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NBA Lockout: Necessary Step For Evolution Of The Game
Thursday , Oct , 13 , 2011 Paul Eide

NBA Lockout: Necessary Step For Evolution Of The Game

With a new NBA player heading overseas seemingly every day as the NBA lockout gets closer and closer to eradicating the entire season, it’s interesting to consider how player movement affects the evolution of the game itself.

 

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Saturday , Nov , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Is Team USA responsible for Kevin Love’s 31 point, 31 rebound night?

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Earlier this week, Kevin Love had 20 points and 20 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers. Last night, he became the first player in 28 years to tally over 30 points and 30 rebounds.

There are many explanations for Love’s fine play of late: he has always had talent; he’s finally healthy; he’s no longer sharing the frontcourt with Al Jefferson; he’s taken another step in year three.

Of course, conspiracy theorists believe Love has stepped up his play so other teams will call the Minnesota Timberwolves and inquire about his availability.

Perhaps there’s truth in all of these.

However, there’s no disputing winning a gold medal with Team USA at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey had a positive influence on Love.

Love is fitter, more confident, and understands his place in the game. The same can be said for Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who also benefited from representing stars-and-stripes.

Hopefully, other players take note of Love and Westbrook’s improved play and are more open to suiting up for their country.

Click the videos below to watch highlights of Love’s historic game and hear his comments on notching 30 and 30.
 


--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Nov , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant: ‘ready to defend’ Olympic gold in 2012

Kobe Bryant has told United States basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski that he'll play in the 2012 Olympics in London if the program wants him there.

Bryant was a guest on Krzyzewski's SIRIUS XM radio show Tuesday when the Duke coach asked the Lakers' star about London. "You guys want me there, I am there and I'm ready to defend," Bryant said. "And then when you guys need me to put some points on the board, I'll do that, too."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Unlike his superstar peers, Kobe Bryant gets it.

The greatest basketball player in the world gets the importance of representing his country on the world’s greatest stage.

There’s no half-hearted excuse. There’s no phantom injury. And, most importantly, there’s no BS.

He's 'there' and ready to defend.

With Bryant donning the stars-and-stripes, Team USA will be favoured to repeat as Olympic Champions in London.

After all, they have the scheme. Coach Mike Krzyewski, through preaching discipline and teamwork, led an undermanned American squad to first place at this summer’s FIBA World Championship.

Of course, Bryant was injured. If healthy, he’d have played.

So expect Coach K and the powers that be at Team USA to accept Bryant’s offer.

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Sep , 20 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rondo left Team USA to ‘win another championship’

 "It was great to practice every day against the best young talent in the league, a veteran like Chauncey Billups and play for a Hall of Fame coach [Mike Krzyzewski]," Rondo said. "But some of these guys hadn't played since April. Lamar [Odom] and I had just got out of Game 7. And next season is right around the corner. I feel like I had to take advantage of the opportunity I have right now to win another championship. It's not often you get to play with four Hall of Famers. Another couple of years and I won't have that."

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s hard to criticize Rajon Rondo’s decision to step away from Team USA.

Rondo hadn’t recovered from the Boston Celtics’ crushing seven-game loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. He was drained and needed rest.

The emerging table-setter understands the championship window is closing on the green-and-white. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce – also known as The Big Three - are hitting the end of their careers.

Rondo knows he needs to be at full strength in 2011 and 2012 because opportunities to win championships are rare. Playing in the World Championship would be tiring.

Fortunately, Stars and Stripes had talented floor leaders in Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook. His departure wasn’t an issue and, in fact, eased the log-jam at point guard. 

Rondo’s choice may be a win-win for all involved.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Sep , 16 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jerry Colangelo on Team USA selection process: shoe sponsorships don`t matter

 

"I'm the one who picks [players]. What somebody wears in the way of shoes or gear doesn't have any impact on who is selected," Colangelo told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
 
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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s the player. Not the shoes.

Today, Team USA executive Director Jerry Colangelo took issue with Brandon Jennings’ claim that shoe sponsorships influence the selection of the American team.

Jennings didn’t get asked by Colangelo to try out. He’s sponsored by Under Armour, while Stars and Stripes are sponsored by Nike.

According to Colangelo, merit, not shoe deals, is the criteria. And Colangelo not only invited but gave a spot to Chauncey Billups and Derrick Rose –both of whom aren’t sponsored by Nike.

Of course, by rocking the boat, by speaking out, Jennings killed whatever chance he had in the near future of suiting up for his country.

--Oly Sandor.


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Monday , Sep , 13 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Durant and Team USA win FIBA World Championship -without LeBron, D-Wade, or Melo

Kevin Durant scored 28 points to lead Team USA to an 81-64 victory over Turkey to win the gold medal at the World Championships in Istanbul.

It marked the American's first World Championship title since 1994. Durant set a record at the tournament for the most points scored by a U.S. player.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Who needs LeBron? Who needs D-Wade? Who needs `Melo?

Not Team USA.

Mike Krzyzewski’s squad didn’t need the superstars from their gold medal winning team in Beijing –most of whom passed on the FIBA World Championship to rest and relax the summer away.

This version of Stars and Stripes had Kevin Durant, who scored at will. They also had a collectivist, team-first approach that would have made Mao, Che, and Stalin proud.

For their efforts, they also have a gold medal, beating the host Turkish side 81-64 to win America’s first FIBA World Championship since 1994.

Here’s where it gets interesting: will Coach ‘K’ take this squad to the 2012 Olympics or will he take the superstars who decided to skip the World Championship?

Either way, it’s a rather nice problem to have.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Sep , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Durant sets record with 38 points, USA beats Lithuania in semi-finals laugher

Kevin Durant is unlike most of America's biggest basketball stars. He couldn't wait to wear the red, white and blue this summer.

Especially on Sept. 11.

With a special memorial message on his sneakers, Durant carried the United States into the gold-medal game at the world championship, scoring a U.S.-record 38 points Saturday in an 89-74 victory over Lithuania.

"I just wanted to remember everybody back in the States, everybody that was affected by 9/11," Durant said. "And to play on this day was a great honor and we just tried to do our best to play hard for our country and our families."

Link

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Monday , Sep , 06 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

USA makes quick work of Angola

Angola is a decent team, but its freelance offense did little to prepare the U.S. defense for the remaining knockout rounds. After the U.S. Team's easy 121-66 win at the Sinan Erdem Dome on Monday, 11 teams remained in the tournament. And eight of the 11 are from Europe or South America, running offenses with much better ball and player movement than that of Angola.

Link

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Sunday , Aug , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Team USA remains undefeated after thrashing Slovenia

The United States beat Slovenia 99-77 for its second lopsided victory in two games and Lithuania also went 2-0, while Angola and China bounced back from opening-day losses to win their first games at the basketball World Championship on Sunday.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There’s some surprise at how Team USA has fared in international play so far.

After all, Stars and Stripes’ biggest names –Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and others- all said thanks, but no thanks to the FIBA World Championship.

However, this group of youngsters defend, play together, and work hard. They also have budding superstar Kevin Durant, who could soon emerge as the world’s premier player.

On Sunday morning, USA’s air-tight defense got them through a few rough moments, as they cruised to an easy victory over Slovenia. Durant had 22 points before sitting the entire fourth quarter.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Aug , 25 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Parting ways best for Rajon Rondo and Team USA

The Celtics point guard withdrew from Team USA yesterday, sensing the writing on the wall as coach Mike Krzyzewski began to test different backcourt combinations minus Rondo.

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Did he withdraw? Or, did he get cut?

These are the questions surrounding Rajon Rondo’s departure from Team USA on Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday’s news may have been sudden, but it wasn't surprising.

Rondo swallowed his first career DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coaches Decision) against Spain. While his poor outside range and inconsistent free-throw shooting were rarely exposed with the Boston Celtics, it would have been a liability in international play.

Clearly, Rondo didn’t fit Coach Mike Krzyewski’s plans, so parting ways made sense.        

After losing the championship in heartbreaking fashion to the Los Angeles Lakers, Rondo needed time off to heal his mind and body. A death in his extended family wouldn’t have helped, either.

Team USA is also point guard heavy, with table-setters Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook. All are better shooters than Rondo.  Even if he made the final roster, there would have been few minutes available.

Bottom line: whether he withdrew or got cut, Rondo and stars-and-stripes are better off after yesterday’s decision.

--Oly Sandor.   

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Monday , Aug , 23 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

The evolution of Kevin Durant: young superstar’s block saves USA’s 86-85 win over Spain

HoopsVibe’s Very Call Quick Call: The great ones play defense.

Michael. Kobe. Tim Duncan. They all got stops, both individually and collectively.

On Sunday, we may have witnessed young Kevin Durant take another step towards greatness when he blocked Rudy Fernandez’s last second shot attempt to preserve Team USA’s 86-85 win over Spain.

After all, Durant is already a top-five player for the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder. And like the young Thunder, he took significant steps on defense in 2009-10.

If he continues to evolve on both ends of the floor, the lanky swing could soon be the NBA’s premier player.

Watch the highlights of Team USA’s 86-85 victory over Spain to win the Global Community Cup. And get at us with thoughts on Durant’s block and continued development into a great player. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 14 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Jay-Z, Team USA, and World Basketball Festival hit New York

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The amazing World Basketball festival is in New York this weekend. Most of us can't go, so click the link below and check out the action. 

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Jul , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Report: Danny Granger survives cut with TEAM USA

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star is reporting that Pacers forward Danny Granger will make Team USA's cut this week. 

"Granger makes Team USA cut. He'll play in NYC in a few weeks," Wells wrote on his Twitter page Tuesday afternoon.

 
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Thursday , Apr , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Danny Granger Wants to Play in World Championships

Pacers forward Danny Granger hopes to play for the United States at the World Championships in Turkey this summer.

He hopes to be selected for Team USA, which will compete in the World Championships in late August.

"This will definitely be a different summer for me because I normally take a little bit of time after the season to rest, but I plan to get back at it sooner," Granger said. "Who wouldn't want to be able to have an opportunity to represent their country?"

He was selected to take part in Team USA's training camp last summer, but Granger elected not to participate so he could rest his right knee.

"I think that's a great experience for (Granger)," said Pacers president Larry Bird. "Like I told him, 'Don't go out there and fire up 50 3s. Take it to the hole. Show these guys you're a man.'
 
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Monday , Apr , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Grizzlies Want OJ Mayo to Play in Summer League as Point Guard

Mayo to summer league?

It is well-documented that second-year player O.J. Mayo is an undersized shooting guard at 6-4, so the Grizzlies coaching staff has invited the former USC standout to participate in summer league.

The goal is for Mayo to significantly improve his point guard skills.

Mayo, though, hasn't decided if he'll participate given his USA Basketball commitment. Mayo and Rudy Gay will be among the young NBA hopefuls vying for a spot on the USA squad that will compete during the World Championships at Turkey.

The Griz are looking to improve their versatility so Mayo's ability to play point guard at times could lead to a bigger, more potent offensive lineup in doses.

Mayo's shaky ball handling and poor decision-making have been major deficiencies throughout his first NBA two seasons. 

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Monday , Apr , 05 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

LeBron: I Don’t Respect Colangelo’s Olympics Comments

"There are no free passes to London," Colangelo told Yahoo! Sports shortly after James made his statements on Wednesday.

"There are no special rules for anyone. If someone decides to pass [the World Championships] without a legit issue, they do it with an understanding of the risk."

James was clearly upset by the statements and reacted strongly on Sunday.

"There's a lot that goes on with being a professional athlete other than just basketball," he said. "I think everyone in the USA knows what type of commitment these guys have made, including myself, since 2003. I'm not trying to bash Jerry or anything like that because he's a good guy and I respect him. [But] I don't respect that [statement] because of the commitment we've all given to the USA."