Friday, September 01, 2006

There's Basketball Going On?

As demanded (in comments) by an angry Floridian (cue Jessop: is there another kind?), I am required to comment on the "embarassment" of USA Basketball losing to Greece. I scare quote "embarassment" because I don't think it is - we took a good team of most of our best players, who played hard and decently well together. We played a below-average (bad defense, 9-28 from 3pt, 20-34 from the line), but not abysmal game. We got beat. It happens, the 'better team' sometimes loses. Alternatively, sometimes, the better players don't make a better team, especially when you take into account:
[t]he fact of the matter is that the Greeks play with a continuity and intelligence that takes literally years for a team to develop, and that they had better fundamentals. And it was just proven, beyond any doubt, that you can’t put an all-star team together and make up for that difference, no matter how talented those all-stars are, in three or four weeks. You just can’t.
As great as the '92 Dream Team was, I'm glad that we can't just expect to roll over everyone anymore, it was like Gonzaga winning the West Coast Conference. Who cares? Call me when you show something at the next level.

And now we have the chance at redemption in two years, which is a far more satisfying theme than simply meeting the expectations of dominance. Am I happy we lost? Not really, but it's not embarassing or the end of basketball as we know it. Competition is good - now we have to actually compete. I say bring it on.

Alternatively, try this for a slightly scadenfreuden-laden take. (Warning, soccer reference at yonder link...)


Icepick said...

To be clear, I don't believe that I called it an embarassment. Mostly I'm annoyed with the commentators who insist on saying that we have better players with better skills.

Our players should have more athleticism, but if we can't shoot and can't defend the pick and roll, then we don't have better skills. Frankly, we deserve to get beat if our players aren't being asked (or forced) to develop fundamental skills, and if we don't bother to develop team play. THAT'S the part that pisses me off. If you want to win, prepare to win.

As for hating Al Gore, I've got my reasons.

Pooh said...

"Embarassment" was the majority of national commentators. The wrost was Jim Rome, who was all "it's not surprising or that bad, but it's still an embarassment." Wha?

Vw: nyfux, especially with Isiah as both coach and GM...