With the Dream Team resting peacefully in the Hall of Fame and the Redeem Team busy taking its talents elsewhere, the nation has turned to its b-list players to bring home the gold from the FIBA World Championship. Besides Kevin Durant, none of the members of the are in the top three in their position in the NBA. Some are referring to them as the B-Team.
The roster has been in flux all summer as Coach K and the other coaches tired to find the best combination of talent. I’ve been trying to make my mind up about the lineup, but its been hard without access to the NBA channel. On Sunday, I finally had the opportunity to watch Team U.S.A. play. What they say is true: they are young, inexperienced, small, and still developing chemistry. The upside is that they hustle on defense, are fast, and have lots of options on offense. Overall, the teams consists of a good group of guys that I am proud to have represent our country. I’m just not sure that’s going to be enough to win the gold.
I’m not going to take time to go over every player, but I do want to point out a few things that stood out to me:
- Andre Iguodala is supposed to be a defensive stopper and a go-to-guy on offense, but he let me down on both accounts.
- I have had little chance to watch the Warrior’s Stephen Curry play, and I’ve expected him to just be a shooter. He was making excellent passes and playing solid D on Ricky Rubio (who was the first of two point guards the T-Wolves selected over him). I’m buying in on Curry.
- Odom needs to worry about playing some of the Lakers’ famous D and rebounding, not launching up unbalanced three-pointers. To put it in perspective, Chauncey Billups is pulling down more boards. There are enough scorers on the team, they need to take advantage of the little height they have. For that reason I think Kevin Love is due for more minutes.
- I have not watched Eric Gordon play a whole lot, but apparently he’s so good the staff wasn’t even aware of it.
- Not sure what happened with Rondo before he resigned from the team, but I thought he was a good fit. He may be the worst shooter of the guards, but the team doesn’t need more scorers. He is an excellent passer, which is what this team needs. Rondo was minutes away from leading a star-studded team (on which he was the most consistent player) to its second championship for the second time in three years. Did I mention he plays defense?
- Westbrook may not be the best guard on the team, but they have to take advantage of the already existing chemistry between him and Durant. They had a couple great plays against Spain.
- Kevin Durant will be MVP this year.
Apparently, the World Championship has been more important to the rest of the world than the Olympics. The U.S.’s lack of emphasis on this tournament may explain why the it hasn’t brought home the gold since ’94. Even this year the U.S. failed to bring back a single member of the gold medal team from two years ago. However, every other powerhouse team is also down at least one of its A-list players. This is good considering all that Team U.S. “B” has at stake. Besides their continued struggles in the first quarter, they handled their first match, against Croatia, easily enough. Let’s hope that they can continue to piece things together and finish what the Redeem Team started. If they prove themselves bring home the gold, the “B” in B-Team can stand for bling.