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More Thoughts On The Olympic Team

One of the arguments you could make against the Olympic team is size.  Yet that may not be as big an issue as it might seem, and in fact, following that line of thinking might have proven to be very detrimental.

In international ball, unlike the NBA, you don't really see a lot of big men chained to the lane.  Once you get past that reality, the emphasis more on agility and being able to guard someone on the perimeter and switch to cut off penetration.  Let's see who on this team can't do that:  Dwight Howard?  Should be about it.

Just about everyone else is, in the immortal words of Clif Ellis, agile, hostile, and mobile. When you look at the potential defense, and first you have to get past Kobe Bryant, and behind him is Tayshaun Prince, and then you have, say, Chris Bosh moving over.

If you can use pressure to significantly diminish the three point shooting, and also guard penetration, then you've significantly changed the equation.

Assuming all this works accordingly, then where are shots missed and where do the rebounds end up?

Dwight Howard 15.80
Carlos Boozer 12.3
Carmelo Anthony 9.5
Chris Bosh 9.0
LeBron James 7.8
Jason Kidd 6.4
Kobe Bryant 5.7
Tayshaun Prince 5.5
Chris Paul 4.9
Michael Redd 4.3
Dwyane Wade 4.2
Deron Williams. 3.6

If you miss a lot of three pointers, the rebounds will almost certainly be long.  When you have a team full of agile, quick guys, those sorts of rebounds are definitely gettable.

Our guess is that the defensive end will prove to be a considerable American advantage, but you still have to score, and there's no doubt that the U.S. will get zoned a lot.  Michael Redd and some others will challenge it, but in past competitions, the U.S. has lost partly because they've traded threes for twos.

Again, having watched Krzyzewski-coached teams go on great runs after some intense defensive stands, it's easy to see the potential for this team to do that.  But they'll still end up, at some point, having to break down zones and win games, or at least crucial stretches of games, in the half court.

The NBA routine of pounding the ball into the center, or driving and chucking something up, has long since been exposed as a failure in this environment. The U.S. will have to find ways to cope with zones and the ensuing frustrations that have cursed them in recent years.

This is where Jim Boeheim gets to step up. He's a master of the zone, of course, having relied on it for years.  The flipside of that, of course, is that he knows the weaknesses of zone defenses and knows precisely how to break them down.

That's our hope, anyway.