Baseball Wiseguys

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Stars and Gripes

Dream Team Four?

The US men's hoops team got by Australia this morning, 89-79. In the end, the game wasn't as close as the score would indicate, but in the early going, Australia led by as much as 12. This team is frustrating to watch so far; they seem the slack off early on and only really turn on the juice after halftime (though they didn't even do that against Puerto Rico.) What should have been an easy romp through Europe has turned into a dogfight, and the Yanks still have yet to play the best team in their group, Lithuania.

I've got a lot of problems with the composition of this team, and although I know a million people have written about it already, I think it's my turn to opine.

  • Duncan stays- he plays hard on both ends of the floor. Fundamentally solid.
  • Okafor stays- though he should get more PT in my mind. He's known for doing many of the same things as Duncan, though perhaps with better defense.
  • Boozer stays- I'm not a huge Boozer fan, but from what I've seen this summer (screwing the Cavs notwithstanding) he belongs. He bangs inside and has a few nice moves in the lane.
  • Odom stays- he's more versatile than most of the guys he's matched up with, show some energy, sees the floor well, and his long limbs allow him to be a bit disruptive on D. Let's just keep him away from the kids from Holland.
  • Stoudamire stays- he's explosive off the dribble, and with the short trey, he seems to go from the 3-point line to the rack in one step.
  • Jefferson goes. He might have been great running the wing on a break next to Kidd, but when a 10 foot jumper is your idea of downtown, you don't belong in the Olympics. Replaced with: Wally Szczerbiak. The guys is a career 41% 3-pt shooter, nuff said.
  • Marion goes. He heaves up threes like a five year old, and today against the Aussies I watched him let 2 long rebounds go, thinking they were heading out of bounds, only to be snagged by a Crocodile Dundee for an offensive board. Replaced with: Ron Artest- defense, assists, attitude.
  • Carmelo- goes. Replaced with: Michael Redd, a lights out scorer whom no ones knows about.
  • Iverson stays- he goes all out, all the time. Brings a little bit of street to the Games, but is probably actually more skilled and mature than most of Sportswriter Nation wants to guve him credit for.
  • Lebron stays- and starts. He's been the best US player so far, and I think people need to stop comparing him to MJ, he's more along the lines of a Magic, or maybe Bird without the 3 point shot. He passes better than any pure point guard the US could have taken. Plus he's getting his own Powerade flava soon.
  • Starbury- goes. He's the only 'superstar' out there who probably makes everyone around him worse rather than better. More proof that you can take the baller out of the Coney Island ghetto, but you can't make him pass the rock in Athens. Replaced with: Brent Barry. And why not? He looks like one of those chain-smoking Euros, and has a balanced game- plays some D, can dish it out, and shoot the trey. A guy like this is made for international competition.
  • Dywane Wade stays- he's not a pure point guard, but then I don't think the US makes them anymore. He is fearless and tough in traffic, as evidenced by a few wraparound layups today.
This still ain't a great lineup, but it's exponentially better than what they went to Athens with, while still excluding all the NBA stars who declined invites.


The Yanks are stumbling a bit lately, and are on the verge of ending the Esteban Loaiza Era by dumping him to Texas for prospects. Their lineup while A-Rod serves his suspension is plain ugly, and incapable of stringing more than 2 hits together lately. Manny's favorite drinking buddy, Enrique Wilson, has no place on a roster that hopes to win a championship.


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