Who should represent USA basketball: Dream Team All-Stars or Detroit Pistons?
Again, it’s a different idea; one that takes a minute to wrap your head around. For the record, I now believe this ‘Redeem Team’ offers the USA a better shot at gold than any American dominated NBA club. But I’m still throwing it out there: what do you think of the Detroit Pistons representing Team USA in international events like the Olympics …
Readers: Below is a feature I wrote after the Americans lost to Greece in the 2006 FIBA World Championships. Back then, I made the argument that USA Basketball should consider replacing the Dream Team concept with an NBA team. And every year I re-visit the idea to spark discussion.
Twenty four months ago, my reasoning was simple: I doubted Team USA could come together for an extended period of time. Of course, ‘Redeem Team’ has proven me wrong. I’ve enjoyed watching this group click as a unit, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
Two years ago, fan reaction was mixed to my proposal. Last year, we sparked some great debate Even though, circumstances around TEAM USA have changed, I thought it would be fun to re-examine the concept following the American win over Greece in their recent Olympic rematch .
Again, it’s a different idea; one that takes a minute to wrap your head around. For the record, I now believe this ‘Redeem Team’ offers the USA a better shot at gold than any American dominated NBA club. But I’m still throwing it out there: what do you think of the Detroit Pistons representing Team USA in international events like the Olympics.
Give me your thoughts in the comment box below on the pros and cons of America sending an NBA team to FIBA tournaments. As always, it never matters if you agree or disagree with the post. Just have a strong take!
Thanks for reading.
September 08, 2006
Chemistry is the difference between winning and losing in team sports-or for USA Basketball, the difference between a gold and bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
Other teams had chemistry, the Americans did not.
Exhibit A: the Greeks showed incredible chemistry, executing a perfect pick-and-roll offense in their semi-final win over the Americans.
Exhibit B: the Spaniards displayed even greater chemistry, overcoming the loss of injured-superstar Pau Gasol to win the World Championship.
The Greeks and Spaniards did not develop their chemistry by having players participate in six week tryouts or commit to summertime training sessions like USA Basketball.
They did it by having their best players train together for years-sometimes decades.
And now USA Basketball has a problem. On the one hand, to field a winning team, American-NBA stars would have to make a real, long-term commitment to the national program. On the other hand, few American-NBA stars will actually make this kind of multi-year commitment.
But another option exists-one that will shock the NBA ‘playa’ world of Cadillac Escalades and thirty inch spinners.
Send the Detroit Pistons to the 2007 Olympic qualifier in Las Vegas.
It makes perfect sense-counter the chemistry and skill of global basketball with the chemistry and skill of an NBA team like
Picture this, first half of the World Championship semi-final. Greece scores a basket on a simple pick-and-roll play. The Pistons, yes, the Pistons call a timeout and adjust.
And that’s it. Game over.
Greece tries to run the same pick-and-roll play, but has little success. Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton get over the hi-screen, while Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell, and Nazr Mohammed disrupt passing lanes with their length. And Rasheed Wallace-he’s everywhere.
Perhaps, that’s too simple. After all,
But the basketball world thinks it’s worth considering. Randy Nohr, an assistant coach with the
“They might do better. I’m not one hundred percent sure,” Nohr said. “But they probably would do better just because they (
What isn’t hard to say-Detroit’s current squad could defend any European national team.
There’s another point worth considering. USA Basketball spends tournaments figuring out player roles. For example, nobody thought LeBron James should start at the 1-spot until the bronze medal game against Argentina .
After shifting positions, James had his best game of the World Championship -filling the box-sheet with 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists-and getting extended minutes next to Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
James, at lead-guard for the entire tournament, changes the World Championship. The Americans probably defeat Greece and hold their own against Spain in the final.
Not to worry.
There are legitimate concerns with sending an NBA team. Reggie Theus, a former NBA star and now the coach of the Sacramento Kings, pointed out the biggest problem.
“I think that it would hurt them (
Fair enough. Right now, NBA players and franchises are not obligated to participate in international competitions. The feeling is an NBA team, like
Well, too bad. The world’s best soccer teams pull double-duty, playing in their own domestic league and taking part in international club tournaments. Most players on these teams represent their country at the World Cup and European Championship.
One NBA team can’t do the same?
Commissioner David Stern could compensate the Piston players and organization for representing USA Basketball. How would
Of course, the stakeholders, American-NBA players, NBA owners, and USA Basketball, would have to iron out the details of compensation.
There’s also concern about player injuries. Piston players are at risk taking part in summertime tournaments. Again, this hinders
Again, too bad. Injuries can happen anywhere. Players get hurt running off-season pick-up games and balling during NBA sanctioned summer leagues in Vegas,
Why are the Olympics and World Championship a greater risk than NBA summer leagues?
The main point is that USA Basketball has to think outside the box. The Detroit Pistons should be considered for the 2007 qualifying tournament and the Beijing Olympics
Should an NBA team represent America at the Olympics or other international events? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts. This article has appeared before in HoopsVibe the Blog. Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog. Photo courtesy of lorenkahle.