146 thoughts on “What’s wrong with Team USA Basketball?

  1. I have to wonder what the gold medel means to them and then compare that to Michael Phelps. I will never really know what goes on inside an NBA player’s mind but having just got a $78 million contract, where does a gold medel rank?

    Comment by gangstah -

  2. I agree with most of the posters here, who are just repeating what Bill Simmons and others have been saying since the world championships 6th place finish some months ago.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/040804

    The selection committee choose horribly; picking semi-all stars from the NBA as part of a marketing effort, rather than anything resembling a cohesive team. The team was then assembled quickly, with little time to practice and mesh talents.

    Bball is still a team sport, no matter how much the overwhelming talent of Kobe/Shaq made it appear otherwise for most of the last five years. Look at the last Finals; not a big star on Detroit, but they were good enough to beat top 5 players Kobe and Shaq, along with what’s left of Payton/Malone and the rest. Teamwork and outside shooting and hustle and good coaching will beat disorganized superior talent in basketball. Dallas proves that with their yearly early round exist, despite an abundance of scorers and entertaining players. This is even more true in the international game, where traveling is called, the 3-point line is closer, zones are allowed, defense can’t involve holding and grabbing, etc.

    But when you get right down to it, who really cares? Is anyone reading this going to lose sleep over Team USA winning or losing? How do the ratings for Olympic basketball compare to regular season NBA, much less playoff NBA (ignoring the fact that you can never see such a thing on a major network at a reasonable hour) games. How much time did you bball fans spend reading up on and scouting out Argentina and Italy and Puerto Rico’s teams, as compared to the time you spend reading pre-season NBA info?

    We’ll all talk about it for a week during the Olympics, and then forget about it by the time the NFL season is underway.

    Flux
    http://www.blackchampagne.com

    Comment by Flux -

  3. I guess the problem is that no one wants to pay the insurance.

    Comment by ac -

  4. Starbury is about the only PG on the team, nobody else is passing properly and the international game relies on ballhandling. Larry Brown isn’t my pick for coach either, with this team he seems like a pushy mother.

    A bit off topic but is everyone now sick of Gary Payton?

    Comment by Kanes -

  5. First of all you have to look at the facts. Are we bringing our best NBA players to Athens? NO. Why? Because many of the original players selected did not want to play for whatever reasons they may be. Some legit and some not so legit. I cant believe people are noticing that the world has been catching up until now. Just look at Sydney 2000 and look at the score in the Lithuania game. They came away with a win with only a 2 point margin. What else did you expect from Team USA this year by sending our future stars and B level stars to the Olympics? They only have 2 legitimate superstars in Iverson and Duncan. 2 MVP’s, what more do you need? A great choice in captains. I wouldnt have anyone else leading us.

    I think this things is skewed in a way. If Team USA wins nobody will probably cares. If Team USA loses it will be seen as a great travesty. Why? Because another team happen to play better than them? Also yes it is a different game from what they play at home. Imagine playing the game you mastered only to learn different rules and only have a couple weeks to prepare for it against other teams who have been training their whole lives to upset you. I say lets just wait a while and see what happens. We are in good hands.

    Comment by Chris -

  6. I guess there are two ways to look at it. What is wrong with the USA basketball team?…or maybe the better question is, what is the rest of the world starting to do right? It used to be a given in the days of Jordan that the dream team would win, no matter what. 90% of the NBA stars were American, and it was still considered an honor to play for the national team…not a burden. Lets look at the current times now. Foriegn stars have begun to rise in the NBA and retain a sense of national pride. So much so that they sacrafice one year of off season to play for their beloved countries in one of the most respected sports events ever. How do we reinstill that pride and honor to play for your country in US players?

    Comment by IfYouBuildIt -

  7. come down people. They are playing good. If some shots do not fall today (such as Dunkan’s patent) don’t make hype. They are good and will prove that.
    Meanwhile, Mark has new issue to post on his website.

    Comment by Kedar -

  8. 1- the US team plays too much defense. They need to be more aggressive.

    2- they can’t shoot.

    3- Finley and Nowitzki are not there!!!😄

    Comment by Gustavo -

  9. At some time the world was bound to catch up. And obviously they have. ALL OF our NBA players are no longer the GREATEST in the world. Our NBA Superstars are the greatest in the world but we didn’t send superstars there. Just as we are shocked that the world has caught up to us in Bball is no different than how the world is shocked that we have caught up to them in soccer. THIS WORLD IS NOW ONE. GLOBALIZATION is here. In soccer the USA’s world ranking was 11th (as of July 2004 http://leeds-faculty.colorado.edu/rtaylor/Analysis2000/Quizzes/Phrases.pdf) which put us ahead of powerhouses of GERMANY and NIGERIA to name a few. It is sad to see our demise across the pond right now but we know we didn’t send our best. Look at how DIRK played for his country in an exhibition game against the US. AN EXHIBITION GAME MEANT SOMETHING TO DIRK and his COUNTRY. They waned to continue to show the US that they and the world have arrived. And they have. Not all of our stars could make it overseas otherwise it may be a different story. Without them, we are no better than the rest of the world. The world is now one. That’s why we need more peace! (another subject for another day)

    Comment by Omar S -

  10. no offense, but 9 for 35 is actually 26%. that said, point made. there are about ten really GOOD shooters in the NBA. at least two of them (peja, nash) are foreigners. next time, build a team to play, not a team to market. the other option? have the NBA go to international rules and standardise the game throughout the world. thoughts?

    Comment by gonzo -

  11. The NBA and Team USA, which is made up of NBA players, has no clue how to play basketball. Put college players in there. I’d much rather watch college guys who know how to play as a team as opposed to pros who can’t shoot, don’t know the word pass, won’t set a pick, and won’t play defense.

    Comment by Brian Harris -

  12. One of the first things I noticed today was that the ref’s were calling the game differently…and correctly, from my POV. For the first time in ages, I saw a basketball game where it wasn’t a defensive foul if the player with the ball rammed into a defender. In the NBA, that’s two shots, thank you very much. Today, it was a look from the ref that said, “what? you ran into him…”. Iverson and Wade couldn’t handle that, got fustrated and lost focus on the game.

    The reality is, the NBA officiating is terrible. It allows the game to focus on 1-on-1 matchups instead of passing, defense, positioning and good shooting (and shot selection). People are amazed at Duncan’s passing for a center. Look at the international game, and most centers pass well. Iverson, Wade and LeBron whined all the way through the exhibitions last week. Why? Because the refs called travelling when they took more than two steps after picking up their dribble.

    The international game is called differently, and we’d all be a lot better off if Russ Granic, David Stern and the rest of the NBA office took notes.

    Comment by gonzo -

  13. To quote you, Mark:

    “Call your favorite team and tell them you dont want your players participating in the Olympics. You want them getting ready for the next season.”

    No KG. No Ray Allen. No JKidd. No Shaq. No Kobe. No Ben Wallace. No Mike Redd. No Vin-sanity. No Finley. No Paul Pierce. No TMac. No KMart. No Steve Francis.

    What’s wrong with Team USA? YOU GOT YOUR WISH, Mark!!

    Iverson, Steph and Jefferson: 9 of 35 (that would be less than 25% for those counting at home) from the floor.

    Comment by Matt -

  14. NBA players these days don’t care enough to go out there and play hard unless you are paying them big money. There just isn’t enough motivation with the passion seemingly gone from the NBA players. But can I really criticize? If I was a big NBA star, who just went through a long and tough post-season, I think I would probably want to relax during summer instead of going to Greece to play ball.

    Comment by Sherwin -

  15. Plain and simple there is no heart in the usa team!

    Comment by deanna -

  16. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to send the NBA Finals winning team to the Olympics? That way they may atleast be able to work as a team and trust their teammates with the ball. Isn’t there anyway the NBA could make this possible? Aren’t they tired of being embarrased yet?

    Comment by Mustafa -

  17. The USA is more interest in Money then Pride for there country (when it comes to basketball). People like Mark Cuban are the reason that The Dream team is now a Nightmare.

    Plus, a champian team will beat a team of champians any day! Why did team USA take any 3 point shooters?

    Just my 2 cents.

    Molly

    Comment by Molly -

  18. Having played in Europe, the coaching is better throughout the different levels of the game. As we see more and more European players (justifiably) entering the NBA, I believe we will start to see coaches coming across aswell. Not that it’s necessarily the US coaches fault, its just that they mostly take the blame and readily lose their positions.

    The problem in the US, is that kids growing up don’t learn the fundamentals. They’re too busy no matter how inaccurate, trying to do acrobatic moves in the lane, launch wayward threes, fadeaway jumpers and dunking which is only going to increase due to successful marketing of things like the And 1 mix tapes.

    Comment by Dimitri -

  19. They have no shooters. They don’t care nearly as much about winning the gold as the other countries. It is as simple as that. They care about it, don’t get me wrong, just not as much as the rest of the world.

    Comment by Paul Bradley -

  20. Do ya think USA could use his shooting? Maybe add a Brent Barry and Reggie Miller and break up the zone. I’m sorry, Dwayne Wade, Richard Jefferson, and Lamar Odom are not good shooters. Team USA shot the ball better back in the 1960’s….which is a testament to the USA’s declining fundamentals. Put the blame on the Selection committee…once again they selected the team by watching ESPN’s dunk highlights. Doesn’t the selection committe realize you need shooters in the international game. Bobby Knight had this disaster pegged 3 weeks ago when he went off on this group of misfits.

    Comment by Gregg Calvin -

  21. The lack of team cohesion and egos are the primary reason for team USA’s woes. Yes, fundamentals ie. shooting, passing, defence are a problem, team USA lacks shooters and passing in their defeat was horrible. Yes, the NBA is always one on one and even an Iverson crossover is futile against five opponents clogging the lane in the international game. Yes, no pure PG. However, team USA are still composed of the BEST players in the world and their talent and athletism alone should beat teams like puerto rico five times over (no diss to PR though, they played great). Carmelo Anthony’s comments on how “he didn’t play” echos the NBA mentality and the team’s ME FIRST attitude. He was probably more upset about not playing than the team losing. Team play will always be the deciding factor; all five players touching the ball, all seven players on the bench cheering the team on (not sulking that they’re not on the court). Remember most of these competing teams are core parts of their international programs and have been playing with each other for years so they are already high on a team unity level.

    In a response to a posted comment on how Larry Brown is not an international coach I disagree. Larry Brown has been invovled with team USA basketball as a head coach and assistant coach for quite sometime and understands the game. A coach at his level will not come without his homework.

    When team USA stops playing the olympics as an AND1 video or a Vince Carter charity game, you will see again pure dominance (unless you see team USSR back in action, if you get all those countries back together it’s sooo over).

    BTW im a canuck.

    Comment by Max A -

  22. about basketball is from watching Butch Graves and John Rivelli play for Scarsdale High School in the 80’s. Oh and watching the Knicks in the 90’s.
    But this much I can tell you.
    Body language speaks volumes. No passion due to… not lack of team work, but lack of team relationships.
    And like a good actor, once trained in one style it is hard to switch gears.
    Acting training programs rather have a untrained “player” than one trained in a different school. Thus>> the International Rules require “undoing” years of training.
    This is my layman’s take. It was very evident. Can’t we get the team in training with some of the superstars…like Stockton. Produce our own Arroyo.
    Birkir is totally on point. USA Athletes who have Olympic dreams can state their intentions and learn International rules well in advance.

    Comment by cheri/benebe -

  23. IT’S A COLLECTION OF ALLSTARS.

    arroyo demonstrated that it’s always good to have a creative decision maker on the floor. iverson is not a good decision maker. stephon doesn’t create anything. wade is solid, but doesn’t create anything.

    our all stars weren’t playing good d either. lots and lots of layups for puerto rico. but, then again, when have you seen good d in an all star game?

    the problem is that the all star collective is not a team, and doesn’t resemble a team. there’s 0 chemistry.

    oh yeah, and richard jefferson should have been benched 3 minutes into the game. the coaching staff was way, way, way too passive early on. keep the game close. timeouts. new combinations. etc. etc. there is enough talent on the team to rotate in guys who didn’t want to lose.

    and, seriously, iverson as captain is a mistake. seems like a nice guy, and i know he’s been on a shooting tear, but he doesn’t make anyone around him better. period.

    Comment by Tim Gibbons -

  24. Birkir has it right. In a season where a team with 4 HOF players got seriously outclassed in the Finals, you’d think we’d get it through our heads that a good team is made up of players with varied talents (shooting, defense, rebounding, post play, distribution), not the 15 best scorers we can convince to show up. We just got punked by a backcourt made up of a Jazz 2nd stringer and a CBA All-Star–who’s the pure point guard on Team USA? Where are the shooters?

    Comment by Collin Brooke -

  25. Age wise this team is made up of mostly college players.

    Comment by Jeff Clayton -

  26. Honestly, did you encourage your best talent to go? And take the time to become a cohesive team?

    Same problem happens for international soccer, only across the sport. And what owners and managers don’t understand is that international competitions like the Olympics is the opportunity to expand the fan base. Its a great investment, why don’t we make it?

    Comment by Ross Mayfield -

  27. No Mike Finley. He’s the only one who showed up for the world championship debacle.

    Comment by Patrick Fitzsimmons -

  28. …you can blame the use of NBA stars, how they’re spoiled, fundamentals… blah blah. none of that is going to change. a lot things that can be blamed on this just aren’t realistic. you get the right players, shooting wise and defensive wise, and we’re the best.

    Comment by Brian -

  29. …if the player selection were better, we wouldn’t be in such bad shape. this current squad should be a very good atheletic, defensive team. but the huge problem is outside shooting. Lebron, Carmelo, Odom??? Michael Redd, Richard Hamilton, and Michael Finley would’ve been much better choices. and it also ties into not having our best players playing. no Shaq, no Jermaine, no Kobe, no Garnett….the list goes on and on. if you improve the player selections in total, we’re winning the gold.

    Comment by Brian -

  30. Fundamentals, here, have to do with teamwork and little else. Basketball, like any other game, relies on individuals understanding the strengths and weaknesses of its component members. Team USA can’t truly do this.

    However, the big reason is this: no individual will lose too much face in losing. Puerto Rico and all other teams are David in this scenario, and we should thus not be surprised when they outplay our hodgepodge team.

    Team USA shouldn’t be NBA players. It should be like other sports: individuals who work together for a year or two to be the best team, not the best mix

    Comment by birdwhistell -

  31. …and The Answer is not a great leader outside of Philly.

    Iverson is not equal to Jordan in the leadership department.

    Comment by Chris_B. -

  32. The team is badly put together quite simply. It is simply time for USA basketball to make the coaching post a permanent position, and give the coach the responsibility to select his team, according to his preferred style of play and train them together for a longer period of time, according to the international rules. Make sure he is well adopted to the international game, preferably somone who has been coaching on an international level. A great NBA coach (such as Larry Brown) is not necessary a great international coach. The style of play is just completely different.

    Give him time to get aquinted with the players and the opponents. Time to scout the teams and come up with his style of play. Focus the selection on the best american players playing in the European pro leagues, who are usually the best players on their teams and accustomed the international game. Bring them together a few times a year for training camps. For big tournaments a few (2-3) NBA players could be added to the team in order add to the talent level, as long as they can fit into the style of play.

    The 15 best available players don’t necessary make the best team. A lesson I think USA Basketball is about to learn the hard way.

    Comment by Birkir -

  33. Lack of outside shooting, failure to make the extra pass,basic fundementals,and the inability to stop penetration.

    Comment by Brad Maager -

  34. Michael Jordan ushered in an era of “me first” which was great for NBA ratings, but it also spawned a new generation of kids growing up wanting to be like Mike. No one growing up now cares about fundamentals, they only care about being better than Jordan and having more sizzle than steak. Money can motivate, but too much of it can bring in complacency and some selfishness in some people who can’t handle it. Gone are the days of athletes coming into the league with John Wooden’s philosopy of team oriented play where you set aside your individual needs for the needs of the collective. Heaven forbid the NBA outlaws “the slam dunk” as the NCAA it did during the days of Lew Alcindor at UCLA, but it’s necessary for 2 years in order to bring back some fundamentals. You may not like it Mark, but you’re the only one who could do something to bring back the game.

    Think about it.

    Comment by Will -

  35. The American Basketball Team is made up of a bunch of gutless, heartless wonders who’ve long sinced learned that they can phone in the barest, minimally-acceptable effort (if they even show up to do that!) and still get paid their $30 Million per year. These guys make me absolutely sick. If you’re a sports fan, I don’t see how you can’t be just sickeningly offended by the total lack of commitment, the complete disdain for teamwork, and the consistent desire for bling-bling instead of hard work. I absolutely despise the NBA for the culture of laziness and grandstanding it has created, and I’ll never spend another dime of my money for a ticket or a Pay-per-view event or any other thing that’s related to it in any way. IF you’re a sports fan, I urge you to do the same. The coddled American team deserves our scorn, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves for even pretending to represent their country in the Olympics. What a bunch of scum.

    Comment by Tommy_Trollerson -

  36. MARK!!! ahhh have u been watching the olympics?! swimming and gymnastics will be one of my faves….ALONG WITH BASKETBALL! except that this year i dont konw wats up with team usa but we arent so hot and the game we lost today was SORRY. boo! =/

    Comment by cali -

  37. I don’t understand talking about the US team lacking fundamentals, and then saying they focus too much on defense. Isn’t defense the NUMBER ONE fundamental? Unfortunately, for most of the game against Puerto Rico, the U.S. team wasn’t playing much defense at all. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter when they really started to apply some pressure. If they’d played better defense, they could have survived their poor shooting night.

    Their offensive preparation was pretty weak, though. The team doesn’t have anybody who is a good 3-point shooter. Only one player(Richard Jefferson) was even in the top 50 in the league this past year in 3pt percentage. Clearly, Puerto Rico showed the rest of the world how to beat the Americans, and until unless the U.S. team suddenly learns how to hit outside shots, it’s going to be a long week for them.

    As far as athleticism goes, the players who looked a step slow out there today were the Americans. I don’t think anybody on the court today was more athletic than Carlos Arroyo. If the Americans were so fast and athletic, why couldn’t anybody keep up with him? U.S.A. didn’t have the desire, and Puerto Rico had both talent and desire. Congratulations to them, they earned this historic victory. Just like last summer, though, it won’t be the only loss for the US team.

    Is it possible a vote to give Puerto Rico statehood could take place before the Olympics are over?

    Comment by Tim -

  38. Too much emphasis on defense and athleticism, not enough on basketball skills.
    Poor ability to adjust to the International game and rules.
    Lack of point guard play.

    more: http://highfivehoopschool.blogspot.com

    Comment by Brian McCormick -

  39. In my humble opinion there is no commitment to team USA.The so called “Dream Team”is no more.In 92 we had something to prove and all of the best NBA stars were on that team. That has changed now its a matter of who will play and not who wants to play.where is KG or Shaq and the rest of the top ten NBA players Tim Duncan was the only one to play on this team.That is what is wrong with this team.

    Comment by kelly kincaid -

  40. (1) Lack of cohesion
    (2) Lack of outside shooting (where’s Michael Redd?)
    (3) Dependence on the easy basket

    Comment by Bill K -

  41. and not enough doers is what I think, but also bad luck. They couldn’t buy a shot. It also didn’t look like any calls were being made either, but I don’t know much about the International Game of Basketball.

    Comment by C. Dorr -

  42. NBA players no longer stack up on fundamentals. The international teams can’t compete on athleticism, so they focus on the fundamentals. Compare the shooting percentages in all the games where Team USA gets blown out. When Team USA fielded the dream team in ’92, it was filled with people like Jordan, Bird, Magic, Malone, etc. who shot 50% or over most of their careers. The leading guards & small forwards in the NBA shoot horrifically (take a look at the leading scoring guards & SF’s, versus 10 or 20 years ago). Europe is exporting fundamentals to the NBA, which is why people like Dirk are so valuable. The NBA has become a breeding ground for athleticism at the cost of fundamentals.

    Team International will shoot the lights out on Team USA all night, and the players on Team USA aren’t used to seeing that kind of shooting ability. They don’t know how to guard against the jumpshot any longer, because it’s a less utilized weapon in the NBA now.

    Comment by Jonathan Ruff -

  43. the people saying that Nellie should be the coach for his offensive mind. That’s crazy! The problem with this team is not enough shooters and not being able to stop the other team’s shooters! When have these Mavs been able to stop a team from shooting at will? They either outshoot them or lose. Nellie brings an exciting brand, but if he took the Mavs concept to the Olympics, it would be a disaster.

    Comment by runescape money -

  44. The movie Miracle pops into my mind and I can hear Kurt Russell saying “you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone”. I think there needs to be more of an incentive for the players to get serious about preparing.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  45. There’s just so much money to lose if you go injured in an international competition… Your career might end in just a moment… Well I was in a date with a guy I met from webdatedotcom and he was so disappointed about the US team’s performance

    Comment by thynoe -

  46. Theres nothing wrong with Team USA in the Olympics except the preparation. Do you think the other countries (especially Argentina) will win the title if there were a few games more? If it was an NBA format tournament (not really 82 games but say, 20+ games), they would surely bury the other countries. And if the title game was a best-of-3 series, they would have plenty of time to come back. They just need to get used to the environment and then all will be on their way. If you noticed, their level of play was peaking as the Olympics was nearing its end. How I wish there was another game against Argentina or Italy or Puerto Rico. In fact Lithuania fell victim to the trend of Team USA getting better throughout the course of the tourney.

    Comment by charlesdude -

  47. The fact that the Jazz were able to have a winning record last year without any real superstars, and certainly without any American superstars, shows me that American basketball is all about dunking and one-on-one play, not so much about winning. Here in Utah, Jerry Sloan gets the job done without tons of altheticism, using teamwork instead. BTW, we’ve got one of the most international squads in the league with a Turk, a Puerto Rican, a Russian, a Spaniard, and we just lost Serbian Sasha Pavlovic to the expansion draft.

    Comment by 六合彩 -

  48. I believe that the US team problem was, is and will be, their higher ego and selfish way to play. They lost the game fundaments. The NBA is not teaching anymore how to be a team, “isolation” is killing the beauty of the game. I believe that US players forgot about playing for the flag, instead of only for money. In my opinion, the best player of the team was the Virgin Islands´s player, Tim Duncan. He was the only member of the team, who didn´t had the gold medal climbing on the neck before playing. “Shame on you” Mr. Marbury, you gave us a class of dirty playing, when you hit a punch on wolkowhisky´s face. Americans players doesn´t know how to accept the defeat.
    I recomend to the US players, to watch TEAMS like Argentina, Spain, and Lithuania, they leave their heart in every play, in booth sides of the court. They know words like BROTHERHOOD, HUMBLENESS, HARDWORKING (but not for money), PATRIOTISM.
    Please… “Dream Team” players: pay homage to
    the past heroes who knew how to reach the sky, for example some guys like M.J., Sir Charles, Magic, Larry Bird, and to many others. You can begin, learning the meaning of those words in the DICTIONRY, of course, if you konw what it is.

    Comment by Carlos -

  49. Seriously people, why are we so blatantly hating on Team USA. First of all, I watched all the men’s basketball games, and the fact is that our players were playing their hearts out to win the gold. No one wants to be embarassed, and Team USA had the most to lose. People keep on complaining about they don’t care, but seriously it is often the fickle fans in our country that could care less about FIBA tourney. If they had won gold, you would have complained about how could they have lost 2 group stage games. It is a no-win situation. Basketball is quickly becoming a very popular sport in the world, and these countries are producing better players. Also these international kids grow up playing FIBA rules basketball (and also go to basketball boot camps while our boys are going to high school, personally I think Americans are right in sending kids to high school instead of boot camps). Also I hear people complain about some of the top players not going to play in Athens. Seriously people, look at soccer, did Italy have Totti, Vieri and Nesta… did Crespo and Aimar play for the Argentina… wouldnt have Brazil qualified if Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Ronadinho was playing. NO ONE IS COMPLAINING there!!! Brazil could CARE LESS if they win the olympics. They have the best soccer players in the world, and to them, the most important soccer stage is world cup. For us, the most important basketball stage is the NBA (as it should be), and so it is only fair for our kids to want to win the NBA championships the most. Personally, I found the International game to be very BORING! Did anyone watch the Argentina vs. Italy match. It was more painful to watch than getting a root canal without anesthesia. And as for keep on calling these guys lazy and hooligans, geez people, stop back and listen to yourselves. Are we all so perfect that we are so quick to judge people we DO NOT KNOW, and only get to see bits and pieces from NBA games and media interviews. Yes, a lot of them may have grown up in a culture very different from the average white-american, and yes they listen to rap, and yes they make a lot of money. First of all, when is cultural diversity a BAD thing in this country. This is the land of immigrants!!! Secondly, this is a FREE country and people are allowed to listen to whatever music they want, and besides rap is a powerful art form that often gets misunderstood by older (mostly white) americans. I am sure you didnt like it when in the 60s and 70s the older generation used to criticize your rock’n roll music. And finally, these PLAYERS ARE NOT LAZY!! It takes to be prime physical shape to survive in the NBA, especially with the injuries and a long 82 game schedule. It takes a toll on the body. So these players should be relaxing their bodies this summer. Instead they chose to represent us in the Olympics, and for that we all should be greatful. I will admit that USA Basketball should have taken Michael Redd on the team instead of Emeka Okafor, but other than that, I am only upset at the USA fans on how bitterly and childishly have they rooted againsts OUR TEAM. During a time, where we are quick to say hell to the rest of the world and pride ourselves for being patriots (and call people traitors who question some American policies), how is it that those same PATRIOTS root AGAINST TEAM USA. How is that patriotic? Or does that have to do with race again?

    Comment by Shomu -

  50. For all the criticism being heaped on the US Men’s team, it’s interesting that the ratings for the US women’s team, and for the WNBA, continue to suffer.

    Isn’t this the brand of basketball in which, Wooden himself claims, the play is unselfish, pure, team-first? Isn’t this the league where they play for the love of the game? These pros are like college kids!

    Well, call me if the WNBA ever survives, so that its players play an 82-game season and have endorsements and earn $13 million a year, and let me know if it’s still a “pure” game. Let me know if the women will still be patriotic and unselfish, willing to offer their bruised bodies in the name of unpaid competition. Notify me if the women can still dominate against better global competition. And most of all, tell me if you’re turning on the TV, or buying a ticket, to see them.

    People, these women play for teacher’s salaries, for three months out of the year. The Olympics is the professional pinnacle for them, the competition the best and the public exposure even better.

    But hey, only those spoiled men enjoy exposure, only the men accept endorsements, only the men are lazy, only the men played in “da hood” and so brought that “thug” attitude to their pro game. (When you use such charged terms, don’t tell me we can’t even bring up racism in discussing these Games.)

    Comment by Katerina -

  51. Its a player that does not want their team plan exposed. If it was an NBA star attitude you’d find it more often in the NBA but you don’t so I think its probably a team with its back to the wall and very nervous. A lot was at stake. Not only was the world but thier own country. Winning meant a lot.

    Comment by Mike -

  52. In the final match of the China vs Russia(W) match, during time out, the camera was shooting the intensiveness timeout within each team, the world tv viewers can listen clearly to what the coaches tell the players although in another language. And this happens in every other games during the Olympic.

    Lithuana the same thing happens.. we can see the coaches are talking to the players although never exactly what is was.. the camera man was just moving on the side poking in and out to intensify the tv experience.

    Good job I say.

    But when is comes to the Team USA turn, one of players threw a cloth on the camera darkening the tv screen for 2 secs before the camera man realize. WTF!!??? Can some explain the rational behind this? Are they so panic?

    Can someone please tell me is this an atitude problem of a NBA star?

    Comment by Kevin -

  53. It appears racial pride trumps national pride. The respone to the US men’s play by commentators and the general media has been so harsh I suspect something else is at work. All this talk of lack of fundamentals is garbage. The fact is these guys are pros and do have fundamentals. Some are better in other things than, e.g. shooting as opposed to driving. The US simply didn’t take a balance of players. (I want to see what happens in a few years when the softball ladies don’t win.)

    When Bird said basketball is a black man’s game, it spoke to something that underlies the criticism of this team. Whites have felt alienated from basketball because they are not represented, so even though the US wont win, they take solace in the fact that whites somewhere, won, and are trying to use this win to say “hey look, these millionaires are not worth thier pay.”

    The fact is the envy will get us no where. Black Americans hhave a style of play that is unique and superior. A feature of black american play is the dunk, which is why its the most common word you find in people’s criticism of the US men’s team. (‘all they care about is flashy dunks’). Well the same criticism could go the other way. Why do the other teams would a team shoot more 3 pointers than 2’s? Those complaining about dunks miss the fact that it’s a high percentage shot and actually makes more sense than shooting 3’s. Simply gunning is such a one dimensional game.

    The fact remains the US does and will continue to dominate basketball. Imagine sending a young team, no shooter, and giving them 2 weeks to practice. And they come up 3rd!! If those results, I fear what would happen if Shaq, Kobe Garnett and the rest showed up. A simple shooter, say Reed, would have changed it completely. Those that say the other team was just as young, give me one example? Puerto Rice beat us, but where did they place? Lithuania beat us, where did they place. These guys, some out of high school, went to Athens to represent out nation and the criticism of them is simply unfair.

    Comment by Oz -

  54. Let’s get something straight, the reason USA Basketball failed to win the Gold medal this year wasn’t a vast improvement in the quality of the international game. The international game is, was and will be for the foreseeable future a step behind the best team basketball in the United States. The reason we lost wasn’t hostile crowds, or questionable officiating. The reason we lost wasn’t because Kobe, Shaq, Garnett, and McGrady decided to stay home.

    The reason we lost is because of the “all-star” mentality of the selection committee. The reason we lost is a little thing called “teamwork”. Huh? What’s that?

    Apparently, teamwork has become a mystery to many in the media and in the NBA.

    Yeah, a team gets better when it plays together for a while. I know this is ground-breaking stuff.

    Everyone knows that if you want to see crappy basketball, go watch an all-star game. Turnovers, missed alley-oops, showboating and no defensive communication are the order of the day.

    TEAM U.S.A. needs to quit trying to assemble a super squad of our five best and we need to put our BEST FIVE out on the floor. I don’t care if the players on the team come from the NBA, college, high school, city league, or the playground; just be damned sure they play and practice well together and understand their responsibility to the nation before you send them to the Olympics.

    How about sending an NBA playoff squad that is composed of mostly domestic players? Anyone think the Lakers or the Pacers would have had trouble winning the gold?

    Comment by Steve -

  55. Let’s get something straight, the reason USA Basketball failed to win the Gold medal this year wasn’t a vast improvement in the quality of the international game. The international game is, was and will be for the foreseeable future a step behind the best team basketball in the United States. The reason we lost wasn’t hostile crowds, or questionable officiating. The reason we lost wasn’t because Kobe, Shaq, Garnett, and McGrady decided to stay home.

    The reason we lost is because of the “all-star” mentality of the selection committee. The reason we lost is a little thing called “teamwork”. Huh? What’s that?

    Apparently, teamwork has become a mystery to many in the media and in the NBA.

    Yeah, a team gets better when it plays together for a while. I know this is ground-breaking stuff.

    Everyone knows that if you want to see crappy basketball, go watch an all-star game. Turnovers, missed alley-oops, showboating and no defensive communication are the order of the day.

    TEAM U.S.A. needs to quit trying to assemble a super squad of our five best and we need to put our BEST FIVE out on the floor. I don’t care if the players on the team come from the NBA, college, high school, city league, or the playground; just be damned sure they play and practice well together and understand their responsibility to the nation before you send them to the Olympics.

    How about sending an NBA playoff squad that is composed of mostly domestic players? Anyone think the Lakers or the Pacers would have had trouble winning the gold?

    Comment by Steve -

  56. The NBA Champions, i.e. The Pistons, should represent the United States in the Olympics.

    There are obvious reasons why i believe this.

    One, I, like everyone else, I will take a well oiled and hard working TEAM over our current starry sloppy jalopy every time. By using the Pistons, it would send a better representative of what USA Basketball means. The play in our league looks nothing like what i see on the floor in Athens. Being a Wolves fan has shown me a new appreciation of a star lead group of athletic role players.

    Also, it would fuel nationalism. As the team that battled through our very tough league to EARN THE RIGHT to represent our country in the Olympics would have EARNED our respect as a team. I would love to see Ben Wallace in the Olympics because i respect him so much.

    We would also have a team that is ready to play. If this is the best team in June, they’ll be the best team in August. Besides, it’s only for a few weeks, and we all know that there’s really not much of an ‘off-season’ anymore. Plus it demands a bit more out of our champions, and provides the opportunity for the fans to consider them to be even greater. I will find KG a deity if he wins the Championship for the Wolves and a Gold Medal for America.

    And finally, and maybe most importantly, it shows some damn respect to the rest of the world and finally acknowledges that they do indeed have some spectacular basketball programs. Best of all this becomes the prime opportunity to globalize the game. Think of it…a World League. Listen up NBC…a World League.

    As for teams with International players, which is just about everyone. The NBA would have to make a stipulation that for a player to be allowed to play in the NBA he must release his right to play for his Olympic team if his American team wins a championship. This would bother the International Leagues, but only a few teams would lose a few players every four years.

    Comment by RedeyeRick -

  57. The fact is, if our best players went to the Olympics, we’d wipe the floor with those other teams. But our best players prefer to be pussies and stay home so they won’t get hurt, rather than play in the Olympics and represent their country. Players from other countries see the chance to participate in the Olympics as an HONOR, and are proud to have the chance to bring home a medal. Our best players only care about money. I say fuck ’em. It’s fine to be American when you can draw all the priviledges from it, but when it comes time to step up and prove you love your country everybody has something else to do. Hell, it’s not like we’re asking them to go to Iraq!

    I’m not a big flag waver, but it pisses me off that people are talking shit about the players who are there, and not about those busters who should be there but aren’t.

    Hey Gabe, what does the team being all black have to do with anything?

    Comment by L Williams -

  58. The fact is, if our best players went to the Olympics, we’d wipe the floor with those other teams. But our best players prefer to be pussies and stay home so they won’t get hurt, rather than play in the Olympics and represent their country. Players from other countries see the chance to participate in the Olympics as an HONOR, and are proud to have the chance to bring home a medal. Our best players only care about money. I say fuck ’em. It’s fine to be American when you can draw all the priviledges from it, but when it comes time to step up and prove you love your country everybody has something else to do. Hell, it’s not like we’re asking them to go to Iraq!

    I’m not a big flag waver, but it pisses me off that people are talking shit about the players who are there, and not about those busters who should be there but aren’t.

    Hey Gabe, what does the team being all black have to do with anything?

    Comment by L Williams -

  59. Here’s a thought. I propose the committee pick the team that wins the NBA championship for that year. The implications are that every fourth year championship may means a little bit more. That 4th year could not only mean an NBA championship but the possibility of an Olympic gold as well. There would be complications if your star NBA player happens to be “Dirk”. But that would definitely raise the stakes. Not only for the NBA but for the world. Put the NBA championship at stake. Additionally, the excuse of only 10 days practice could never be used again.

    Comment by Jean Salnave -

  60. The Lithuana game Saturday was hard to watch. No fundamental defense whatsoever. The USA players never know where the ball is and they don’t even face guard well. When they get picked they never attempt to climb over the pick, they take the easy route and go under and the opponents are ready to fire their shots. Offensively, the USA is scared to take a shot because they’re shooting 17% from the perimeter, just awful. No passion, no desire to work for the WIN.

    Maybe in the face of humiliation they’ll find a way to pick up the pace and use their “fundamental” b’ball talents and play with a college level of offense and defense, passionately.

    This ain’t the lazy NBA game this is the Olymipics and this years winner of the Gold Medal all of sudden has real meaning.

    Comment by Robert Pearson -

  61. Why is it when a team in the NBA aka Detroit wins the NBA finals they are crowned world champions. But yet when USA basketball puts togehter the best of the best (even though i think they could of done better with their selection) they cant even compete on an international level. I say take away the world champions title from the NBA championships.

    Comment by swish -

  62. I’ve heard people try to stick up a little for the Dream Team and say that part of the reason is because we dont have the best of the best anymore. Well you are right but mostly WRONG. This is the NBA. International players come across seas to play for our teams. The level of competition the NBA produces should bring out the best of players and teach them how to play together but obviously it doesnt.

    I also hear people say that they are a young team. WELL GUESS WHAT!? Nearly all the teams are filled with as young players as Team USA.

    Dream Team (more like nightmare team) 2004 is comprised of a bunch of primadonnas that would rather dunk the basketball rather than to open up a teammate for the three pointer. Thats why we have no three pointers. Because the team was made for flash and dazzle but have turned out to be the laughing stock of the Olympic games this year.

    Every single person out there in Athens right now is playing with everything they have except for these group of individuals.

    It was only obvious what Dream Team 2004 and the NBA was trying to do when they announced the players this year. Yes they tried to get players like Kobe, Shaq, Kidd and so on which turned them down (which I think they are a bunch of scumbags for doing so) but there is still more than enough talent out in the NBA that could of contributed more to a TEAM rather than players like Odom, James, Anthony, Marion etc. Had a player like Stockton whom has not an ounze of flash in him been invited to play this year even though he was a original Dream Teamer and could’ve contributed majorly. NO! No need to explain why.

    I dont mean to play a race card, but is there a coincidence that team USA has all black players??

    What they need to do for future teams is stick to the basics and fundamentals of basketball. What is that may you ask?:

    -Get players that play like a team. Players that create for their teamates. Players that make the extra pass, that stick to harder defense and do their job! There are five different positions in a team with different roles. Make sure you get players that play those roles.

    I would much rather see a boring game between USA and Lithuania with the US winning with defense and heart than a team full of prima donnas who make spectacular dunks but loose by a couple of points.

    This team has no fundamentals, no heart, no effort, no teamwork and just plain out stinks. These guys are not representing my country and I personally dont want them to win. I want this team to be laughed out of Athens like the joke that they are. Im more of a fan of USA syncranized swimming than Team USA basketball.

    So to Dream Team 2004. This is from an ex NBA fan:
    Just end this nightmare of a bunch of hooligans you call a team, get the hell out of Athens and go back to making 10 million dollars a year in the NBA where you will never see gold. This is the closest you will ever get to gold so you better make the best of it. But once you get back to the states I hope many people take the lead i am taking because you wont be getting any of my support any more!

    Comment by Gabe -

  63. i’am from africa,specificly angola, but i luv the u.s basketball team i can’t understand how could be it possivel u.s team lose against the lithuania it’s a big shame for the international basketball they needed to send players as well iverson , timothy dunca,shaq, kobe, kevin garnet, t-mcgrady and vince carter , it’s could be a dream team! am hurted with this situation! but i think also that the olympica rules are so bad, they should change some thing on the next game about update basketball played .

    Comment by john isaac kanjila -

  64. The sport of basketball in the USA has changed. The game that is being played is some spiced up, yet watered down version of what Dr. James Naismith invented. Try that with a favorite soup recipe. Add a whole bunch of spices – then throw in an extra quart of water. Not too good, is it? The United States developed this game, and now they are destroying the game as we knew it.

    Maybe it is just evolving into something different. Something more resembling the made-for-TV “SlamBall” than the game of skill, finesse and accuracy that Naismith`s game required to become successful. But ancient Greco-Roman wrestling evolved into WWF professional wrestling. That doesn`t make it better. Maybe it is more “entertaining” if you are not a thinking man. More “action” around the ball (I see less action away from the ball)and more “spectacular” plays (I see less intelligent decisions). I have to believe that their are still some people that appreciate the 2-1 baseball game or a football defensive struggle…or a Detroit Pistons NBA Championship. Contests, like a chess match, that require strategy and counter moves, something just as cerebral as it is physical. But certainly many games are now much less a “sport” and more an “event”. More individual and less team. More “me” and less “we”.

    In the United States players, in general, no longer understand shot selection and team play, decision making and execution, movement anticipation and pattern recognition, using peripheral vision and spatial awareness, or have any general concept of relative motion and court sense. Game intelligence is at a minimum.
    Even when they win, they look worse doing it. At least in the eyes of a basketball purist.

    Internationally the game is still a game of movement, passing, open shots, team creativity, and deception. The game as Naismith intended for it to be played. TEAMmates, playing TEAM basketball, for the TEAM. The teammates that they have practiced with and shared blood, sweat and tears with, over a long period of time. The teammates that they care about – and wouldn`t dare let them down.

    American basketball players have become obsessed with bigger, faster, and stronger. The goal is to overpower – not to outsmart. Individual creativity is emphasized to battle the more prevelant (and often times legislated) man to man defense. Coaches get intoxicated with the athleticism that some players exhibit and the coach`s “basketball vision” get`s blurred. Coaches have turned to aggressive, attacking styles of play that are meant to cause turnovers and create easy shots. Fouling for profit, in hopes that the officials “can`t call all of them”! However, what it has created is a generation of players that can only play that helter-skelter style.
    Now, how many times do you really look at the USA Olympic team , see a player and say, “he …really has court sense”…sees the floor”…understands the game”…or…has a high basketball IQ”? Not many!

    In the `60`s and `70`s basketball training was all about fundamental skill aquisition and footwork. In the `80`s and `90`s it was about physical training and getting bigger, stronger, faster. In this millenium, we need to address the final frontier…the brain!

    Players, and coaches, need to return to the basketball concepts that make this game so great. The timing and synchronizing of player movement, the synergy that teamwork creates, and the perfection of offensive skills – with NO slippage allowed. Do not settle for mediocrity – demand perfection!

    Comment by Ray Lokar -

  65. I think team USA is very sure that they will be the absolute winer on everything, however, they should remember that their competitors think the same.

    I notice too many missjudgements during this Olympics also!

    Comment by Gevorgian -

  66. This team needs two players. Ray Allen (or Mike Redd if Ray already declined an offer) and Sam Cassell. Ray Allen would kill everyone out there by bombing high school threes all game long. Sam Cassell is also an excellent shooter and can run an offence very well. Those are the only two things the US needs. Just get rid of Carlos Boozer (he hasn’t played well) and Richard Jefferson (his lack of Kidd has him playing poorly.)

    Love the blog Mark.

    Comment by Colin S. -

  67. Fundamentals. This is the answer. Remember Larry Bird? He couldn´t jump an inch but he was the best. Why? Fundamentals… Most of European kids grew up watching Bird, Magic (lots of fundamentals) but also watching Petrovic, Gallis, Sabonis, the brazilian Oscar. All them were intelligent enough to know that the game is based in fundamentals so they were tough workers to improve their skills besides their muscles.
    After years on watching both european and NBA basketball, I prefer know the first one than the second (i used to prefer NBA in the past). Most of NBA games use to be boring for people as me who use to look details different than a good dunk. I don’t see intelligent players (I have seen lots of games in which in the time clock is left less than 24 seconds and the players shoot fast to improve their personal stadistic instead of keeping the ball to shoot in the last seconds and don´t give the rival an opportunity to make a basket.
    One detail: most of european players have an academic career and in their clubs when their are young push them to study to have a future besides basketball. In america, the recruitment of players for the NCAA is not because of their high school academic level. What is important is the high a player can jump. Most of them don´t finish their degrees because they prefer to go right to the NBA dollars. And this last years, this is getting worse: LEbron, Melo, etc. They go right to the NBA without going a day to tha college.
    What I mean is that muscles of course are worked with a hard work. The same with intelligence. Brain is something you have to work to improve it. And the fast you think and the easy you see the game have to be with your intelligence and I think most of american players have a huge lack of it.

    Comment by Al Marfany -

  68. 1. The US lacks shooters. Yes the US does have a handful of guys who can create their own shot. However, they need guys who can stick shots if left wide open. The sad part is there are dozens of these types out there, you don’t need Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Michael Redd or Kobe. Someone like Cuttino Mobley, Tony Delk, Kyle Korver, John Barry, Brent Barry, Lucious Harris, David Wesley, Mike Miller, or Bruce Bowen.
    2. The US lacks passers. The US needs to get a point guard to play. Jason Kidd is the obvious choice, and Dwayne Wade might be in a few years, but not as the guy. We need someone who will set up our offense and find cutters. Steph Marbury, Francis, Davis, etc. are shoot first guys the team needs someone who will find his teammates first. I’d even argue that the US team would have been better served bringing lesser talent to the olympics, b/c they would pass the ball. You simply cannot beat these team defenses without someone to disect the half court defenses. If the opponent doubles Duncan down low you find Redd, Pierce, Allen, Barry, Mobley, Wesley, etc to drain a J. If Pierce or Redd is doubled he has got to find the bigman down low – as Lebron did against Australia.
    3. Leaders. The US needs some leaders, not quiet guys like Duncan or me guys like Iverson, Marbury, and McGrady. The USA needs to bring along people like Antoine Walker, Doug Christie, Jason Kidd, Rip Hamilton, Karl Malone, etc.. Someone who will help the coaches coach, not make life more complicated or watch passivly as things collapse around them. They need guys who are respected by players and coaches a like.
    4. A coach players want to play for. I’m talking about Doc Rivers, Flip Saunders, Pat Riley, Paul Silas, etc… or better yet someone who can committ fulltime to the enterprise. Maybe someone like John Stockton, Kenny Smith, John Thompson, Mark Price, Steve Kerr, etc…

    Comment by Luke -

  69. Should be:
    Michael Finley–He can be unconscious from the perimeter and did well at the Worlds
    Richard Hamilton–Scorer, Defender, NBA Champion
    Brent Barry–I actually don’t think I’ve ever seen him miss a 3-pointer
    Steve Francis–I’d actually like to have a second point guard after Starbury.
    Honorable Mention: Chris Webber: I kind of think that Tim Duncan could use a little help underneath.

    Should NOT be:
    Richard Jefferson–I think that we are seeing the real player out there now he doesn’t have Jason Kidd to spoon feed him dunks.
    Carmelo Anthony–He WILL be a great player, but he’s not the most physical guy out there.
    Shawn Marion–Where did he learn that jump shot anyway?
    Amare Stoudemire: I think Stu Jackson selected him because he watches his highlights on Sportscenter. Stu, you actually haven’t seen him play an entire game, right?

    Comment by JJ -

  70. It is funny how the United States of America use the title “World Champions”, “World Series” and they only play among themselves. They are not real World Champions and it is not the World Series without having the other teams in the W O R L D involved. So, I think it is a very good idea to use the so call NBA World Champions play at the Olympics. Since it is only every four years they should start using the Championship winners to do it.
    I am very sure that if the whole Detroit Pistons team play in the Olympics they would have done better. Puerto Rico beat USA Team and that is a fact. It takes a lot of hard work and heart to achieve this and the credit goes to PR and not to how bad the USA Team is. There are million of excuses why USA lost but none will erase the past. Instead what should be done to fix things and make them better.

    Comment by JC -

  71. We should simply eliminate the “professional NBA” American participation of Men’s Basketball from the Olympics. What a joke- to call them professional. They clearly do not have the sportsmenship, awareness or class to make a go of it. As was stated this morning (8-18) by one of their assistant coaches during the Woman’s BB game, these men do not have the opinion of the Olympics that other athletes do. They do not see it as the ultimate achievement as an athlete that the other participants do. As he said, it is their opinion that the NBA is the top athletic experience, obviously because of the money they make. That is all they care about. So exclude them. We do not need to have to bear the embarrassment of watching a bunch of spoiled childish prima donnas waltz around as if they are God’s gift to the sport. Through their behavior, they have clearly communicated that they no idea what this competition is really about.

    After watching their “sullen” behavior during the women’s Basket ball game against Korea, I was absolutely appalled to see how they were acting. They sat their like children, with their headphones on, bopping to the music, and not even watching the game. They have no class, no patriotism and no business being there.

    I will do all I can to discourage everyone I know to boycott watching them, both at the Olympics and back here in America. Through their spoiled brat behavior, they are an embarrassment to our country. And we surely do not need any more help in that arena right now.

    Comment by Carol Wise -

  72. We invested a lot of cash in our youth teams over here in the UK. This seems to have paid off. Instead of forcing such high transfer costs.. We invest a little bit more in our youngsters making them the old greats in a few years paying huge dividends to our clubs.
    _______________
    Help Desk Software Consultant

    Comment by itil -

  73. We don’t want college players out there, are you serious? They just barely won gold on the 20 an under level of olympics. C’mon now people, if you don’t no anything about basketball why even waste time writing?

    Comment by Ken-Yon Hardy -

  74. These guys are treating it as an all-star game where people are supposed to be gathering around to see how wonderful they are. Look at Iverson’s reaction after the game. I just wish they’d go back to the college players, even if they didn’t win, it would be nice to see someone who took it seriously and gave it their all.

    Comment by Troy -

  75. Mabuhay ang Pinas. Its a pitiful sight, the loss of team USA to a committed Puerto Rico national team. have you ever seen Duncan and Iverson squall in total frustration before? RJ’s eyes swell in disbelief? The US Basketball team just mimicked the cohorts sent during ’88 – the team lost to european players. What they did wrong? There is no one there mature enough to act as a leader. the youngest dream team ever; against the mature and sound games of the olimpiakos. second, all the players want to do is PENETRATE. how can you possible penetrate the dreaded zone defense? you will probably cough it up as AI now will forever remember. More, i dont think its the shooting , i mean AI is there, Carmelo is there, but the faggots dunt wana take their outside shots. we all damn know they can wax hot, as in really hot, but when you dont believe you can make your shot, you will probably nail those petty airballs. how many airballs were there? around 8? thats normal for highschool clubs but man, when the team got wade, odom, marion, anthony, iverson, and marbury, airballs aint acceptable.

    Comment by gian de guzman -

  76. Everyone not named Tim Duncan

    Comment by Gary -

  77. I agree.
    (Time)

    Time waisted: .3 minutes
    Congratulations: New site record

    Comment by Justin -

  78. This team will not win unless they get a clue. We have a team made up of players that are idolized and treated as gods, yet pampered like babies. A player’s “name” he has made for himself in the NBA does not amount to anything in International competition.
    The players on Team USA are finally getting a taste of what real basketball is. Basketball isn’t jumping out of the gym and dribbling around trying to “break” a guy down. Basketball is a team sport built on fundamental skills. Have you ever seen basketball practice at a high school? What happens when the coach rolls the balls out before practice begins? Every player is either jacking up 3-pointers, trying to make half court shots, or trying to dunk the ball.
    When are the players going to learn that a dunk is worth the same two points as a 15-foot jump shot is? We’ve gotten away from playing as a team to win the game. Now its the selfish, me-first, I’m taking this one all the way even if I’m covered by 5 guys attitude.
    I have to question the real motivation of the players on Team USA. By watching them throughout the past few weeks, no one even looks like they want to be there. Do we need to give these guys another $10 million dollars to get some play out of them? I would certainly hope not. Like some of the other comments have said, these guys are getting paid millions of dollars to entertain fans. Representing the United States is just kind of having something to do during the summer. Isn’t is supposed to be an honor to represent your country in the Olympics? These guys have got to see that its not all about each individual. That goes for the Olympics and the NBA. The great John Wooden said, “the main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”

    Comment by Aaron -

  79. Send a real TEAM to the games, don’t send a group of “stars” (and I use that term losely.

    Send the Spurs, or Pistons and we are not having this conversation. Maybe the US would not win by 20 every game, but the Spurs or Piston would NOT get beat by 20 (ok 18) either.

    The guys playing right now have no sense of team, don’t know what to expect of eachother, etc.

    Comment by Randall -

  80. I think everyone is pretty much on the same page with the most recent loss to PR. Fundamentals, arrogance, lack of team work, no defense, we can’t shoot. We can’t defend. It just was bad all around. Mark, I do have a question for you since you came out against sending NBA ballers to the Olympic games. A few of us around here were wondering if the NBA had the courage to send its champ to the Olympics instead of a mish-mosh of All-Stars? Would it have been worse to send the Pistons this year? Would it be worse for the NBA if the Pistons went and lost instead of this “Dream Team”. Or should we just go back to college kids and watch them get killed instead. This recent loss cannot be good for the NBA. Can it?

    Comment by Perry -

  81. This is what you wanted, Mark. You wanted the GREAT players getting ready to play in the season….right???

    Comment by Tony -

  82. * Lack of preperation – matter of weeks?

    * Poor choice of players on team – too many backing out

    * No-shooters; media always promoting driving to the basket to get the foul calls, so kids growing up don’t work on their jumpers

    * Not too much emphasis on the passing/ cutting/ shooting game. You don’t have too many fans in US that truely admire Utah’s game when Stockton, Malone, and Hornasek.

    * Too much emphasis on the power game. You have someone like Shaq that gets all the calls. How can someone with no skill that relies on bulldozing and elbowing players in the lane be rated the, self-proclaimed, “most-dominant center ever to play the game”? Just tragic.

    * Looking back at the 1992 allstar game, all players made crisper passes, shot the ball better, and probably had even more athleticism than today. Come on, Jordan, Pippen, Drexler, Magic, Isiah Thomas…

    * Mostly importantly, Jordan didn’t become Jordan if he hadn’t worked so hard on his jumper. Emphasis on JUMPER.

    Comment by Sewagemaster -

  83. The question shouldn’t be focused on what’s wrong with the US team. There isn’t anything wrong with them, it’s just that everyone else is much better than they were during the Dream Team era. The Dream Team inspired many euros, including Dirk Nowitzki, to play ball instead of soccer or something else. Add that to the fact that they go by thier rules, not ours, and that’s all you need to know about why the US will struggle from now on. It’s called an even playing field. Get use to it America.

    Comment by jordan -

  84. Ever since we started using pro’s I don’t have any interest
    in Olympic Basketball except to hope that the overpricedd
    whiny babies lose. There is an Olympic God !!

    Comment by John -

  85. I live in Utah and I proud of Carlos Arroyo. He made “team” USA look silly. The fact that the Jazz were able to have a winning record last year without any real superstars, and certainly without any American superstars, shows me that American basketball is all about dunking and one-on-one play, not so much about winning. Here in Utah, Jerry Sloan gets the job done without tons of altheticism, using teamwork instead. BTW, we’ve got one of the most international squads in the league with a Turk, a Puerto Rican, a Russian, a Spaniard, and we just lost Serbian Sasha Pavlovic to the expansion draft.

    Comment by Jake -

  86. Whats wrong with Team USA is that Marque players told the US to stuff it. Team USA could roll over any interational team anywhere period, if the cowards would have showed up. But the current team USA is made up of bench players who were only asked to attend after the whole NBA Starting line up said no.
    The current Team USA should be watching the Olympics from their homes. But the NBAs real talent said they were to tired to play following the regular season, or that they were concerned about their security, or that they needed the summer to spend time with their families. What a bunch of spoiled babies. Once every 4 years the US asked for its best and brightest to represent their country in the oplmpics. Our best and brightest play a Game in the only country on the planet that will allow its citizens to pay MILLIONS to watch a handfull of men play basketball.
    Malone, Stockton, Jordon, Barkley, Bird, Drexler, Ewing, Johnson, Laettner, Mullin, Pippen, Robinson, those guys represented the Best of the USA.
    This team in large part represents the apathy of the overpaid wealthy NBA superstars who are to pampered to answer the call of their country. While lesser talent and experience must struggle to answer the call turned down by the NBAs best.

    Comment by Wade Garrett -

  87. One more thing .. I doubt college players would cut it either, because as all the HS kids bypassing college to get paid, these college kids don’t wanna risk getting hurt before they get their chance to make millions in the NBA!!

    Comment by Matt Oliver -

  88. Ya know I love how most everyone on this site all of a sudden became brilliant talent scouts. I for one think this team does need some other talent, but I will be honest in saying I wasn’t thinking that until you see them get beat in a couple games. I mean come on guys .. Michael Redd!? Does anyone talk about him during the season? And now all of a sudden everyone is on him like he’s the MVP of the league. While he is a GREAT player, and maybe should be on the team, don’t everyone jump on the bandwagon and say Tashaun Prince(get real), Brad Miller, and Michael Redd should be on this team. The “Dream Team” right now is composed of ALL the players AMERICA constantly votes on to play in the All star games! Has Vince Carter deserved to go all those years!? But NOOO we voted for him!!! Don’t blame the committee for their selections when NO ONE was complaining until we started losing. All of the points on this site are pretty much valid and I agree, but don’t talk like we KNEW this all along and we are all much better talent evaluators then the selection committee! Quit voting these losers on the All Star team and maybe Michael Redd might get more recognition! I live in Az and Amare and DEFINATELY Marion shouldn’t be on the team and I went to grade school, junior high and a high school a couple miles away from Jefferson and him clearly being the best shooter on the team solidifies maybe he should be here. Quit bashing him when he is the best shooter % wise!

    Comment by Matt Oliver -

  89. Here’s a link to the best idea for USA Basketball I’ve heard. Basically, instead of setting the team up as an All-Star team, set it up as you would an actual squad (roll players, defenders, shooters, etc.)

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/040804

    Comment by Jeff Wierenga -

  90. I think that we should go back to college players… Perhaps we would not win every oly. gold but we would win a medal. I think of the US 20 and under team loaded with Chris Paul of Wake Forest and Sean May of UNC among others these guys already give their heart and soul for nothing to their very well endowed universities. Doing the same for the US oly. team would be easier than it is for the pros. It really isn’t fair to them. These guys are great players but they don’t have enough time. Think about it, in olympic years the best and brightest of the college ranks could start around tax day practicing and playing everyday. we would be a force for sure.

    Comment by Gray Brendle -

  91. USA doesn’t have a team. What you have are a group of spares and roll players, except for Duncan, who were thrown together at the last minute and asked to go out there and win a gold medal. Sure, that’s worked in the past, but that was with the best of the best playing together. Where’s KG? Where’s Kobe? Where’s Shaq? Where’s McGrady? Where’s Kidd? Where’s Bibby? I can go on and on. Point is, other countries have their best of the best playing and we only have our 3rd choices playing.

    Comment by John -

  92. One more comment. A little off-topic, but i would love to see football added as an Olympic sport. That would be fun to watch and some nice blowouts too. And I’m talking about real football, not soccer.

    USA vs. Angola in pool play. hehehe

    Comment by J.R. Ewing -

  93. The Olympics aren’t a big deal to American athletes because of the way society is set up to glorify the individual. Other countries see their national pride at stake, but the US athletes just see an opportunity to better themselves. It reflects in the style of play. No teamwork, cutting, etc. It’s all about the crossovers and dunks.

    Comment by Dave Fitzpatrick -

  94. The problem with our olympic basketball team is really simple. It is very hard to get players who can make millions of dollars during the off-season doing commercials and movies to commit to playing a brand of basketball that they are neither accustomed to or suited for. International basketball is very different from NBA basketball in terms of play and the rules. Save for the first dream team, international teams have exceeded U.S. teams in terms of cohesion and fundamental play, we won based solely on talent and athleticism. Now, because of years and years of the broadening reach of the NBA, international teams are starting to send teams that are athletic and cohesive. Much like the rest of the world has started to catch up to the standard that Tiger Woods has set in golf, the international community is starting to catch up to the U.S. in basketball. If we want to again become dominant, then we need to provide for our players the opportunity to play together earlier and more often. It would help if we would identify 30 players as olympic caliber and then require them to play in either qualifying and world championship events in order to play in the olympics. It is unrealistic to expect Shaq, KG, etc. to play on every international team, but we should have a rotation system where these guys must play on a certain number of teams in order to compete in the olympics and if they refuse to play then they are no longer eligible to represent this country in future events.

    Comment by LaMont Rainey -

  95. Face it, Europeans are just catching up with us. They’re tall, and they can shoot (ex. Dirk Nowitzki). For years, NBA players were able to overcome their lack of shooting skils with high-flying athleticism and extreme quickness. The days of Michael Jordan are over. A quicker version of Larry Bird is popping up all over Europe. Although not as athletic, the tall European sharp-shooters are better basketball players, and they’re more fun to watch.

    Comment by Entertainment News -

  96. After reading the posts from everyone we should have just let Larry Brown take the whole Pistons team, then we could have brought back the gold!

    Comment by Toolz -

  97. ESPN’s Bill Simmons (AKA: The Sports Guy) wrote a great article about this not to long ago… I suggest we all start there:
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/040804

    Comment by John Burke -

  98. I think that you are asking the wrong question. Other countries (including PR) built teams designed teams to compete in the international game and gave them plenty of time to gel. The US took what they could get of the NBA guys and then threw them on the court. I also question the coaching. Would it be too hard to design several plays around pick-and-rolls and run them until someone stops it?

    At the end of the day, the NBA is less and less about basketball and more about entertainment. As a result, we expect our teams to “wow” us with their handle and their hops, but don’t care if they can pass or hit the mid-range jumper.

    Comment by Topher -

  99. I’ve read most of everyone’s comments. let me share a little something here. Awhile back i was in a basketball tournament with 4 friends that I have known and played with for about 10 years or so. it was a pretty competitive tournament. We mae our way to the finals where we played 5 guys who we knew by name only. At the time, they were somewhat big time Division 1 recruits. They were winning homor after honor on the high school level and had many differnt D I offers. They didn’t play on the same team and were not really even close, but were damn good for that age. Anyway, their talent was very superior to ours, but we knew how to play together. We won and somewhat easily too. Like i said, they were good, but most of that they did was one-on-one and trying to look good. Like the old adage says, some people people rather look good and lose, than look bad and win.

    Thats kind of how Team USA is. They have far superior talent even if it is not the 1st tier NBA players, but those internation teams play together year round( i think). And they are tremendous shooters. i agree with a few of you about taking the NBA champ, but I do not think that would work because 9 times out of 10, they will not want to go and you’ll always have to fill that small internation viod to. I believe they should choose more carefully. For instance, the NBA has a ton of all-star power forwards. (Duncan, Garnett, J. O’Neal, Wallace, Webber. They would be way more beneficial to take a less known player that can hit the open 3 with consistence like a Kerr although I know he is retired.

    It’s obvious where the problem is, but there needs to be a solution and I for one think it is simple. Instead of going for all-stars, put a team together of some stars and more role players

    Also, the idea of taking the college champion would not work. they would lose and probably not even medal at all. Okafor would be a center. Thats a joke. He’s a 6’8″ PF without a jump shot.

    Comment by J.R. Ewing -

  100. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/040804

    Comment by Sid -

  101. alright, assuming the same conditions (i.e., players who backed out), here’s my main picks:

    PG: First choice: a healthy Bobby Jackson. I’d have Andre Miller in a pinch, Chauncy Billups for my defensive-minded PG, after that, it’d be Kirk Hinrich, Jason Williams, and then Earl Boykins

    SG: I think I might take Wade here, he’s got the talent and drive, but he lacks experience – did Rip Hamilton decline? I’d snag Michael Redd, maybe Desmond Mason, why not Reggie Miller? or Jim Jackson?

    SF: I’d still take the kids (Lebron and Carmelo), but how about Stephen Jackson? Brent Barry? Ron Artest or Tayshaun Prince? here’s a sick thought: is this the venue for Keith Van Horn?

    PF: I like Lamar Odom here, I say you take your chances with Rasheed. Maybe Cliff Robinson and Shareef Abdur-Rahim?

    C: The best player in the world, Tim Duncan stays on the team. Since Big Ben declined, I’d ask Brad Miller, then Theo Ratliff(!), Lorenzen Wright, or, how about Ervin Johnson?

    yeah, it’s crazy, but it’d sure be fun to watch

    Comment by brocked -

  102. It’s quite simple. The reason for USA basketball not being able to exist is simply because the team that is assembled isn’t really that good!They’re a bunch of highlight reels. And1 Mixtape participants. Anyone that knows anything about basketball knows that if you are smarter than your opponent 9 times out of 10 you will win. Larry Brown know’s that they’re not ready. They’re kids! I know, I know we do have Iverson and Duncan, but after that who else? LeBron James is a stud, but he still has a few more years. Richard Jefferson is a highlight reel and statistically their best shooter? Are you serious? Out of everbody we have Richard Jefferson that can’t shoot, but he’s our best shooter? Boozer is beast but he doesn’t get any tick. Carmelo is too busy mad that he isn’t getting any burn so he doesn’t even buy into the team concept that LB is trying implement. Then did you see him take his jersey off after the game? He only had 4 minutes of PT, but that action is just the case of maturity that is on the team. Amare, he’s too young and another highlight reel. Steph, c’mon now, he should be at Rucker this summer! Dwayne is too young and is not ready or proven.The boy from UConn isn’t ready. Lamar Odom can stay, he’s out there trying to do something and he’s showing that he’s humble. I respect Odom’s game, he’s nice, but he’s too light in the azz to be on the post. And there’s Shawn Marion. If he isn’t the Olympic version of Slava Medvadanko I don’t know who is! Stephen A. Smith has to be drooling about how much of a bum Shawn Marion is, he stinks! Another highlight real. Puerto Rico actually mad me want to come out of a 7 year retirement! Is basketball that hard? You can not assemble an all-star team of highlights and think that they will win. You can not put a person that was on the 2002 World Championship team on the squad, especially after it was said that no one on that team would ever play on USA basketball! Shawn Marion, are you serious?

    Comment by Ken-Yon Hardy -

  103. Puerto Rico was practically begging Richard Jefferson to shoot the outside shot. Basically this team has no shooters. It is comprised of mostly people who slash to the basket or who can get out in the open court. The only thing this USA team can do is try to create turnovers because they can clean house on the fastbreak. The problem is when they play teams with good guards that don’t turn it over, this team is going to struggle, especially in the half court. Put Michael Redd on this team and at least you have a shot. There are just too many players who’s game are exactly the same and a team with a bunch of alley-oop all stars is not going to compete for the gold medal.

    Hopefully in 4 years the selection committee will field a team not to sell jerseys, but to win a gold medal.

    Comment by Gregwilken -

  104. That is the question you should be asking. There are obviously a lot of wrong things but what does it have going for them? I would say money and that’s about it. They have nothing to really play for. To these players “representing your country” doesn’t mean much. They got their cash and have nothing really to play for.

    Comment by 53K1 -

  105. I think a lot of the other countries in the world have been training harder than the US team. Team USA thinks they can just turn it on when its game time and blow teams out. One of the problems is that it is just a normal offseason for these guys and doesn’t mean as much as it does to the other national teams. The movie Miracle pops into my mind and I can hear Kurt Russell saying “you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone”. I think there needs to be more of an incentive for the players to get serious about preparing. Hopefully, after the embarrassing loss, its not too late for Team USA to be ready for the rest of the games.

    “When you pull on that jersey, the name on the front is a hell of alot more important than the one on the back.” – Herb Brooks in the movie Miracle

    Larry Brown should have the team watch that movie for some inspiration and motivation.

    Love the site Mark Cuban. Keep it up.

    Comment by Chris -

  106. Shouldn’t we wait to see whether or not this team gains a medal before we cast judgement? With such streaky shooters on this team, they very well may explode offensively and win every game from here on out.
    How about this for a crazy suggestion? Let’s change the NBA rules to match the international competition that way we can stop using that as an excuse…

    Comment by Jerf -

  107. Teamwork is so crucial in bball. A team with good chemistry and very good bball players are better than a team with overrated superstars with no chemistry. Paul Levine nailed it…what the heck are Amare, DeWayne, Emeka, Shawn Marion, R. Jefferson (he really stinks) doing there.

    Comment by Tony -

  108. We have nothing to prove!

    Comment by Catherine Gonzalez -

  109. Puerto Rico is not even a state, let alone a country. How do they even have a team? If

    Comment by Greg Wilson -

  110. What is wrong with “Team” USA basketball? Americans like to get on Sportscenter. Teamwork only gets you on sportscenter if you win a championship.

    Their leader is Iverson? He is probably the most athletic person in the world. (seriously, I dream about him playing football at any skilled position.) But he is not a floor general. I hate saying anything bad about him, because he puts his heart into every second of GAMES. Well I guess you know what I’m talking about, otherwise Iverson would play for Dallas…(which I think might be the best pace for him).

    Comment by Greg Wilson -

  111. And1 Streetball : NBA
    as
    NBA : International Basketball

    Comment by Steven -

  112. The selection committee chose players based on Team USA jersey sales rather than choosing a good “team”.

    A team with Brent Barry, Bruce Bowen, Tayshaun Prince and a shooter like Kyle Korver could win Gold, but USA Basketball can’t sell jerseys with Korver or Barry on the back.

    Mr. Cuban, you may get your wish. If this team is further embarrassed, this may be the last time USA Basketball sends NBA players.

    Comment by Scott Patterson -

  113. Would there be anything wrong with sending the current NBA champs to the Olympics every 4 years? I think the Pistons would have a much better shot at winning the gold than our current “dream team” has.

    Comment by Aaron Zoeller -

  114. What happened in Greece with Team USA is a methaphor for American society in general.

    The youth of American simply doesn’t care about anything other than popularity and monetary status.

    Ask every single player in the NBA who created the game of basketball, and I bet under 1% could tell you the answer.

    I am personally ashamed to have this team represent the game that I love, and the country I live in.

    Comment by Erik H -

  115. First of all, did you see these guys at the Opening ceremonies? They looked bored and appeared to care less about being a part of the Olympic experience. They were more worried about their “bling bling” and hats on sideways than being proud to be a part of the US team. Looks to me like they came in with the attitude “we are Team USA and can’t be beat”. Well guess what fellas…you were wrong and embarrassed by Puerto Rico. I say next Olympic summer games, train a team of college players who really want to be there, forget the NBA players who can’t be bothered to represent their country or those who are there for the publicity only.

    Comment by Carol B. -

  116. The USA Basketball team is a microcosm of the Knicks: a group of overrated, overpaid players who have no chemistry, with a general manager who’s decisions reflect his inability to understand that basketball is a team sport.

    Comment by Aaron Silverstein -

  117. The USA Basketball team is a microcosm of the Knicks: a group of overrated, overpaid players who have no chemistry, with a general manager who’s decisions reflect his inability to understand that basketball is a team sport.

    Comment by Aaron Silverstein -

  118. I love the Mavericks as mush as anyone! But enough of the homerism! Dirk is the only Olympic worthy person on this team. and if he were an American citizen, I’m not sure if that would be true. I love Michael Finley, but he if you truly want to send our best players, he does not fit. He is a phenomenal player, but fundamental? He is not the best dribbler I’ve seen. What about the defense people are screaming about for Team USA? He doesn’t provide it all the time for the Mavs. He is a great shooter and scorer, when he’s hot. But, he has a tendency to be very streaky! I love Fin’s intensity and leadership, but so many people are posting that we should have sent the best players and then mentioning him. He doesn’t fit that bill.
    And the people saying that Nellie should be the coach for his offensive mind. That’s crazy! The problem with this team is not enough shooters and not being able to stop the other team’s shooters! When have these Mavs been able to stop a team from shooting at will? They either outshoot them or lose. Nellie brings an exciting brand, but if he took the Mavs concept to the Olympics, it would be a disaster.
    The idea of sending the NBA champs is cool. I don’t think they’ll want to go, though. The Pistons might have gone, but what if the Lakers had won? Do you think any of those prima donnas would have agreed? (And would we have had to endure more stories about Kobe flying from his court proceedings in Colorado to Athens? Did anybody else get tired of that throughout the season and playoffs?) A better idea would be to send the NCAA champs. Would win every gold? Probably not. Would we be able to be proud of that team? Probably so.

    Comment by Scott -

  119. Listen, its easy to throw the best available players on the floor and say they should win. Even though the U.S. didn’t get Kobe, T-Mac, KG, or Shaq on the floor, it isn’t like the guys we have our stiffs. But to win at a team game, you can’t pick all-stars, throw them together for three weeks, and say Voila.

    Instead, you need to pick players who will mesh well and play particular roles (unless you pick a full time team). This process would be especially beneficial in the international game, which: (1) are officiated much differently than the NBA games; (2) emphasize different skills, such as shooting, passing, teamwork; (3) use liberal zones and pack defenses in; and (4) have different court dimensions with respect to the lane area.

    But instead of offering only criticisms, here is a solution.

    1. Pick two internaional style point guards. See ya Starbury; we need point guards who are content to move the ball and can knock down the open jumper. Players that should have been selected (after the withdrawls) include Jason Williams (yes, the PG formerly known as White Chocolate now plays the game the right way), Kirk Heinrich, and Chauncey Billups.

    2. Pick two designated shooters. If teams are going to play a zone, we need to burn them with the short three point line. Rip Hamilton (I’m not quite sure whether he backed out), Michael Redd, Paul Pierce (if he would accept a role), and Brent Barry would kill squads with that short line. And we would still have an excellent athletic team with those players.

    3. Pick Big Men who can step outside, dribble, move the ball, and make the occasional jumper. This list would include Lamar Odom, Rasheed Wallace, Antwan Jamison, and Brad Miller.

    4. Don’t leave the team undermanned at its strength. This Olympic Team is strongest at the Center position with Tim Duncan. But there is no real backup. Why not? Pick two more big men who can rebound and alter shots, especially when they call ticky-tacky interior fouls (compared to the NBA) and only give you 5 fouls to begin with. These players may not be “Dream Team” caliber, but there is no excuse for not having sufficient size to dominate the middle. Where is Erick Dampier or a Lorenzen Wright? There probably are even better players available, as well.

    5. Pick a perimiter defensive specialist. How annoying is it to watch, when the U.S. is up by ten, some guy just get unconsicious from the three line? Don’t you think a Bruce Bowen following these shooters around would be annoying? And its not like Bruce can’t make a spot up jumper; he is clutch from the corner at the NBA line, this is almost two feet shorter.

    After that, fill out your team with other need guys. Get yourself a big SF in LeBron or Carmelo- they can both handle the ball and take it to the hoop. Pick AI- he is the heart of the team. But there is no reason for Amare, DeWayne, Emeka, Shawn Marion, and other players on this team to be there if we want to win.

    Comment by Paul Levine -

  120. If the other Olympic Teams have watched tape of the NBA playoffs this year, Team USA has no chance. Let’s see, Bad perimeter shoting and not able to get the ball to the man down low, hmmm…Laker fans, does this sound familar? The Pistons won by guarding down low and making their outside shots. Gaurd where they are; make the shot’s where they aren’t. Put the Pistons in there, right now and we have Gold. Unless the current individuals don’t adjust, play like a team and make the outside shot, USA won’t even be in the medal round. C’mon Larry, some of those guys must have seen the “Forrest Among the Trees” after this weekend.

    Comment by Rick Collins -

  121. A few more thoughts…
    From my previous post, why are the only sports where our pros can play and we still send our best on the women’s side? It does go back to the money. Men’s pro leagues have the destructive, irreversible trend of ridiculous salaries that the women’s leagues do not. The women are still playing for the love of the sport, regardless of money or media attention. The best players in the WNBA probably don’t make half of the NBA minimum (i.e. the worst players)> Same probably goes for the WUSA vs MLS. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m willing to betthat Freddy Adu’s salary eclipses Mia Hamm’s by quite a bit. So, someone who will probably be good someday but is no more than a marketing ploy at this point makes more on the men’s side than the greatest player in the history of the women’s side.
    It’s true. Money is the root of all evil!

    Comment by Scott -

  122. We support these overpaid athletes by spending money on entertainment sports viewing via cable/satellite and buying tix to the home games, but we haggle with our wives about buying a $99 GBA SP for our kid.

    Comment by Tony -

  123. We support these overpaid athletes by spending money on entertainment sports viewing via cable/satellite and buying tix to the home games, but we haggle with our wives about buying a $99 GBA SP for our kid.

    Comment by Tony -

  124. We support these overpaid athletes by spending money on entertainment sports viewing via cable/satellite and buying tix to the home games, but we haggle with our wives about buying a $99 GBA SP for our kid.

    Comment by Tony -

  125. We support these overpaid athletes by spending money on entertainment sports viewing via cable/satellite and buying tix to the home games, but we haggle with our wives about buying a $99 GBA SP for our kid.

    Comment by Tony -

  126. We support these overpaid athletes by spending money on entertainment sports viewing via cable/satellite and buying tix to the home games, but we haggle with our wives about buying a $99 GBA SP for our kid.

    Comment by Tony -

  127. I didn’t read all of the posts, yet. But, one that mentioned soccer caught my attention. This may not be as much of the olympic downfall of USA Basketball as much as it is the downfall of the olympics itself.
    This is what I mean. The sports in which there could be a choice between professional and amateur competition, the olympics lose out. DId we send our best basketball team to Athens? Not by a mile. What about Olympic baseball? Oops! We didn’t even qualify! Same goes for Men’s soccer, where I believe we made it to the semifinals of the Sydney games. Only 2 exceptions I can think of to this rule in America, and both of them are on the women’s side…soccer and basketball. By the way, so many of you claim to care so much about fundamentals when the team you are following is losing. If you truly care about fundamentals, watch that womens’ basketball team. That is a team you can take pride in and they play the game the way it was meant to be played!
    This is also a trend worldwide. We are not the only soccer team missing from Athens. Brazil, France and many other world powers are missing because the olympics are just not as important worldwide as they used to be. (Remember when we used to get all those commercials leading up to the olympics? Dan & Dave come to mind. If it hadn’t been for the ads for the Opening Ceremonies, I might have forgotten the Olympics were even on this week.) We have to find a way to put the prestige back in the olympics if we want our best players to go. And that’s a problem the entire world is running into.

    Comment by Scott -

  128. Pride is gone and $$$ and NBA marketing has taken over. Send a NBA championship team, not a team half of children and half bad-decision making elders. (kudos only to T. Duncan who plays smart but can’t do it alone)

    Comment by Wes Wing -

  129. need chemistry? why not send the NBA crowned champions to the olympics? (of course they would need some incentives to go…because this the NBA where pride doesn’t count but $$$ does).

    Comment by Wes Wing -

  130. no true point guard to penetrate and distribute.
    no shooters.

    the international game is much different than a pickup game and the team should have been built for that style of play.

    Comment by Sean -

  131. …the rest of the world is playing basketball, and the US isn’t. We play “NBA-ll”, which can’t beat anyone in Olympic competition, especially when there is nothing at risk for the team. Be honest: is anyone going to boo their hometown star in November for losing games in August? Will anyone ask about it? Nope. Because, in the end, no one really cares. Regardless of the final placing, everyone’s rich, they have cushy jobs waiting for them, and there’s nothing at stake.

    But I’m sure the USOC has sold a ton of gear from this team, so they don’t care. Costas’ bomb at the end of last night’s broadcast was right on the mark. Someone should lose their job over this one.

    Comment by Darin K. -

  132. In soccer, if you get called up for international duty, you must go, your team MUST release you to play if you are not injured. Even if you claim you are injured, the national team can still look you over to make sure you’re not faking it.

    Maybe it’s time for an international basketball governing body, like FIFA in soccer, to make sure the same game is played the same all over the world and that players don’t just fake injury or decide they don’t want to play b/c of security concerns. Maybe this means that the NBA and NCAA should shift to the international style of play. It’s the standard everywhere else, why not in the NBA or NCAA?

    Along with this, maybe we should consider a full time national team coach. This way, the players get used to the coach and the coach has better time to prepare for tournaments like the WC or OLY.

    My two cents.

    Comment by Andy -

  133. I watched the game vs. germany last week and found something out.
    – the shooting% is horrible, so the lack of shooters obvious
    – it looks like they´ve never played a zone in training
    – they do not know how to play against a zone
    – the players seem to be slower and completly stunned when they are a few points behind
    – so don´t care, the US still has the best players to build up a team but it´s on USA Basketball to bring back the gold medal in 4 years with a better fittung team

    Greetings from germany

    Comment by Thomas -

  134. When players declined to play, instead of picking someone who can do something in particular that that position demands (rebound, shut down defense, outside shooting, interior banging, or GASP hustle) they chose the next guy on the list of top jersey sales. Not exactly the way to choose a team. You know who should have the final say so on invites? The coach. If you’re going to give a coach players, let him pick them. Then we can dump on the coach for his selections, not the marketing dept who simply goes by most merchandise moved.

    Comment by Scott Griffith -

  135. The lack of respect for the NBA was very evident where I was watching the game. Most of the crowed was actually rooting for Puerto Rico because they do not like cheering for a bunch of thugs.

    Comment by Scott -

  136. I simply cannot watch the NBA product anymore unless the Mavs are playing…and especially against the Kings. It no coincidence that there is a heavy foreign influence on both teams (at least there was!). I grew up watching the epic Laker/Celtic battles of the 1980’s, and all anyone needs to do to see what is wrong with TEAM USA is watch one of those games on ESPN Classic. I’d much rather watch a Conference USA college conference game over an NBA game in February – at least those kids play hard and can hit a jump shot.

    By the way Mark, Antoine Walker would fit in with TEAM USA very well….which should tell you something!

    Comment by James -

  137. Enough of this horrible basketball. Its like watching the Pistons or the Pacers. We need an offensive minded coach to come up with out of the box plays- DON NELSON. Make basketball fun to watch. Oh, stephon marbury over michael finley?????? thats whats wrong with team usa. a bunch of streetball players who cant play as a team or who have no concept of how to play ball with their minds.

    Comment by Ashwin -

  138. Bill Simmons addresses the faults of the team pretty well in this article.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/040804

    Also without a legitimate point guard (Stephon Marbury is not the solution and Wade is still young)and atleast one or two outside shooters, we are in trouble

    Comment by Frank Woods -

  139. “Call your favorite team and tell them you dont want your players participating in the Olympics. You want them getting ready for the next season.”
    The guy who posted that qoute was right.Mark got his wish.It is a shame that Mark hasn’t posted his own opinion of “whats wrong”!
    But don’t forget in the back of everyones mind there is a little fear of a potential terrorist attack.
    I am sure that factored into some players reasons for not going.
    I think it shows alot of balls and courage to go.The Olympics have always been a great source of pride for the US.
    and the rest of the world. I do not care for Iverson but at least he had the balls to show up.
    I think this team will turn it around so to answer your question “Whats wrong?’
    Wait till they look at the letters on their jerseys.Nothings wrong.Gold medal game will prove that .
    GO USA!!!!

    Comment by dan -

  140. Is it true that team USA was chosen mostly by the marketting
    wing of the NBA to highlight young stars (Boozer, Wade,
    Carmelo, LeBron)? And although these players may not
    specifically be the problem, the biggest omissions are
    people like Michael Redd, Michael Finley, heck, even
    Lucious Harris or Kerry Kittles or maybe even Steve Kerr.
    Guys that can shoot the three. Along with the above mentioned
    guys, they don’t have Brian Cardinal or Donald Foyle, you
    know, the ugly guys that mix it up.

    Consider USA vs Germany. Dirk gets 24 shots off vs
    Marbury shooting 8 times, Iverson 8, Carmelo 8.
    Which would you rather have? Dirk obviously!

    And since I mentioned Marbury, why is he on this team?
    Is he even to top 10 point guard?

    Comment by Robbie Barton -

  141. This has relatively little to do with the selection committee, relatively little to do with the “international game” versus the NBA game, and relatively little to do with officiating. It has almost everything to do with class, which is a function of how children are raised, and how they’re trained as athletes from early on.

    The bottom line is that you absolutely cannot take ghetto-trash thugs like Iverson and jackpot-winning children like LeBron James and expect them to play a team game unless someone is dangling another $40 Million in front of them. The ONLY thing these morons desire is more fancy wheels and more attention for themselves and their rap careers or whatever other sidelines they’re involved in.

    None of these classless worms is capable of even a moment’s sacrifice or hard work. Why bother anymore? They’ve arrived at the pinnacle, and now, they’re simply entitled to all the glory. I’ll bet you anything we’ll hear nothing but a stream of complaints from these guys that the Gold Medal wasn’t simply awarded to them without them even having to play. What a bunch of freakin’ losers.

    Comment by Jimmy Jag -

  142. It may not be the 92 dream team, but this team has plenty of fire power. Hopefully after this stunning blowout, the team can refocus on what they do best.

    They have but 2 options.
    1. Go back to the basics.
    2. Join the Jamaican Bobsledding Team.

    Comment by Michael McDaniel -

  143. Since most of the posters above have covered the themes of, poor selection of team, poor outside shooting, not enough practice, to many individual players and few team players, NBA star system of ref ing, I am going to look at what is working for rest of the world against the Nightmare team and how can the Mavs use it to get better.

    1. They are making a high percentage of their jump shoots, both 2’s and 3’s. Most of the Nightmare team can’t shoot 35% from 12 feet and out and depend on drives to the basket for dunks to get their percentage up to say 42%.

    2. The defense forces U.S. to take low percentage shots, a.k.a. jumpers by not running out a them and allowing them to drive.

    3. They pass the ball to the open man, unlike LeBaron “the next MJ” James and the other NBA super stars (in their and their possie’s minds) who go one on one, two or three to show their manhood.

    4. Though I have seen some really bad officating, the one thing I haven’t seen is the star system of volation calling that one would see in NBA, a.k.a. no more than 3 fouls on stars, AI never carries the ball when taking 4 steps and never dribbles that the stars have been so used to.

    How can the Mavs use this info to their advantage is the question.
    First, I think to some degree, that is what the Nelson’s have been trying to do the past few years, but they took a bit of a U turn last year with Walker. Up until last year we had been able to pass very well and hit a high percentage of jumpers and free throws, but though Walker was a scored he was more in the mold of AI and he’s band of high volume shooters with low %s. IF the Mavs are to be successful with this brand of attack we need to make sure we have at least 3 good shooters on the floor at all times.
    Second, Mavs need to stay in front of their man on the outside and force them to make the jumpers to beat them and not leave the likes of the few who can beat you out there to double team.
    Third, and this is the hardest one for Mark, get the NBA (Stern) to realize that he must get the refs to call a different brand of game. A game that highlights team play over star play. I have been watching the NBA since the Celtics were the kings of the world and yes Russell and the Jones got some star calls it wasn’t like today. Also it was the Celtics that won championships, not MJ or Shaq, but the team. That is why the Mavs pre Walker was so fun to watch, the were a team.
    Finally, team moves need to take into account effect on team chemistry. Having said that I understand that you can’t always get who you wnat and that contracts get in the way of doing what you might like to do, along with who wants to play were. I guess what I am saying is that on the better teams players need to fit into rolls and everyone can’t be the star and if a player can not except that then he is not of as much value to the Mavs as he could be.

    One final note, how much has this experience hurt LeBaron and his marketing team and will he and the rest of the team learn from this. that basketball it is a team game, or will they blow it off as if Brown would have played me more we would have won.

    Comment by Alan Miller -

  144. PS. how can you send the Pistons if they have international players on that team? Everybody thinks it’d be a great idea to send them over but that team is not made up of solely of Americans. And as you’ll recall, Ben Wallace turned down his invitation anyway.

    Comment by Rob -

  145. The problem is that the team is made up of guys who are best suited to playing one on one. The NBA game is based on that philosophy and that’s all these guys know. Too bad it’s not a dunk contest because we’d be juggernauts again. Although I bet they could make a sweet And-1 mixtape of all the alley-oop dunks that come when we are down by 25 points. I hope this shows Shaq, KG, Kobe, TMac, etc that we need them involved if we want to win again.

    Comment by Rob -

  146. It doesn’t make sense that folks are heaping scorn on the guys who are in Athens representing the U.S. They are what they are. They didn’t pick the team and they didn’t decline invitations to play like so many others.

    If you must blame someone, blame the selection committee or the terrific talents who declined invitations.

    Comment by Don Keydick -

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