Courtesy of Hardwood Paroxysm’s, Olympic Basketball Gets Feisty:
Here’s the take from this corner …
The REAL answers to the 8 questions asked. :-)
1. Which single player is the most pivotal to the team’s success?
Kobe Bean Bryant. If you take the 2002, 2004 and 2006 Team USA’s that came up empty and add Jason Kidd to each of those squads, Does that team win the Gold Medal? Maybe; maybe not. BUT, go ahead and add Kobe Bryant to each of those teams, instead, and what’s the correct answer? A RESOUNDING “Yes, they do!”
Kobe Bryant’s all-around game … beginning with his COMMITMENT TO WINNING, then his individual ability to DEFEND his assigned check (positions #1-3) AND his ability to REBOUND his position AND his ability/willingness to SHARE THE BALL with his teammates on Offense AND his ability to SHOOT THE BALL FROM THE PERIMETER … would have made each of those 3 previous teams champions in their own right.
I am NOT an unadulterated (pardon the pun) Kobe admirer but … the facts ARE the facts … tha Man is (very simply) the best (individual) basketball player in the world today. PERIOD.
With Kobe Bryant defending the best Guard or Forward scorer on the other team … Team USA’s opponent (whoever it is) will simply NOT be able to score enough points to beat this American team this go around.
2. Is starting Jason Kidd over Chris Paul (or Deron Williams a mistake? Why or why not?
Starting Jason Kidd is the CORRECT decision for this version of Team USA.
Jason Kidd, at the PG-spot, has NEVER lost a game in international competition … and, NEVER is a long time.
J-Kidd is unselfish, to a fault … gets his teammates involved and is big enough to Check (and Rebound against) any Point Guard, Off Guard or Small Forward he might need to, in order to allow Kobe Bryant to defend whatever player he NEEDS to Defend (and Rebound against) so that Team USA established the CORRECT TONE, from a Defensive & Rebounding standpoint, at the outset of the game.
On the court, Jason Kidd is THE Leader of this Team. Period.
3. The lack of Centers on Team USA’s roster is well chronicled. But aside from that, what is this team’s biggest weakness?
For further explanation, see the following link:
4. If you had to pick one team to upset the United States and win the Gold Medal, what team would it be? Why?
There is NO TEAM, this year, which will defeat Team USA … as outlined in the answer to Question #1.
Several teams could come close … e.g. Spain, Greece and Argentina … but there’s a HUGE difference between ‘coming close’ and ‘winning’.
5. Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh will be fighting for the back-up Center minutes; who should win the job?
This is a silly question.
If Team USA wanted to dominate the international competition this year … the most potent line-up it could put on the floor would see Carlos Boozer at the 4/Power Forward AND Chris Bosh at the 5/Center positions, not ‘fighting for the back-up Center minutes.
For further explanation, see the link provided in the answer to Question #3. :-)
6. Which is more likely to be the achilles’ heel of the American defense: perimeter shooting, high post play, or the pick & roll?
Between these three options (exclusively), it’s (deadly) Perimeter Shooting … originating from the Pick & Roll play, principally involving offensive players (in a 2-Man Game) that are not being checked by Kobe Bryant, while the player who Kobe Bryant is checking is being isolated in an offensive Corner position, either strong or weak side, depending on the specific set play which is being run … at least, that is, IF the international coaches have any clue at all about how to stay close AND maybe steal a win from this version of Team USA.
All teams, everywhere, are vulnerable to deadly Perimeter Shooting … at least, for specific stretches of a game.
7. Which of Team USA’s “big three” of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, or Lebron James will cause the most trouble for opposing defenses?
Kobe Bryant “will cause the most trouble for opposing defenses” … because when HE INITIATES a defensive sequence which results in a Team USA STOP the defense of their opponent has almost NO CHANCE to recover in transition to prevent Team USA from scoring easily in Offensive Transition Mode.
This is Team USA’s single most effective (efficient?) Offensive Scoring play. PERIOD.
8. W’ell do this last question Tiger Woods style: Who are you taking for the Olympics? Team USA or the Field?
Team USA will NOT lose a game this go round.
For further explanation see the answer to Question #1. :-)
Enjoy, one and all!!!