Coach Jim Boeheim in lockstep with Carmelo’s PR team


Coach Jim Boeheim has Melo’s back. The former Syracuse star won a national championship for his coach back in the day, and his coach is supportive of the star as rumors continue to swirl about his eventual destination. There’s a subtext in his comments that deserves consideration. Let’s go to the tape, New York Daily News.

(Before we begin, let’s be clear. This is from New York media, which, during the Melo saga, just like with the LeBron saga, has pretty much entirely published material which supports the idea of a player switching teams. Just take it with a grain of salt.)

“He wants a place he can win,” Boeheim told the Daily News Friday. “And I hope he can do that. He’s in the prime of his career. He’d be a great foundation to build a franchise on.”

Not to read too much into it, but that’s certainly not sounding like Denver is really an option. Since they’re already building a franchise around him. This doesn’t help much, either:

He can help a team win a championship but you can’t do it by yourself.”

Right. He’s all alone. With Chauncey Billups, Nene, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, and Ty Lawson. There’s also this:

“I’d tell him to try to get the best chance to be good – whether that’s with young players, with draft picks or what kind of players that team can get together”

Not exactly the Nuggets. And that’s clearly the idea of another place.

Boeheim says he hasn’t talked to Anthony, which you have to consider to be pretty unlikely, but we’ll take him at his word for right now. The problem is that this is yet another lingering element which leads Anthony away from Denver. The season is two weeks away, and Anthony has yet to sign that extension. Whatever your thoughts on Anthony’s value as a franchise player or whether the trade talks are overblown, the elements in play continue to point to Anthony leaving Denver. And that could have dramatic effects on this NBA season.

Team USA zones out


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for USA_Logo.jpgJaVale McGee came off the bench on a weak Washington Wizards team last season. Yet me may well make Team USA and suit up for the squad at the World Championships in Turkey.

Which illustrates just how short the American squad is on big men (Remember Brook Lopez Amar’e Stoudemire and David Lee had to pull out). Tyson Chandler has looked good, but after that…

That is why the squad is being force-fed a zone defense, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

Playing zone, coaches say, will position more bodies near the backboards. To that end, the U.S. has tapped assistant coach Jim Boeheim, who has employed the zone at Syracuse for more than three decades, to teach the principles of the defense to the U.S. team.

Most players are familiar with the zone, but few have played it since high school while some have never played it at all. And the early results showed: When the U.S. switched defenses during scrimmages, blown coverages often led to wide-open threes. And on one possession, an out-of-position U.S. team gave up three straight offensive rebounds.

For the most part, Team USA is going to rely on its amazing athleticism and a pressure defense. The goal is to create turnovers that will get the USA out and running in transition, where they will be nearly unstoppable.

But in the group stage they will play Brazil, which has Leandro Barbosa in the backcourt — an NBA point guard who can handle that pressure and break it down. Then along the back line they can throw out there Nene, Anderson Varejao and soon-to-be Spur Tiago Splitter.

That is when the USA will need the zone — when the pressure is less likely to work and they will need more bodies on the glass. The zone will put a lot of pressure on Team USA guards to cover more space and pressure on the big men to work together to box out. Boeheim says the players are picking it up quickly, but doing that in practice and doing it against a seasoned international team is another.

However, if the USA wants a gold they are going to have to zone out for a while.