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“Finally, after 16 years of struggle and international troubles, Team USA is victorious in the FIBA World Basketball Championships. The US can finally stand proud, winning with a cast of predominantly ‘B-Team’ players. Kevin Durant was named tournament MVP, averaging nearly 23 points and 6 rebounds per game. For the first time since 1994, USA Basketball reigns supreme internationally as the defending champions in Olympic and FIBA tournament play.
The “B-Team” looked great
So what does it all mean? Honestly, not a great deal. It’s nice to be back on top, but it’s not hard when the teams you face are missing their stars. The tournament is second tier to the Olympics because most stars are resting between NBA seasons. International NBA Players like Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, and Pau Gasol could change the complexion of games, but their absence left their respective teams struggling. Most of these players will take part on the greater World stage in London 2012, which is where Team USA will find out again if they are for real.
Nonetheless, this is a nice win for Team USA because they showed they could play as a team without coveted NBA superstars. Coach K couldn’t be a better selection to lead USA into competition because of his ability to unite and motivate his squad. Krzyzewski great adjustments and emphasized the team play to their strengths exceptionally well all tournament. Expect the firepower of Team USA to increase greatly when the NBA’s premier stars join in on the action in the coming years.
Who plays in 2012?
2008 was great
Here is whom I expect to fill out the London Olympics Roster in 2012:
Point Guards: Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose
Shooting Guards: Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry
Small Forwards: LeBron James, Kevin Durant
Power Forwards: Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony
Centers: Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire/Kevin Love
While purely speculation, expect all the big names from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to return. Williams, Paul, Wade, Kobe, James, Dwight, Bosh, and Carmelo will fill out 8 spots on the roster and be the core of Team USA. Kevin Durant should return and potentially start, depending on how the lineup is worked out.
Gold in 2012 is the ultimate goal
Of the point guards in the FIBA games in this year, Derrick Rose looked like the best International fit. With a couple more years of development in the league, expect him to make it because of his toughness and ability to get to the basket. Kevin Love would add another solid post presence and be an outstanding hustle player. Although he fit well within Coach K’s system, another player like Amare Stoudemire might get the nod if he is allowed to play by the Knicks. The team also needs a shooter, and looking at a list of 3 point specialists, Stephen Curry looks to be the best down the road. He was impressive as an NBA rookie and will only get better over the next couple years with his International experience.
Team USA should be heavily favored going into the 2012 games. With the greatest star power of any team in FIBA, the US will be a tough match due to their unmatched talent. The only way to beat them will scheme and strategy. Teams will have to change the game completely with defense, by milking the shot clock and getting the most of their possessions, or playing extreme run and gun by launching 3s early in the shot clock. Greece was the last team to beat Team USA in 2006. If everything plays out as predicted, then that should hold when the US hoists gold in London.”