Tuesday, August 12, 2008

USA Blows Past Angola...Now It Gets Serious

Their are (42) current or former NBA Players in the Beijing Olympics. (10) out of the (12) teams have at least one NBA'er. Angola is (1) of (2) teams with (0) representatives in the Association, and it showed today. The Redeemers blew the doors of Angola 97-76, but their next (3) Pool Play Games aren't going to be so 'Angolan.' Greece, Spain, and Germany are up next, and if the US gets past them, then they would have a chance to battle it out with Russia, Lithuania, and the team to beat Argentina, in the Medal Rounds. Let us not forget that Greece, who features (3) NBA bench players, beat this version of USA Basketball in 2006 at the World Games in Japan. Then Spain, who would be the biggest test of the Tournament to date, features Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez as well as (3) other former NBA bench players. Germany, who would round out Pool Play, happens to be led by the 2007 NBA MVP - Dirk Nowitzki - and Chris Kaman, who put up All Star NBA numbers this year for the Clips. The point is these teams are NBA good, and they are Basketball smart. The remaining teams, as they did in '04, are going to sit in the key, and not come out 23' from the hoop to guard somebody, unless that somebody makes them. And thus far, while the US Mens Basketball Team has certainly carried themselves, competed, and represented our country in a way that makes me absolutely proud, no one has unpacked their jumpshot yet. In the first (2) games, the Red White and Blue is 12 of 45 from with the money ball from 3 Point Land. I can promise you this, if the US continues to shoot 26% from distance, they won't win Gold, and may not even Medal. To that point, Tim Legler said on ESPN that the US has not hit 3's consistently yet because they have not had to take a 3 that has mattered yet in the first (2) games...I always thought that pressure thing made it the other way around, but I hope Legs is right!

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