Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Next Team

With the Redeem Team winning gold this past weekend, the harsh reality of no meaningful basketball being played over the next couple months sets in. So let's take a look at which players might compose the next USA basketball team at the World Championships in Turkey in 2010 and at the London Olympics in 2012.

Remember, this is all theoretical guesswork...


  • Jason Kidd - Definitely out, as his age showed.

  • Kobe Bryant - Now in his 30s, it does not make sense for Kobe to wear himself out during summers.

  • Carlos Boozer - An NBA All-Star who does not seem to fit in well in the international game, a la Tim Duncan

  • Tayshaun Prince - An invaluable defender and rebounder who did the little things, but will the team bring back an aging veteran at that point?

  • Dwyane Wade - This is the most important question mark. Wade was the unexpected star of these Olympics, a key cog off the bench that was constantly attacking the basket, drawing fouls, and anticipating passes and making steals on defense. Wade would be the perfect replacement for Kobe's shooting guard spot, but health concerns may drive him off the team.

Stays in:

  • Michael Redd - FIBA is moving the three point line farther back after these Olympics, so USA will need a sharpshooter to combat zone defenses. Plus, Redd's professionalism and likability is well known.

  • Carmelo Anthony - The most versatile player of the USA team loves the international game as he can shoot, handle, post up, and bang on the inside. Carmelo has already stated that he wants to return.

  • Lebron James - The face of the NBA will have the opportunity to become the leader of USA hoops and cement his status as the best player in the world by then.

  • Chris Bosh - Unexpectedly became the team's best interior big man, running the floor and making many quick plays.

  • Chris Paul - Showed off his quickness and speed throughout the Olympics, and will only get better as he gets accustomed to the international game and splitting those zones. Paul was closed out the final games on the floor, so there is no doubt that he will be the starting point guard with Kidd gone.

  • Deron Williams - A strong point guard that had some great showings in the exhibitions, and will be a good compliment to Paul.

  • Dwight Howard - Will forever be a beast that no one in the world can defend. The zone defenses tend to limit him offensively, but he is perfect to take up space on the lane and block some shots on defense. Off penetration and a dish, there is no one more intimidating that can finish stronger. Howard has already said he wants to return.

Coming in:

  • Kevin Durant - The only sure fire lock to make the next USA team happens to the rookie of the year. Durant will fit in perfectly in the international game because of his length and versatility. His problem of not being strong enough in the NBA is less of an issue internationally as most players defending him will be around the same size, but he will be more athletic than them.

  • Rodney Stuckey - Impressed during the Vegas exhibitions and has the mentality that a young USA team will need.

  • LaMarcus Aldridge - Versatile big man who can step out and shoot, but, like Boozer, is a question mark when it comes to adjusting to international play.

  • Derrick Rose / Russell Westbrook / Jerryd Bayless - The team is set with Paul and Williams as its point guards, but may choose to bring along a third if one of these develops well enough.

  • Tyson Chandler / Greg Oden - You know Chris Paul was looking to lob it up to Chandler every time he penetrated. Oden would provide the team with more size, not to mention a markatable character that would make the team so much more fun and likable.

So there we have it. The next "insert rhyme word here-eem" Team will have a starting lineup of something like Paul, Durant, Lebron, Melo, and Howard. The bench will hold over Williams, Redd, Bosh, and bring on the rest of the newcomers.

Is this better than the Redeem Team? Can this team survive the other improving teams? Guess we will find out in a couple years...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Phelps' Diet

Seeing as everyone is talking about Micheal Phelps, half-man half-dolphin, take a look at what his 12,000 calorie diet is like this summer.

Phelps lends a new spin to the phrase "Breakfast of Champions" by starting off his day by eating three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise.

He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.

At lunch, Phelps gobbles up a pound of enriched pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches slathered with mayo on white bread - capping off the meal by chugging about 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

For dinner, Phelps really loads up on the carbs - what he needs to give him plenty of energy for his five-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week regimen - with a pound of pasta and an entire pizza.

He washes all that down with another 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Thank you, John

I am going to start a running feature I have really wanted to for a while, entitled "Thank you, John" in which we highlight one of John Madden's comments that are sure to make Al Michael's eyes roll.

Considering he is a hall of fame player and coach, has an enormously popular video game named after him,and gets to call the NFL's best games as color commentator, Madden often has analysis that is so ridiculous that is is actually hilarious:

Al Micheals, talking about Peyton Manning's injury and his absence at training camp:

Al: John, big deal or little deal?

John: Al, I am going to say big deal. Peyton Manning is the Indianapolis Colts. With Manning, the Colts can be the best team in the NFL. But without him, they are not.

Thank you, John.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce is getting a lot of attention after declaring himself 'the best player in the world.'

  • First of all, Pierce was asked if Kobe Bryant was the best player. It is not like he randomly went out and starting saying this. He was asked. Now, seeing as he had beaten Kobe in the NBA Finals a few weeks ago, how can you expect Paul Pierce to say anything otherwise?

  • Pierce may not even be the best player on his team. Kevin Garnett was the regular season MVP candidate who is credited with changing the culture in Boston, bringing about an intensity level and emphasis on defense that were the primary reasons for the Celtics championship run.

  • To be the man, you have to beat the man. Let us say there is a consensus that Kobe Bryant is the best player in the world. Pierce guarded Kobe well enough on the defensive end, then scored on him enough offensively, to be named Finals MVP. If Kobe is indeed the best player in the world, and Paul Pierce just beat him in four of six games, what does that make Paul Pierce?

  • If I were Paul Pierce, I would be thinking: I just beat the best player in the world on both ends of the floor on the highest stage the NBA has to offer. That has to make me the best player then. Of course, thinking it privately and stating it publicy are two very different things.

  • Pierce was not even considered to be on the USA basketball team, which is led by Kobe and currently training in China for the upcoming Olympics next week. This can only give Kobe more motivation, not that he needs it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Oh Mike, you so funny

Mike Holmgren has earned a lot of recognition in his many years as a football coach. But I bet nothing beats earning a running feature from me. So in honor of Mike Holmgren's final season as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks...

Seattle P-I's Clare Farnsworth:

Leonard Weaver. A year ago, the talented fullback was in the process of playing his way off the roster.

This morning, he was singing a different tune – literally. It was "Happy Days."
It was enough to earn Weaver a little mid-practice visit from Holmgren.

"I was back there singing a gospel song and he was like, 'Leonard, stop it. I don't want to feel good right now, I'm trying to be mean,' " Weaver said.

The edict elicited a round of laughter from the players standing near Weaver – and rookie running back Justin Forsett, who actually started the song that got Weaver going.

Explained Holmgren: "I go to church and I love to hear hymns. Out here, as I told him, 'I'm in a bad mood. I don't want to be in a good mood.' "