before they play an actual game is ridiculous and makes me question your basketball I.Q.

I'm used to read great comments on this site. But this post clearly lured many U.S. hoops haters who absolutely don't know what they're talking about. Not only that, they are accusing us NBA fans of being ignorant. Looks to me the ignorant ones are not U.S. fans.

Again, I challenge you to back up your claim. Explain, please, why Team USA is such a bad team. I really want to know it.

-Andrew

 
At 11:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger killedelvis said...

The biggest issue with the World's for the US is a lack of respect for the tournament in general. The US has failed to win the gold at the Olympics (when it has competed) as many times as it has won the World's -3-. I think in the past they sent a team out of obligation (defending Olympic Champ getting an automatic berth), hoping to get automatic qualification to the Olympics without worrying about having to qualify through the Tournament of the Americas like the last two times.

I wish the NBA would adopt FIBA rules in everything but game length, FIBA should make quarters 12 min., the NCAA would go to 4 quarters and FIBA rules.

The game is getting away from the US when the rest of the world competes under one set of rules, in more competitions, with more cohesive teams.

And they care.


*************************************

Aren't you blowing this thing way out of proportion? I mean, you are making it sound like Team USA already lost (even before they actually play their first game) and you are saying the game is getting away from the U.S. Nevermind they destroyed all of their opponents in their last international competition ('08 Olympics), minus Spain (but they still beat them by 35+ in the qualifying round).

No, I doubt they will be as good as they were in '08 but isn't it a bit ridiculous to act as if Team USA already lost? The thing that really bothers me is this "end of the world" mentality when it comes to Team USA. People are already acting as if U.S. hoops is in trouble or as if this team got run out of the building from, uggghh, Iran.

Can we just please wait until next month before running to conclusions about how much this team sucks? Can we at least wait until next month and see how they perform before using the same overused stereotypes about this team?

As far as your wish to see the NBA going toward FIBA rules, it won't happen. But it will happen the opposite. The '10 WC will be the last international event with the actual rules. Starting with next year FIBA rules will look more and more like the NBA and the trapezoid lane will be replaced with the rectangular lane.

-Andrew

 
At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Kyle said...

usa will get crushed because they have no concept of what basketball is about. nba is garbage now. they need to watch the movie hoosiers a few times tnen they might get a clue. our last team struggled against ricky rubio and the gasols. we had lebron,kobe and wade.

8:55 PM

***********************************

If the NBA is garbage why are you even reading this blog, which is mainly about the NBA?

How exactly they have no concept of team basketball?

I'm sick and tired of those haters who don't watch the NBA and who rant against it by using the same OLD AND OVERUSED STEREOTYPES. I'm frickin' sick and tired of them all.

All of the teams who won NBA titles, including the most recent ones (the Lakers, but you can say the same for their opponents, the Celtics) played as a TEAM. Have you even bothered to watch the NBA Finals (or the playoffs in general for that matter) or are you running your mouth talking about stuff you don't know?

I also think that if you allowed the NBA champs to participate in international competition they would EASILY win every single game. So much for having no concept of team basketball.

Seriously, as a basketball fan there's nothing more annoying than NBA haters hating on the NBA by using the same overused stereoytpes. I swear there's nothing more annoying than that. Especially when they do it on a blog like this one, which is mainly about the NBA. I'm wondering what they're even doing here.

Then you added: "last team struggled against ricky rubio and the gasols. we had lebron,kobe and wade."

Of course you're referring to the '08 gold medal game. Nevermind this very same team easily beat all of their opponents back in '08, including Spain (I think they beat them by 30-35 or something close to it). And in the gold medal game they didn't easily win not because they had no concept of team basketball, as you foolishly claim, but because, admittledly, Spain played a great game. Both teams played great and Team USA won because of TEAM PLAY and DEFENSE. If you actually bothered to watch the game you probably would have known it. So much for having no concept of team basketball, uh?

And don't forget that many international players who play in international competitions are NBA players themselves, so when you hate on the NBA you are hating also on those international players like Nowitzky, Gasol (you even mentioned him), Scola, Ginobili, Bogut etc. who, according to you, are team players.

-Andrew

 
At 1:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Kyle said...

NBA is not the best players in the world. Only the most athletic. They can't shoot, pass or play good team D.
*********************************

Kyle at it again, with another one of his ridiculous stereotype-driven posts. How exactly they can't shoot? I don't have the 2010 data but this very same blog came up with a post titled "NBA Shooting At Historic Highs; Scoring Cracks 100" back in '09. Maybe you should read it:

http://thepaintedarea.blogspot.com/2009/04/nba-shooting-at-historic-highs-scoring.html

They can't play good defense, right? Where were you during the NBA Finals then?

Seriously, watch the games and then talk because your basketball knowledge is non-existent.

 
At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And how exactly NBA players aren't the best in the world, Kyle? Do you know anything about basketball at all? Do you? Are you aware that the vast majority of the best players in the world, both U.S. and international, are in the NBA, right? Right?


If you really believe what you're saying, come up with a list and explain why every single player on this list is better than their NBA counterparts. Explain why, say, Bo McCalebb is better than, say, Kevin Durant. Explain why, say, Ramunas Siskauskas is better than, say, Pau Gasol . I'd like to see you actually backing your posts with FACTS instead of using stereotypes. Not that I believe you know any non-NBA players.

You are either ignorant about basketball or you have a personal agenda against the NBA. Or probably both.



-Andrew

 
At 5:49 PM, Blogger David Speaker said...

Great, intelligent breakdown. I agree with most of it.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Bill said...

they need to watch the movie hoosiers a few times tnen they might get a clue
-------

You mean the movie where the white team didn't rebound and couldn't defend, but beat the black team anyway?

 
At 2:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people keep bringing up the '06 game in which Greece beat Team USA and CONVENIENTLY IGNORE the '08 Olympics games between those two same teams in which Greece was run out of the building?

 
At 10:11 AM, Blogger Silent said...

I still believe that USA is the favorite but only by a small margin. Let's just say that they are very prone to an upset with this team.

The reason I say this is because although they are still the most talented team, there are several players who I think doesn't fit well in international competition like Igoudala, Gay, Granger, and Rondo.

I've followed international basketball for a long time and I have that feeling right now that I had before when Team USA was upset. The major reasons they lost in the past are shooting and inside presence, and these are the exact problems that this current team has.

Curry is the only pure shooter in this group and that is a serious concern since the FIBA style forces a ton of jumpshots. As for inside presence, Odom and Love are basically bigs who like to play outside of the paint.

Team USA might win on sheer talent alone but I cannot discount the possibility of an upset.

 
At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a huge Celtics fan and NBA-Rondo fan, I can't see him making the final squad. His game simply doesnt translate to international hoops. With the lack of bigs outside shooting has never been a bigger need for this team. Plus, you can;t bring a guy who is a liability in the 4th quarter when he can't make a FREE throw !

 
At 2:28 AM, Anonymous milaz said...

Because lots and lots of people here keep saying "have you even watched the game?", "do you watch the nba/euroleague?"... If any of you really follow basketball then you know that making predictions - especially when the tournament is an international one with knockout games in the final round - it is not easy.

In theory (and according to the bookies), the favorites are USA, Spain and Greece - in that order. That has been the case for the past 5-6 years. Argentina was also up there, but their stars are aging. Teams overseas (i.e. not in the US) do stick together for longer periods and even if some players miss a tournament, the core is usually the same or comes from the junior teams....

In any case, my point is this is a tournament that has a KNOCKOUT stage so ANYTHING can happen. It's one game, there is no game 2, 3, 4, etc to adjust. In the 2006 semis the USA could not adjust to the simplest of game plans by Greece and lost. They lost repeatedly to Argentina in previous years... And as the game evolves and more international players are in the NBA you can't use the argument that the team of NBAers, i.e. the USA is the favorite, since other teams also have NBAers and players that were in the NBA and CHOSE to leave.

The ridiculous comments of this league is better or worse means that those people see basketball in a very one-dimensional way... it's different... there are differences from country to country and continent to continent... there are excellent games I've seen in the NBA and the Euroleague and shocking games... a huge difference is the playoffs Vs the Final Four (where again it's only one game)...

It's sad to even see people claim that Childress did not do well in Europe... despite the fact that his team made it to the Greek league finals and the Final Four two yrs in a row... So he only won the greek cup last year... why does everyone have to be a Michael Jordan clone to be a great player... Childress is a player that does many small things (sort of like Pippen) and helps his team by fitting into that role... if you guys (people commenting) REALLY understand basketball you know this.... and I do hope that I am only pointing out what is very obvious...

What has really changed, is that the USA has to actually go out and play and EARN the game, as opposed to 1992 when they toyed with opposing teams. There is no awe anymore b/c Gasol is Kobe's teammate and a vital part of the Lakers... There were no real european stars in the NBA in 1992... anyways...

I agree with the title Spain is the favorite to win this tournament, but in a knockout stage ANYTHING can happen... My prediction is Serbia will do very well and I see the final four teams being - USA, Spain, Serbia and Greece - ...

 
At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Troy Miles said...

Hard to make another team (Spain) the favorite against the US. It is true that spain ran a virtual clinic in the '08 Final against the US.(They probably had 30+ lay-ups) Save a couple of heroic plays from D Wade (defensively) and Kobe (offensively) the Us woud be wearing silver(?) I believe the "Dream Team" was an american nightmare. Hopefully we've paid enough attention to our Europeon mentors (?) and can flip the script.

 
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At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spain is already a team. USA... you can not build a team in a month. I think Spain has the edge... in fact I think USA is no match for Spain right now.

 
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