Friday, September 1

US Loses to Greece?!

Like the rest of you, I was more than a little shocked to hear that the US dropped an egg to Greece in the FIBA tournament (aka "You Want Sweaty and Hairy White Guys? We've Got'em!").

Of course, the immediate reaction is hyperbole about how the US is being passed by in the international game by Euros, Argentinians, etc., etc. My favorite quote, though, came not from a national scribe, but from some anonymous reader of

Dale Hawker: Why has no one discussed Spain beating Argentina? This is a bigger upset. Greece was the Euro champs ,so beating the U.S. should not come as a surprise, as they have the experience and big bodies to do it. Argentina, on the other hand, was hyped as the best team in the tournament. They have the experience from the Olympics, the team cohesiveness as Ginobili et al, have been playing together for years and all the commentators had them beating the U.S. So why isn't the Argentina loss being scrutinized and discussed? Because according to American media outlets they were suppose to win, not the USA.

Um, Dale, because I'm guessing that Spaniards aren't spilling onto the streets and stopping traffic to celebrate their win the way the Greeks are. No matter how you slice it, knocking off the US is the ultimate goal of every team, especially when you throw in the political ramifications.

Anyways, the key issue in my mind is this: This team is not the best display of US talent by a long shot. What's that? You don't believe me? I'm an American apologist?

Well, linger on this: There were 12 Americans named to the 3 All-NBA teams at the end of last year. Guess how many of those 12 were in Japan. Go on, guess.

4. That's right, 4. Kobe, Shaq, Chauncey Billups, Duncan, Ben Wallace, Gilbert Arenas, Iverson, and Shawn Marion are all stateside right now, while Shane Battier continues to do his impersonation of an NBA player in Japan.

In my mind, the reason the US keeps losing is that their big men refuse to participate in these events because of the cumulative wear and tear on their bodies. If you honestly think that Wallace, Shaq, and Duncan wouldn't have made all the difference in the world, well, you're either a fool, or Greek.

You can have Baby Shaq, I'll take the definite article.


Anonymous said...

Not to mention Kevin Garnett. I'm guessing he'd do okay in int'l competition.

Seriously, the US should never lose to a team like Greece, but they didn't hit their shots and the Greeks did. Can someone explain to me why Dwight Howard only played a dozen minutes, while Battier continues to get so much time? If we'd given a few more minutes to non-Duke guys (i.e. Battier and Brand), maybe the US wouldn't be in this spot. Just another reason to hate Coach K, I guess......

Anonymous said...

here is my Team USA :


Anonymous said...

I like the thoughts there - especially re the passing definicies of the US team. I would've loved to see AI on the team, as well as some shooters like Redd or Allen.

It's typical, though, the US team organizers (i.e., COLANGELO), decided that spirit was more important than talent, so they opted for guys like Battier and Hinrich - hell, they even considered Bruce Bowen. In the end, they should've chosen talent.

Luckily, this isn't the Olympics. I truly hope that Shaq decides to visit Beijing for his one last shot at glory before retirement - and that his being there convinces guys like Kobe, Duncan, KG, et al to come along for the ride. In a perfect world, the US would destroy the competition, and then two days later FIBA would announce that only amateurs would be allowed to compete - the way it should have been all along.

Anonymous said...

It is illogical to assume that any US team can be dominant over a team that has played together for a good length of time. Two months in not enough time to form a cohesive unit.

Anonymous said...

Bronze, yippy!

Anonymous said...

I think the biggest problem for Team USA aren't the players they select, it's that no matter who they select, they still don't play a team game. That's something I'd put on the coaches and Coach K, to me, made a bad job and was completely outcoached by some of the coaches he faced. Pure Talent will only get you so far and you need set plays and passing to make defenses work for at least 25 seconds to be successfull at this level.

Anonymous said...

The gold would have been theirs had KOBE BRYANT been able to tag along to Japan. He is the most talented offensive player in the Nba. The last time we saw a talent like his was Jordan and we all know both times Jordan played at the olympics, both times he took home the gold, zero losses. Bryant would have put such pressure on the opponents defense (the guy can score 81 points!) that it would have left plenty of breathing space for wade or james or a dominant big man to do their work. Bryant and a dominant big guy, the two things this team needed to achieve their gold.

Anonymous said...

Henceforth, the United States National Basketball Team should be comparable to that of the 1998 ballclub.

Hell, I'd take David Wood, a Washingtonian, over LeBron James any day of the week.

By the way, I'm not being sarcastic.

Anonymous said...

Didnt Allen decline to try out?

Anonymous said...

Let me first say, I love ESPN. However I have been severely disappointed in the coverage ESPN (and other media) have given this World Basketball Championship tournament. This is a world tournament like the Olympics and world cup. Yet it gets less coverage than Little League Baseball? There are no reports on ESPN TV that cover teams other than the US. The online articles to be found regarding the tournament are sparse, and they come from only one reporter (with the exception of the short blurbs Fran writes). Also the production of the games that were televised was less than what I have come to expect from the world wide leaders. The camera work was poor and the choice of which cameras to broadcast left something to be desired. And the commentating seemed sub par and un-insightful. Also these games were not in HD for some reason. I guess I was just expecting more. More quality and more air time for games featuring the other teams so we, the American viewers, can see how these teams are playing and what we are up against. It is a great style the rest of the world plays. It is a lot more exciting to watch and play the passing team style than to sit and anguish over the US going one on one again and taking contested shots with minimal passing. Please next time give us more. There will be viewer ship interest.
As for the Team USA, here are my suggestions:
Work more inside out. You have some of the biggest and most powerful athletes in the world. Let them do some damage down low and open up shots outside at the same time.
Pass the ball more. Find open shots.
No more one on one guard play. The whole team needs to be involved. You're basically going one on five with the zone and help D these teams run. Drive and dish...PLEASE
Where's these shooters we proclaimed we would not be without? The next team needs Redd, Pierce and Kobe added to the mix with Johnson, the lone true shooter we have.
We also need another strong tall big man. And not only that, we need to use the ones we have. Howard should have been posing up every time. He would either score or get an open shot for someone else. There is no way these teams could stop us if we had Brand, Howard, Bosh, Amare and Oden in the mix and they played (and we use them) the right way.
I love coach K, but I am very disappointed that he allowed this style of play to persist. He needs to let D'Antoni run the offense, he and McMillan can run the D. But if he can not see that his offensive scheme was not working at all during this tournament, maybe he is not the person you want running the show. There was no adjustments in our offensive scheme. We just kept jacking up bad shots. How does he let this happen?

I just hope we can win the Bronze at this point. Argentina looked fierce against Spain. Hopefully we can make adjustments and be ready to dominate at the Olympics in '08.
Next team:

Anonymous said...

If you honestly think that Wallace, Shaq, and Duncan wouldn't have made all the difference in the world, well, you're either a fool, or Greek.

That's why most people hate Americans...

Sad to know a SuperSonics fan expresses these kind of opinions.

You once had an UNBEATABLE team. Back in 1992. We, Greeks, loved that team. But since then you only have great players. No team, just players.

Who knows what would happen if you put all your superstars in the team? This is not NBA...

You can have your Lebron and Carmelo superstars, we will take the second place, above you... ;)

Anonymous said...

common guys these comments about Greeks are way out of line. we don't need to get vulgar, how about some constructive responses.

i say if we only had a coaching staff that could install an offense rather than hoping our one-on-five offense will work, we'd beat everyone.

Anonymous said...

It looks like you can back your opinions. Commons like "Hairy bitches, fuck you white people, etc" are really strong for a conversation..

Your team doesn't lack of talent. Bad thing for you is that we only "pick & rolled" while you, because of thinking that Mundobasket is a show that you could win before it even began, were trying to do amazing slam dunks so the Japanese would scream!!

Your loss against us was similar to our against Spain: You (and us) thought that we are the winners. You always have this attitude though, in every competition you take part!

It could be amazing if you sit down and understand that you cannot win everytime! I am curious to know what you were saying when Australia beat you!

Anonymous said...

"Your loss against us was similar to our against Spain: You (and us) thought that we are the winners. You always have this attitude though, in every competition you take part!"

Yes, and we'll have this attitude next time we step on the court. Too bad you only had two days to call yourself winners before falling flat on your face. Bet there won't be too many teams fearing the Greeks in the next competition. I'll let you get back to your pick & roll now.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and we will let you be happy with your Jordan clones. Can you please list me some good teams you beat on that competition? Germany maybe? :P :P :P

There are lots of teams fearing us already because we won a gold and a silver medal.

Oh, sorry, I forgot, we don't have NBA players... Too bad... :(


Anonymous said...

"There are lots of teams fearing us already because we won a gold and a silver medal."

We ugly Americans don't really care who won since it's all about us anyway. But yes, i'm sure there are a couple teams out there that fear the Greeks. LOL

Anonymous said...

Spain was shaking in their boots.

Anonymous said...

Can we set an age limit here somehow, so these 10 year olds on mommy's computer can go back to beating off instead of posting racist, homophobic crap here on what was once a good fan site?

Anonymous said...

frankie, did you have anything b-ball related to add to this topic or was the 'tard comment your big contribution?

Anonymous said...

We lost because of the way we approach the competition in the first place. You can't throw a bunch of stars with little experience of playing together onto a team and expect them to mesh and win in a few measly weeks. Simple as that. Until we get over the 'we're #1' mentality and actually try to compete, instead of acting as if we deserve to win by virtue of being American NBA Superstars, we are doomed. The Dream Team is a distant memory. It's about time we woke up to that fact.

Anonymous said...

And now what "anonymous" people? Will you attack frankie too?

I totally agree, that's what I also said but it looks like it is different when a Greek says so and when an American does!

Paul said...

Whoa Nelly! We take a little vacation before the season starts and look what happens. It's like when the hillybilly family took over the Simpsons house! Anyhue, no more Greek-bashing please. The Greek are good people, and more importantly, they have delicious food, which is how I judge any civilization.

Anonymous said...

Good point about the food.

I only started with the bashing because of the "hate Americans" comment.

Love, peace and Gyros for everyone!

Anonymous said...

The "hate Americans" comment wasn't false at all.

Anyway, we are all Sonics' supporters so I guess we can calm down... :)

Anonymous said...

So you've taken on the resposibility of representing the opinion of "most people"?

fuck bubydudy! (the individual only, for PC purposes)

Anonymous said...

Hey Bubdud,
Did you see the quote from Colangelo that said he believed team USA would beat Greece 99 out of 100 times?

More fuel for the hate, eh?


Anonymous said...

I almost forgot... FEAR THE GREEKS!


Anonymous said...

Americans keep on saying that silly thing 'we lost because we're no team, just a bunch of superplayers...' Ha! what was Dream Team'92? A Bunch of SUPERPLAYERS. Extremely focused superplayers. That was no team, but the mix of Jordans, Barkleys, Birds, Ewings, er... yea, Laettners... was far better than the international ones.
But that was back in the day. The fact is that international players have stepped up so much USA is not that better anymore. If you play an USA vs. Rest of the world, later would win on a 7 game round. No american squad could beat a team with a low post with Ming, Nowitzki and Gasol. Just O'Neal, and he's getting a bit old. The thing is that nowadays there are less Malones and more Laettners. Less fundamentals and more slamdunkegos.