With Chris Bosh out of action with plantar fasciitis, Nick Collison has suddenly become a viable big-man option for Team USA.
In fact, with the roster now down to 15 guys (14, if you don't count JJ Redick), here are the PF/C options for Team USA:
I suppose you could throw in Durant as a possibility at the 4, but I don't think he'll be playing there, if he even makes the team at all. 12 guys will make the team, and here are the nine automatics, in my mind:
Anthony, Billups, Kobe, Chandler, Howard, LBJ, Kidd, Stoudemire, Deron Williams
That leaves these five folks competing for three spots:
Collison, Durant, Mike Miller, Michael Redd, Tayshaun Prince
Team USA is already loaded at small forward, so Miller is a long-shot, although his outside shooting would come in handy; it's possible that Miller/Redd will get one spot, and Prince, Durant, and Collison will compete for the other two. Of those three, Prince is the most valuable for his defense on multiple positions, Durant would be a nice piece to aid in his development down the road for Team USA, and Collison gets the edge for being able to play 4 or 5.
It all depends on how many big men Coach K wants to have with him. But if you look at it from a fouls to give perspective, it makes alot of sense to have an extra big guy in case Amare gets into foul trouble.
Bottom line? I think Collison's chances of playing against Brazil just got a whole lot better.
If your choices (3) come down to Collison, Durant, Miller, Redd, and Prince, then I would go with Collison, Redd and Prince. Collison because he is your next big man, Redd for pure shooting (of which we were lacking last time) and Prince, who can do most of the same things that Durant can do. Miller and Durant out.
No question in my mind that with a 12 man squad, you want 5 men combined who can play the power forward & center positions. Looks like it's Collison's spot to lose.
Can't see how they can afford to have only three 4/5s(Amare, Howard, Chandler). Redd would be the logical choice to spell Kobe, and Prince is a perfect defensive substitute for late in close games.
The only chance for KD may be for him to shoot the lights out in practice and show that he's as good a shooter as Redd--pretty unlikely...
If Collison makes the team, I think that would answer the question of who should be the captain next season. He'll definitely have the credibility.
According to this article
team USA is leaning toward starting a smaller line up of Kidd, Kobe, LeBron, Carmello, and Amare. That may not bode well for Collison.
If LeBron and Carmello both start, then they could maybe use Durant backing them up??
I saw that, too. Obviously, that changes things, because that means Chandler and Howard are available off the bench.
I disagree that Redd, Prince and Collison are the guys TEAM USA should select.
Though I do agree that the Miller verse Redd debate is interesting, I believe that Miller is much better player for the back it into the lane style of defense that you see on the international level. Remember that their is no 3-in-the-key and that you can block shots while their still on the rim. Their for you need guys that hit jumpers at high rate. This is not to say that Reed is terrible outside shooter, but last season Miller's FG % on jump shots was 53.2% verses Redd's 47.2%. Also, Miller blows way Redd in rebounding stats, particularly on the defensive rebound in side were Miller Def Reb % is 13% and Redd's is 8%. If you don't believe me check out their 82games.com pages.
As for the other three. I'd love to see Durant and Prince be the other two. Grant having Collison inside might be good as far as having another body is concerned, but I think having length is what is going help TEAM USA the most.
By having both Prince and Durant it makes the end of their bench quite lengthy. This will help on closing out on perimeter shooters who get open from the myriad of illegal screens set by most of the international competition. In that their length will allow them to get closer in contesting shots and perhaps lead to a few extra blocked shots. Granted not having Collison would be a hit on rebounds, but if you add Miller over Redd, then I think Durant and Miller can make up for the lose in rebounding.
Furthermore, as the article from the nba.com blogger states, TEAM USA is looking to go small against most of the international field in the FIBA tournament, because most of those teams struggle to muster up more than 1 or 2 guys with the athleticism found on the US team. Most of the teams did not have they're NBA guys available, especially Argentina. With the lone exception of Brazil, because they've had a good turn out of NBA level talent. Obviously if this was the Olympics, then we'd be talked about having bigger lineups, but for the FIBA tourney playing "Nellie Ball," aka small lineup ball, is perfect acceptable and an advantage for TEAM USA.
Because the FIBA field of teams' lack of athleticism and because TEAM USA can pack into the lane with guys like Howard and Chandler I think that most of the international competion will just settle for jumpers. With that being the case. I would want to assemble a team that is lengthy and athletic so that we can close out on defense and then run them to death through a fast paced transition offense. To that end, look for the final three players for TEAM USA to be Miller, Prince and Durant.
From John Schumann's blog of day 2 at the Team USA practices/scrimmages:
"Durant had four points today by my count. He had a three (off-glass - not sure he called it) in the intrasquad scrimmage, and then went 1-2 from the line against the Select Team.
"He has held his own out there. If you didn't know who he was, you wouldn't think he was a rookie. But with the way Redd and Miller have been playing, I think Durant is on the outside looking in when it comes to the 12-man roster at this point."
I'm not down there watching them compete, but that's the feeling I get as well. It seems like this is a practice run for KD, and then he'll be ready to go for the next go-around (Beijing?).
MICHAEL REDD! soooo underrated!!!
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