Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can "The Redeem Team" bring back "The Dream Team" basketball glory?

As every NBA basketball fan knows, a whole lot is riding on Team USA in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, especially after the former basketball powerhouse that was the United States finished a dismal 6th place in the 2002 FIBA World Championship AND could only manage a bronze medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Still, on paper, this crop of NBA Olympians certainly does look promising. Not as promising as the original 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics NBA Dream Team, definitely, but still worthy of comparison.

The good news this time around, though, is that USA Basketball finally learned from their miserable mistakes and followed the rest of the world's game: field more shooters as opposed to their old practice of putting in more slashers and drivers.



Okay, so Michael Redd is the only "pure" shooter in the team, but at least with guys like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant around, you get a good mix of guys who're comfortable with shooting from either the perimeter or the paint. And with Dwyane Wade playing the sixth man (and that's the kind of sixth man any team would want) and Jason Kidd orchestrating the offense along with Chris Paul, the Redeem Team just might pull everything off and win the gold.



But the question is; when it's clutch time and the team needs a go-to-guy they can depend on to sink the ball in the hole, who will the Dream Team look to to finish the job? LeBron? I don't think so. As much as I love LeBron, he doesn't have the hot hands needed for clutch shots. So that only leaves Kobe, who not only has the experience taking such shots, he can probably even do it with his eyes closed and with one arm tied behind his back. And besides, he HAS to be hungry for gold - ANY gold - since he lucked out on this year's NBA championship.

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