Where will they finish in this years games?
Where will they finish in this years games?
I'm going with gold because the team seems pretty balanced. The young guys wil need to step up, but from what I've read about LaBron and Mello, that shouldn't be a problem.
If Duncan gets hurt though, we could be in trouble.
I voted Gold. I gotta think this team learned something from our last international outing. There's no just showing up and collecting medals anymore.
Plus, like SK mentioned, I think many of the young guys on the team (LeBron, Melo) are excellent team players.
Iverson's influence could be a detriment, though, given the fact that he's already been late to a meeting. Good grief!
I expect a Gold, but don't think it will be a cakewalk.
Melo hasn't learned anything from your latest loses
That would never fly. Think about how many months over a 1.5 year period a team that won the Championship would be playing if they were to represent the U.S. in the Olympics too.
I don't think that would really (or virtually) guarantee a Gold Medal either. Suppose Houston wins and Yao cannot play or Sacramento losing Peja. The Pistons would be fine sure, but Okur and Darko were not (currently anyway) the gas that keeps their engine going.
It's an interesting idea but with the length of the NBA season and playoffs, one that just won't happen.
I agree it won't work because it's too much playing time for those guys.
But I disagree that it wouldn't work because of foreign issues.
If the Rockets won the title, you just replace Yao with Duncan.
Kings, replace Peja with Garnett or Odom.
I don't get this either, but if you read the reports from yesterday's game you would know the coaches were very impressed with Mello. He played the sg instead of sf and did very well. All of these young guys are going to improve greatly for next season thanks to this summer. Maybe it was good all of the older guys didn't want to go.
I voted gold, but mostly because of the coach of the team, not because of the players.... George Karl is a joke...
Here, everyone have a : on me
Duncan carries burden of USA's gold-medal hopes
Web Posted: 08/02/2004 12:00 AM CDT
Express-News Staff Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — They've got two former NBA Most Valuable Players, the reigning Rookie of the Year and NBA All-Stars, past and present, up and down their 12-man roster.
So why do some experts believe the 2004 United States Olympic basketball squad is more nightmare than dream team?
It's not because no one has faith in Spurs forward Tim Duncan. On the contrary, the consensus among those who observed the team's full week of training camp at the University of North Florida placed Duncan in the role of sole defender of the gold in the competition that begins for the U.S. on Aug. 15 in Athens, Greece.
Said one NBA executive who watched the team work before it headed to Europe for a series of exhibition games, "This team is one Tim Duncan ankle sprain from embarrassment."
All you really need to know to understand the importance of Duncan to Team USA is this: When the team on Friday scrimmaged New Zealand, whose best player is Spurs deep reserve Sean Marks, Duncan played only in the first and third periods of the game, played under international time regulations of four 10-minute quarters. In those two quarters the U. S. outscored New Zealand by 34 points.
In the two periods in which Duncan rested on the bench, New Zealand outscored the U.S by six points. And New Zealand hardly is one of the upper-echelon teams in international competition. Those would be Serbia and Montenegro, which won the gold medal at the 2002 World Championships; Argentina, silver medalist in that World Championships and led by Spurs guard Manu Ginobili; Lithuania, the reigning European champion; and, to a lesser degree, Spain, Germany and China.
None of those teams, of course, has a player to match Duncan, which serves to emphasize his importance to his team's hopes.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is an assistant on USA head coach Larry Brown's staff. Though it may be in Popovich's long-term interest to see to it Duncan doesn't get worn out from the month-long international grind of training and competition, in his heart he knows, perhaps more than anyone, how vital Duncan is to America's chances of winning a fourth-straight gold medal.
"At one time there was a significant difference in talent level between foreign teams and our team," Popovich said, "but it's closing pretty rapidly. I don't know that it will ever close altogether, but that's irrelevant. It's closed enough, to the point if you're not prepared and dedicated, you're in trouble.
"The other teams don't have a Tim Duncan type of player, thank goodness, but they've certainly got enough talent to be dangerous. You look at Argentina, and they've not only got Manu, they've got three or four guys who are, or will be, in the NBA.
"These games are just 40 minutes and guys only get five fouls. A lot can happen."
Duncan scored an easy 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 25 minutes in Team USA's exhibition victory over Puerto Rico on Saturday. He knows he may be asked to play a lot more against the tougher teams in Athens, considering he is the only dominant big man on a relatively undersized team. His backups in the post are either undersized (Utah's Carlos Boozer) or grossly ill-prepared (Charlotte's Emeka Okafor) to give him much of a break with the often-brutal inside play that characterizes the international game. Okafor, a late addition to the team, is so mechanical his teammates nicknamed him, "I-Robot."
If that means Duncan will have to play nearly full-time in key games, he insists he is prepared to do so.
"We're going to mix and match," Duncan said. "I'm going to play whatever is there and the coaches will decide that. I'm feeling pretty good, feeling in good shape and I'm prepared to do whatever I have to do for this team."
The other big concern for Team USA is whether or not it has enough time to jell into a true team by the time competition begins in two weeks. Brown and Popovich have stressed the importance of playing true team basketball. So many of the international squads have played together, some of them for years, that the U.S. always has had to rely on talent differential to remain on top. But in the 2000 Sydney Games the narrowing of the talent gap was apparent when the U.S. nearly was defeated by Lithuania in a semifinal game, and beat France only by 10 points in the gold-medal game.
After the humiliation of USA's sixth-place finish in the 2002 World Championships, USA Basketball, which oversees all national teams, tried to put together a core of eight NBA players for last summer's Tournament of the Americas in San Juan, Puerto Rico, then keep them together for the Olympics. A relatively short training/practice schedule was put together with that premise in mind.
Unfortunately for Team USA, only three players from the Tournament of the Americas squad — Duncan, Allen Iverson and Richard Jefferson — are back for Athens.
Can Brown and his staff mold into a true team those three, plus the youngsters who make up the remainder of the squad?
"I can't worry about that," Brown said. "We'd better. Who anticipated only having three guys that went to Puerto Rico with our team? We made the schedule with that in mind. We thought we'd developed some chemistry and continuity. We don't have that. It's tough, but that's what we've got."
Brown departed Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon very worried about that team chemistry after Iverson, LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire were suspended from playing in that day's exhibition game against Puerto Rico after they were late for a team meeting Saturday morning.
"This," Brown said as he exited Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, "was a miserable day."
Brown, of course, is prone to excess worry, but as vital as he believes true team play is to Team USA's success, his pessimism is natural.
Duncan believes the players can jell quickly, in part because they know they must.
"I think everybody is receptive to the fact we're going to have to be a very good team," Duncan said. "We're going to have to play together. We're going to have to run together. I think everybody's bought into that early and I think this team is going to jell really quick and with an understanding that's how we're going to have to play.
"There's always pressure to win the gold. Everybody is coming after us. USA has always been the best. We're the ones that win the gold, and everybody wants to take that. We don't want to be the team that disappoints people.
"As the years have gone on and teams have gotten better and better, that margin that everybody favors us by has gotten less and less, and this year is no different. The gap's closed and we're fighting, just like everybody else. Nobody is afraid of this team. They really want to come after us. They really want to beat us."
It is up Duncan, more than any other individual, to see that doesn't happen.
I hope he stays healthy and the youngsters step up.
I think we will get gold.
Super Bowl XLI Champions
2000 Eastern Conference Champions
Here is the vote total, so far.
Anyone care to change their vote?
Mens Olympic BB Team
1. Gold Medal ---------------- 81.08%
2. Silver Medal --------------- 10.81%
3. Bronze Medal -------------- 2.70%
4. Out of the Medal round -- 5.41%
Total 37 votes
I voted Silver.
The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.
I'm still going to stick with my vote of gold, but someone besides Melo better start hitting jump shots.
I saw today on ESPN that Germany didn't even qualify for the Olympics. Can you imagine whats gonna happen when we start playing good teams.
I have not voted yet but I' seriously thinking we don't make the medal round.
These all star teams are not put together for international competition.
Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!