Team USA begins its preparation for the 2012 Summer Games this month. It will release the 18-man roster under consideration for final inclusion as the 2012 U.S men’s basketball team and ESPN reports that there will be some changes from the 2008 squad that won gold in Beijing. The new team will reportedly feature combined rosters from the 2008 Olympics team and the 2010 FIBA World Championships team that also won gold. The result? Blake Griffin is the only likely newcomer to the batch. From ESPN:
A source close to the process told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that four players from the 2008 Olympic team have been ruled out of consideration for the 18 2012 finalists. Those four are Chicago’s Carlos Boozer, Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince, Phoenix’s Michael Redd and Dallas’ Jason Kidd.
The source also said that Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin is likely the only player who wasn’t part of the 2008 Olympic squad or the 2010 world championship roster that will be considered for the 2012 roster in addition to the 20 players.
No real shock on those that were removed from consideration. Redd has undergone too many injuries, Prince is up there in age and Kidd even more so despite his huge role in the 2008 Olympics and Boozer is simply outclassed in terms of talent available. The 2008 team was notoriously star-studded, the so-called Redeem Team, while the 2010 FIBA team didn’t pack as much star punch, but did feature a more cohesive collection of players. Not better. Just more cohesive. It’ll be interesting to see who makes the cut and who doesn’t, especially with the 5,000 guards Jerry Colangelo and Coach K have to work out.
It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway
Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.
One shoe Kevin Durant is officially the greatest rim protector of all time.
He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.
Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said. “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”
I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.
His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”
He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.
Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.
Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.
Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance
NEW YORK (AP)— The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.
Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.
NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.
Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling