Yes yes, I know this is a Warriors site, but you have to get excited about this year's USA team. 2 years ago the USA team got blown out by the Puerto Rican team, 92-73 as part of a disappointing showing at the 2004 Olympics. There were stars on that USA team, but for some reason or another, they didn't gel and wound up not even garnering just a bronze medal.
This year's team is clearly different. Coach K has replaced Larry Brown and an All-Star roster has been replaced with role players mixed in with stars to create a better balanced team to face international competition. But the biggest difference between this team and the team of 2 years ago is the fact that LBJ, DWade, and Melo are 2 years older and wiser. 2 years ago, none of them would have been considered as top 5 or top 10 players. This year there's no doubt that DWade and LBJ are 2 of the top 5 basketball players in the world. So what does this all mean? Basically, look out world because the Americans are looking for revenge.
Yesterday in Vegas, there was an exhibition game held against the same Puerto Rican team. The result was a little different, in fact it was very Dream Team-like (By the way, there was and will only be 1 Dream Team). It was a 45 point win that showed the Americans are back and highlighted by thunderous dunks, fancy passes, and excellent defense. Yup, defense. Lockdown, get in the passing lanes, slap-the-floor defense.
Just add an "ed" to the end of that guy's headband. (Photo: nba.com)
The game did start out to be what looked like a repeat of the 2004 game as Puetro Rico pulled ahead early.
But, then the Americans started to play...
So now I'm officially excited about watching this year's team play. They have two more exhibition games in Asia before heading over for the real games which tip off in Japan. LeBron and Wade on the same team? Chris Paul, Gilbert Arenas, Elton Brand, Antawn Jamison are like whoa! Hinrich, Bowen, Battier? Well someone is supposed to carry the bags right? Just kidding, hopefully the people running Team USA know what they're doing and bringing in these role players and "character guys." This August should be fun and hopefully the USA can restore it's dominance in international hoops.
As you know, China is in the World Championship competition. They'll be playing an exhibition game against the USA soon. Yi Jianlin is penciled in as a starter, so we'll get our first look at the soon to be newest Warriors. The Yi Movement continues...
Also if you didn't see the game, you might vaguely remember these two guys:
Hey didn't you used to wear #33 for the Warriors? (Photo: nba.com)
Wait a second, another former Warrior? (Photo: nba.com)
Do you care about the American team? How do you think they'll do this year?