Team USA Thoughts

Kurt —  August 4, 2006

Thank God we got to watch Team USA in action so we didn’t have to rely on Chris Sheridan’s reporting any longer (more on him later). One game is just one game, and you can’t say much bad about a 45-point win, but here are a few thoughts.

• I didn’t see him on the bench, but I’d swear that Nolan Richardson was helping coach that team, because that sure looked like the old Arkansas “40 minutes of hell” defense to me.

• Has the USA solved the outside shooting issue that plagued it in Athens? I’m not so sure. By my count (I couldn’t find the official stats online even two hours after the game ended, and my Tivo cut off the last 2:30) the USA was 11 of 32 from three-point range (34.4%), which is not very impressive from the shorter international line. In the first half, when the tempo was slower, the USA was just 3 of 17 from beyond the arc, but with more transition and open looks in the second half — not to mention the shooters just feeling comfortable — they hit 8 of 15. So which numbers are more what we will see in Japan?

• I had the USA 7 of 14 from the midrange.

• That’s high pressure style can be great defense and style to play when you have the depth of this USA team and can just keep throwing guys out there in waves. But more talented and experienced teams could make the USA pay for it if they don’t get back.

• The USA really needs to come up with a couple zone-buster plays they can run consistently. Even if one of those is Wade just breaking guys down off the dribble (that worked pretty well).

• Carmello Anthony looked good (including 3 of 4 from deep), his outside touch really suits the International style.

• I loved when LeBron (or another forward) would get the rebound then lead the break themselves, that made the USA even more dangerous in transition.

• Okay, let’s talk about Sheridan. I’m slow to criticize reporters because I appreciate the work they do — for example Chad Ford may get things wrong at times but you can’t question the work he puts in to cultivate sources and info.

But since going to Vegas to cover Team USA, Sheridan, who has long covered USA basketball, seems to want to stir the pot for no particular reason. First there was his insistence Coach K was in error for asking the team to try to dominate every quarter. Tom at SacTown Royalty did a good job shooting down both the original premise and Sheridan’s defense.

In his next column, Sheridan talks to Kobe, who shows up to watch a practice, and spends the entire column questioning why Kobe would call the team “they” and not “we.” He calls Kobe out for it. I have a theory why Kobe chose those words — HE’S NOT ON THIS TEAM. He had an operation but still cared enough to come out to a meaningless scrimmage. Despite what Sheridan said in that column, I saw photos later that showed Kobe joking around with Team USA guys afterward. He said several times he wished he could be playing.

It’s disapointing, because Sheridan is usually a good reporter, but it’s as if he’s disappointed he hasn’t been invited on Around the Horn, so he’s trying to show he’s ready by making up stories where there are none. “See, I can be controversial too, put me on as a talking head.”

My kingdom for some old-school reporting.

Kurt

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11 responses to Team USA Thoughts

  1. arrghh!! it’s frustrating living in a country where the main sport is soccer…
    Spain has already played 3-4 pre-world championship games and i haven’t seen none of them. not because i havent tried to, but bcuz TV’s dont show them…
    neither the games from the USA…

    I want the world championship to start so i can see all the F***cking games

    by the way, what do you think about other teams in the championship

    the main front runners apart from the US are Argentina, Spain and France.

    Argentina has a strong starting 5, lead by Ginobili and Nocioni at the wings, Prigioni ( a pass-first PG) and a frontcourt with 2 players that have dominated the paints in European basketball, Scola and Oberto.
    tought team to play against

    Spain is one of the most explosive teams in this tournament. This guys have high basketball IQ and the press defense and diferent kind of zonal defense are the main caracteristics of spanish coach Hernandez. Having Pau Gasol as main star there are also NBA players PG Calderon and PF Garbajosa (raptors), NBA project Rudy Fernandez, All-Euroleague best shooting guard JC Navarro and a solid backup for all of them.
    this team loves the outside game, Navarro, Fernandez and Garbajosa have good 3 point range. Watch out Navarro, the first scoring option in this outside game, a terrific scorer. and Gasol, who has started this season to show more agressiveness (and his bear)

    France will be with spain, the most explosive team.
    Toni Parker is one of the quickest players and will have mickael pietrus and soon-to-be Sonic Gelabale who are both great athletes , the do-it-all sun Diaw and John Petro that will bring toughness to this team.
    Turiaf will be maybe 6th-7th man in rotation.

  2. five-man taichi August 4, 2006 at 6:29 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with the Sheridan digs. I literally just read the article when I said–F#*$% this, I’m going over to FB&G to see if a real reporter has something real to say. Hopefully Kurt has a new post to take that nasty Sheridan taste out of my mouth. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

    Keep it up.

    Peace

  3. who on france is a better interior defender than ronny, they better give him good pt, or he shouldve been allowed to stay here and play on the spl team.

    as far as the game went, i wish people would point out the fact that the lineup that really was effective did not have wade or melo or lebron in it, although lebron looked great. the lineup that changed the game was led by our very own John R.’s favorite player Elton Brand. The lineup with Brand, joe johnson (who looked ridiculously good last nite), shane battier, gilbert arenas and kirk hinrich. that unit came to play and the second half, everyone looked good. i like that coach k is running out different units and letting them play the whole quarter, it lets them get a flow and allows them to use all there energy on defense while there on the floor. add in billups, kobe and pierce, and hopefully odom, this will truly be dream-team 2

  4. oh yeah, screw “journalists” who monger controversey (sheridan) or plain our rumor monger to the point of false misprepresentation (eric pincus has taken the crown in this department).

  5. Thanks kwame a., I was going to mention Joe Johnson too but fogot, he really impressed in this system. I could see Brand taking Bosh’s starting spot, especially against teams with a true center.

    The depth of this USA team may be its biggest strength.

  6. My favorite part of the game was when the announcers discussed Coach K. He wants the team to work hard. Don’t argue with the refs. Don’t showboat. In the midst of their Coack K sportsmanship talk, D-Wade makes a steal and sprints for a big slamma-jamma which he caps off with a salute to the crowd. Hilarious. The announcers tried to cover it. “What a wonderful tribute to the men and women of the armed forces in the crowd.” I think it was a wonderful tribute to stuffing it in Puerto Rico’s face.

  7. I’ve been wanting to say something about Sheridan’s article on Kobe, but I figured he would put his foot in his mouth some more, which he did with the recent one about the win over PR. “So much for dominating every quarter” – was he serious? I haven’t seen someone so blatantly wrong since Skip Bayless’s last article about something that wasn’t TO. It’s really annoying.

  8. Sheridan is an international homer. If thats even possible.

    But yeah, he seems to have slipped into a Bayless-esque contrarian position here. If the US loses, he was right and he told us so, if they win, then he gets to be glad to be wrong.

  9. Sportswriters used to try to tell us what was important about a player or a sporting event, what we needed to know, not what was polemic.

    Guys like Jim Murray and Alan Malamud were not trying to make themselves the story.

    Sheridan, Mariotti, Woody Page, are the equivalent of the “if it bleeds, it leads” version of the evening news…

    About last night’s game, I take back what I said about Dwight Howard. He is a man. And what I said about Amare being on the team answering questions about his injury.I stand by what I said about Brad Miller

    I agree with kwame a. about the Brand, JJ, Battier lineup being a tough group. That is the lineup that had the 19-2 run to end the quarter.

    Bosh was awful last night, really tight, bricking three’s and missing chippy’s.

    And Coach K was absolutely gushing about Melo of all people. Case in point that today’s media can paint you into a corner. He called Melo “omniscient on the court” and “his best pupil” on a team that has Shane Battier!

    In a shout out to X Clan, that USA team is “Deeper than Atlantis”…

  10. I’ve always had the belief that things go in cycles. LeBron was first with his amazing run in the playoffs to push Detroit to the brink of elimination this year, but right after that Wade stepped it up in the Conference Finals and against the Mavericks to wrest glory from the hands of LeBron. Now, on the biggest stage of them all, it’s Carmelo’s chance to really prove himself and one up everyone else. This international game is made for Melo’s offensive game. I’m glad Coach K knows what the kid needs is confidence and someone having his back to know he can go out there, miss a few but keep firing away since he’s got the skill to hit these shots.

  11. I just read Roland Lazenby’s latest blog. Kinda depressing really. Tex is not impressed with the roster.