Observations of Team USA

Now that I’ve caught a couple of the exhibitions, I can comment on the team.

Chris Paul: fresh off a fantastic rookie season, possibly the best of any point guard since oscar, I was eager to see how his game meshes with top-flight athletes like LeBron and Wade. In the first game, paul seemed skittery and tried to do too much. Lob passes weren’t on target,committed offensive fouls (carrying the ball too deep into the defense)and seemed confused on defense, which contributed to the team’s slowstart. Perhaps starting for the first game got the rust out of his system, and in the 2nd game against china he found the correct pace. Even though he scored only 1 point, the team ran China into the ground with relentless fastbreaks off the turnovers.

Gilbert Arenas: I haven’t seen this guy play much so my general impression of his game is a clone of allen iverson who drives less often and has a better jumpshot. In both games, he hustles more than any other star player, probably because he makes more mistakes than anyone elseand goes all out in order to make up for them. Very nice trait! He is the designated marksman from 3 point land, and shouldn’t worry aboutshit but hitting those threes cuz the stronger teams will zone the shitout of the US team. Count on it, and that’s what did in the previous two teams: lack of perimeter accuracy and substandard point guard play, which is the kiss of death in international ball.

Kirk Hinrich: another young player I hadn’t seen much of. In both games, he showed a fundamentally perfect game on both offense anddefense, a delight to watch. Makes all the textbook passes, correctpositioning on defense, doesn’t gamble on steals. Wow, I’m impressed!Hinrich plays like he has been in the league for 10 years, and doesn’t make mistakes, never get rattled, etc.

Wade: best open court player in the league. Hangtime and in-airacrobatics eeriely similar to a young michael jordan. Wade’s defense is better than I thought, and with those long arms, he keeps poking the ball away.

Joe Johnson: the most versatile player on the team. He is better than lebron from outside and passing the ball. That is why I think he should start cuz he can adapt to the pace of the game much better than Bron can or will – plus Coach K is running the phoenix suns’ offense (they have D’Antoni, the coach of the suns, running the offfense) – meaning Johnson is more comfortable out there.

Anthony: what in the sam hill has gotten into Carmelo? He has been tearing it up like he was the second coming of larry bird. Yes, you read that. Every shot he puts up, you’re convinced its going in, and you’re totally flummoxed when it doesn’t. Yes, not only that, he is also hustling on defense, something I haven’t seen in the past. Kudos to coach K, tho I think melo is just tickled pink that his old coach, Boheim is on the team. Melo will be the designated gunner, the go-to manin the clutch. Clear sign of maturity: he is not dribbling anymore, wasting time with one-on-one moves. Perhaps from this experience, melo will hit another level in the upcoming season, and if denver ever gets its act together, he will become one of the MVP candidates.

LeBron: more powerful than ever, and still deadly from outside, and unstoppable in the open court. I would put him at the 4 spot, he’s strong enough to guard the power players, and fast enough to run themragged on the breaks. Still forces shots too much, hasn’t figured it out yet. His defense still sucks, but I suspect its from a complete lack of coaching. He hasn’t had that good coach, ever since high school, who demanded him to play hard on D, much less teach him the fundamentals. But this is moot on the team, cuz coach K has everyone presssing fullcourt, which hides the deficiencies in Bron’s defensive game, opens up the fastbreak game. The more I watch him play, the less I think he is a Magic-on-steroids, but a taller and better conditioned Charles Barkley.

Bowen: I don’t think he will be useful until the team plays the tougher opponents like Argentina or Brazil so he can harrass their go-to players into 6 of 23 shooting nights.

Jamison: nice, seems like a good pick up, tho he won’t play much. His game is best in broken play situations, where the play isn’t for him, and the other team turns the ball over, bang! Instant offense.

Brand: his turnaround fallaway is buttery-smooth. If he is near a loose ball, itis automatically his, thanks to his freakish long arms. He should swing his elbows more often, take up the enforcer role, but I think he’s too nice. Of the frontcourt players, Howard doesn’t have the vet experience, and Miller is too soft, and Bosh is too thin.

Bosh: after a bad first game where he missed all his shots and got pushed around by the beefy center from Puerto Rico, he played better in the game vs China. Seems like he can play only facing the basket, and can’t guard the bulky interior players, so coach K should be selective when he plays.

Howard: lawdy lawdy lawd! I don’t think he even knows how good he is going to be. Dwight Howard grabs all the loose boards and blocks weak stuff like a young Olajuwon, only bigger. If on offense the ball is nearthe rim, he’s gonna clean house.

Miller: still can pass and still can hit the outside jumper. Still gets muscled around, though, so I don’t think he ever got the strength in his legs back from all those injuries. But when the team is on a tear, miller becomes even more effective, the ball moves much better: he’s not cloggin up the lane, making it easier for the slashers like bron bron and wade, and when they do drive inside, the defense collapses and he’s left open for the automatic 15 foot jumper. Effective in spots.

I realize it’s only the exhibition games, but what the heck.

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...a philosophisticator who utters heresies, thinks theothanatologically and draws like Kirby on steroids.