Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Windhorst on Team USA's Unselfish Play

He says that Team USA's unselfish style is a product Wade and LeBron's leadership.

The ownership of this edition of the Dream Team quickly ended up in the hands of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The overall attitude is really a product of James and Wade, who have founded an unselfish style that is shocking the international basketball world that long ago tagged American stars as snobbish and self-centered.

It was Wade, owner of an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy and a forthcoming ring, who openly volunteered to come off the bench. It is a move that has proved to be brilliant; his entrance when the opposition is huffing and puffing almost always leads to a swing in the score.

He also wonders how this team would've (and will) work out with Kobe Bryant.

There is no doubt Bryant is one of the best players in the world. He owns three NBA titles and is coming off one of the most prolific scoring seasons in league history. His ability is unquestioned.

Were Bryant on Team USA, however, he probably would have been named a captain, if not the only captain, as one of the oldest and most experienced players. The team wouldn't necessarily have belonged to the three guns from the class of 2003, and the theme, as Bryant's game often suggests, might not have been to share before all else.

I recently expressed similar concerns, not just about Bryant, but about most of the stars not participating in the World Championships:
I really don't want Kobe on this team in '08. I also don't want Chauncey Billups or Paul Pierce. This team is like a new (next) generation of players. This team is Wade, LeBron and Melo's team. This is their generation. Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kirk Hinrich and Chris Bosh were all from the same draft class (2003). Dwight Howard was from the following year and Chris Paul the year after that (2004 and 2005). And the older players on this team, Elton Brand (1999), Brad Miller (1998), Joe Johnson, Shane Battier (both 2001) and Antawan Jamison (1998)? These are the under appreciated players from the previous generation of stars; these guys are just now getting their due. But Kobe (1996), Chauncey Billups (1997) and Paul Pierce (1998) have already gotten their time in the spot light (Billups not as much, but he did get mad love after the championship). They're established stars, they are from the generation who passed up these international competetions. I don't want to see this team gel together and win a gold, only to have it's chemistry screwed up by adding Pierce, Bryant and Billups in 2008. I feel like the under appreciated older players and the newer, younger supstars work really well together. I'm not sure how the older superstars (Pierce and Kobe) will work out with the younger ones (James and Wade). And honestly? I don't want to see them play; I've seen them play, I want to see the young guys now (and guys like Brand and Johnson, who never get to be on TV due to their teams).

Personally, I'd like the Olympic roster to be as close as possible to the current roster. This team is growing and playing the right way; I like it and I don't want to see changes in 2 years.

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