Wednesday, August 25

The Olympics: Why We Suck.

A harsh toke for Team USA.

It's not Iverson's fault.

I know that seems incredible coming from me, but it's really, honestly, not Allen Iverson's fault that Team USA is sucking the major bong in Athens. Basketball, contrary to the Jordan Rules, is a team sport. Unfortunately, we don't have a team.

The US group is a collection of some of the best players in the world. Most of them, however, are used to being the focal point, and have never been asked to do anything else. Much has been made of the absence of three-point shooters, or true centers on this year's Olympic squad, but it's biggest weakness is lack of role-players. Every great team has someone who comes off the bench and makes an immediate impact, whether it's a Steve Kerr/Craig Hodges long-range threat, or a Lonnie Shelton/Maurice Lucas to add instant muscle.

Do these type of players even exist anymore? I have no idea, but putting five high-scoring, no-defense players on the court every night just ain't doing it.

Perhaps the problem lies in the whole "dream-team" concept. Sure, it was great when 11 out of 12 players on the roster were hall-of-famers, but it's painfully obvious we'll never see a team like the original '92 squad. You can't throw a group of mostly above-average NBA players together (without any input from the coach!) and expect them to play well after only a couple weeks of practice. Most of the international teams have played together for years, and it shows.

Instead of sending the best individual players, we should send the best team. I have no doubt the Detroit Pistons would have kicked the hell out of Puerto Rico and Lithuania.

This, of course, would have to be approved by the NBA, the players union, the Olympic steering committee, Nike, the International Union of Team Mascots,Dr.J, and...

Aw, the hell with it.