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What A FIBA Title Means for Team USA.


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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.”

-Bjorn Zetterberg


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Carmelo To Chicago?


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There has been a good deal of discussion in Chicago regarding acquisition of the talented forward.  ESPN has reported that the possible options to get Carmelo Anthony are rumored to be Joakim Noah or a package consisting of Luol Deng, James Johnson and Taj Gibson. We discussed last month the possible trade scenarios and destinations for Carmelo Anthony, and we believe Chicago is a great fit, only behind Orlando.

If you are Chicago, you do everything in your power to bring in Carmelo, even if that means you part with Noah.  They would have a ‘Big 3’ of Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Carmelo Anthony.  Noah stirs the pot, potentially putting them over the top in the East, and he becomes that team’s X-factor if they can make a deal that can keep him with the team.  Without him, they are a notch below Wade, Bosh and James in Miami.  The Bulls were 41-41 last season, and with Boozer and Anthony, this is easily a 55 win team, maybe more if they have Noah energizing the paint.

If the Bulls are going to make a play for Carmelo, its going to happen by training camp at months end.  The ‘Big 3’ combination seems to be the winning recipe for the NBA lately, and the Bulls have a shot to assemble their own, potentially even a ‘Big 4’ with Noah.  Given the choice for Noah or the Luol Deng package, they lose a potential all-star caliber center or 3 solid players with decent upside.  Either way you spin it, they get better with Anthony.  The Bulls have emerged as the front runner, and it will be interesting to see if they can pull the trigger on a deal to bring him to Chicago in the coming weeks.”
-Bjorn Zetterberg

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