Wednesday, September 05, 2007

You Can't Spell USA without Melo

Snappin you amateur MC's
Don't you know I'm like the Dream Team tourin overseas,
For rappers in my circle I'm a deadly disease
Ringmaster, bringin a tiger cub to his knees...

The USA suddenly reverted to the old Dream Team days the past two weeks in Vegas, crushing the America’s “best” and apparently crushing champagne on their way to qualifying for the 2008 Olympics.

First, the down news. There was hardly any competition in the tourney, as our grouping (much like soccer…err…futbol) doesn’t contain many top squads. Argentina sent their B Squad as Floppy and the Gang spent their summer in Buenos Aries watching Evita.

Brazil was lead by a chubby and ineffective Nene, who if Nuggets management was watching should summon the big man to Denver immediately. He looked out of shape and out of sync nearly the entire tourney. A month with Steve Hess and some work with the staff should have him ready by camp.

Even Mexico was without their two best players, Eduardo Najera and former Nugget Earl Watson. Yes, Earl Watson can play for the Mexican team, just believe me. Steve Nash hasn’t played for the Hockey Mullets in a bit, as his presence would’ve presented a good test for the US guards. So basically, the NBA all-stars were playing against teams that most top 50 NCAA teams could beat.

Don’t expect the comp in Bejing to be like this, the Euros and their precision team play could again confound Coach K and his team. They could also choose to send the US to the line with some expert hacking, where they again struggled in the Vegas. They also look a lot more scrubby and dirty than the well-groomed North and South Americans.

The crowds weren’t exactly anti-US either, which they would’ve been if the original site of Venezuela was kept in place. Hugo Chavez probably would’ve personally dug trap holes on the court.

The good news. The US handled a Puerto Rican team that had schooled the US in the 2004 Athens games, where the Larry Brown team looked lost. This time around, hero Carlos Arroyo played like, well, Carlos Arroyo as the US just ate him up.

Coach K seems to have a cohesive group that is starting to know eachother’s game. At any time the core of this group can switch from a scorer to a defensive stopper to a assist machine. One Kobe Bean Bryant thrived in this role. He wasn’t asked to score a ton, but Laker fans were shocked when he was dishing out dimes like Magic. Most impressive was his lock down defense on the opponent, most notably Brazil’s Leandro Barbosa.

LeBron was almost unconscious from the floor, as he too dished the rock when needed. Dwight Howard, we are seeing him become a force in these games right before our eyes. Jason Kidd took hardly a single shot, but his and Chauncey Billup’s leadership proved invaluable. And for all the whining about Michael Redd saving US Basketball, it might be right. The Milwaukee player was on point from beyond the arc the entire tourney.

Finally, our hero is our man Melo. He takes some here at the SG, but dude was like a freaking video game out there. He could score from the wing, taking it to the rack, even from behind the line. He crashed the boards and shared the rock. Even Kobe seemed to defer to Melo throughout the tourney. Why he wasn’t the MVP is a strange story (Luis Scola?) Maybe Melo needs some Phil Jackson visualization to imagine the Spurs as the Argentine team.

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Blogger Hallux Valgus said...

Carlos Arroyo was my favorite player from the 2002 Nuggets team. Since the team was terrible, I got a ton of free tickets, and me and my buddy El Jefe used to go and root for Carlos to throw himself all over the floor when we were down by 20 in the 4th quarter. Dude was like Ryan Bowen on crack.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Zilla Rocca said...

It's good to see someone giving a crap about the USA Team. It's amazing with a well put together core of players led by a focused coach can do versus random superstars with a whiny old battle ax at the helm.

I hope they keep Michael Redd around for next year. I still don't understand why Chauncey Billups is on the squad--he not a great playmaker and his defense has been average recently. But put him next to Kobe or Lebron and his weaknesses aren't exposed.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous boulder creek tailgater said...

oh man, zilla, you wont find much anti-Chauncey people round here (Colorado alum, NE Denver native). I did notice that his game seemed to slip a bit in the Conf Finals. We still love him though, does ALOT in the community.

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