Team USA roster a 'Who's Who' of the next decade


nba_lee_250.jpg2008’s “Redeem Team” took Beijing by storm, and if the newly announced Team USA roster is any indication, 2010-2012 should be no different.

The 2008 Olympics in Beijing were terrific for Team USA in terms of publicity and camaraderie, but the 2010 FIBA World Championships provide just as much of a challenge, if not the glitz and television coverage. The big dogs — Spain, Argentina, et al — will all be in attendance, and if USA basketball rests too much on its laurels, we could be looking at another sub-standard performance (USA came in 3rd in 2006).

Honestly though, based on the roster released today, I don’t see how that’s possible. There are certainly some top-notch national teams out there, but USA Basketball seems to have abandoned the role player/designated shooter approach and simply opted for the best young talent available.

WHO’S STAYING: Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams, Lamar Odom (member of the full roster in 2008, did not play in Beijing), Amar’e Stoudemire (likewise), Chauncey Billups (ditto), Kevin Durant (same).

WHO’S IN: LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Kendrick Perkins, Derrick Rose, Gerald Wallace, Russell Westbrook.

WHO’S OUT: Gilbert Arenas, Shane Battier, Bruce Bowen, Elton Brand, Nick Collison, Tyson Chandler, Kirk Hinrich, Antawn Jamison, Joe Johnson, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Brad Miller, Mike Miller, Adam Morrison, Greg Oden, Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick, Luke Ridnour.

Gone are the intangible role player types and the, well, Adam Morrison types. Instead, Jerry Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski, and company have assembled a roster brimming with versatile talent from top to bottom. It’s hard to argue with the group they’ve assembled, except to say that Rajon Rondo’s agent should probably be making some phone calls. A glut of quality point guards is likely what kept him on the outside looking in, and perhaps the same is true for Tyreke Evans.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?