Seeking redemption with a ball

5 07 2008

Redemption.
That’s the whole theme of the US Olympic basketball team, the entire program is called ‘Road to Redemption’. And after the debacle at the last Olympics, it will be every bit as arduous as it sounds.
Last time, the co-captains of the team were LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony. And as good as they are, as imperative to their NBA teams’ successes, they are not the guys to lead an Olympic squad. Who were the senior guys that those three had on their last team? Stephon Marbury and Allan Iverson. Both good players (well… at least Iverson is), but neither are exactly the types of guys you’d set as role models.

So despite Mike Krzyzewski not naming any captains for this team, it’s on Kobe. He’s the one for this Olympic undertaking.
He knows it, Coach K knows it, the team knows it.

The thing that surprises me is (as mentioned in a previous post) the selection of Tayshaun Prince over Tyson Chandler. It allows for a game plan for opponents, a weakness to be exploited – whereas if Chandler was included the current issue over a lack of bigs would be a moot point.
The recent injury to Dwight Howard (stress fracture of the sternum) only heightens the concern, and the naming of Chandler as first alternate doesn’t really alleviate the worry either.

In line with that, it has to be a little worrisome that Chris Kaman was named to the German team, paired with Dirk Nowitzki (the fact that Kaman’s eligible because his great-grandparents were German is an entirely different issue). Now armed with twin 7 footers, Germany have the length that will bother a lot of teams. Not that I’d select Kaman over Howard, but it all depends on how injured Howard is. The question over who’s better between Kaman and Chandler is a helluva lot closer.

The closer the Olympics get, the more interesting it becomes.
Bring it on already.

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