USA Basketball Blew It

You would think that getting the best basketball minds together with the cooperation of most of the best players in the country you'd be able to put together a great basketball team. Well, now that we've seen the USA squad for the upcoming Olympics we know that's not the case.

It's not that team USA isn't loaded, obviously it is. But you have to wonder what these guys were thinking when the ended up with a roster that, like most college teams only has two guys taller than 6-9. International basketball has a tendency to get physical on occasion and the USA team is not going to be particularly well equipped for that.

The biggest mistake they made was in cutting New Orleans big man Tyson Chandler in favor of keeping Tayshawn Prince. Instead of adding a legit big man (7-1/235) to an undersized front line, the geniuses of USA Basketball added a 6-9 guy who weighs about 110 pounds. Chandler has developed into one of the best defensive big men in the game and was third in the NBA in rebounding (11.7) last season. Adding him to Orlando man-child Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer would have given team USA a strong two deep front court. Instead foul trouble will be a threat against every quality team in the games in Beijing.

My other disagreement is more than a little bit provincial, but I think I'm right. Mike Miller was cut from the list while 74-year old Jason Kidd made it. Not only does this team not need retreads, but Kidd is no longer one of the 10 best point guards in the NBA. Miller would have given the team more size, youth and outsider shooting. Kidd, instead provides more what, baldness? Would you give one minute to this guy over Chris Paul or Deron Williams? If you really needed three point guards Charlotte's emerging Raymond Felton would have been a better choice.

I suspect Team USA will end up beating all comers in China, but I am stunned by some of the selections they made. In the future I would like to see a new rule that limits NBA players to one Olympic Team in his career. That would make the experience much more meaningful and add a needed sense of urgency to that one opportunity.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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