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Just The Sports: The Worst Idea

Just The Sports

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Worst Idea

The doomsday attitude some national sports writers are espousing in relation to the 2006 USA men's basketball team is a little confusing. The 2006 team is better constructed, has a better coaching philosophy, and is a far superior team overall than in 2004, which is not saying much but should lend a little more optimism to the USA basketball fan. Yet, writers like's Chris Mannix want to be negative instead of just admitting Jerry Colangelo and Coach Krzyzewksi have put a great product on the court.

But worse than the negativity of Mannix is what he wrote about in relation to roster stability and how the US could garner more of it. Now, roster stability is a very important part of basketball or any sport, but his idea is just stupid.

But the Brazilian team has been playing together for years, as have most of the other teams that will be playing in the World Championship. That's an advantage the U.S. can't match yet, unless it decides to send the NBA champions to international competitions. (Which is not the worst idea, by the way. But seeing as how Shaquille O'Neal would as soon picnic with Kobe Bryant than participate, that isn't going to happen.)

Yes, it is the worst idea for numerous reasons that are so obvious I really cannot believe anything still thinks sending the NBA championship is a viable option. One of the obvious responses to Mannix would be to point out that NBA teams rarely have the same roster for years themselves so there would be no way for the players are the championship teams to have played together for years either. In fact, the most recent NBA champion, the Miami Heat, completely overhauled their roster from 2005 to 2006, had a roster stability of .49, the equivalent of losing two and a half position players from one year to the next. So much for playing together for years.

Another reason why it would be ridiculous to ask the NBA champion to represent the country in an international event is because of the bench drop-off. Having a productive bench is extremely important in any game, but especially in a situation where every country has put together the very best roster that the situation will allow and NBA teams do not have great benches. Now, I pose this simple question. Who would you rather see coming off the bench for the USA when playing other nations' basketball teams: Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, and James Posey or Dwight Howard, Kirk Hinrich, and Joe Johnson?

Let's not even talk about the age factor at work.

The most important reason behind why this idea is who plays for these NBA teams. If Jerry Colangelo considered Chris Mannix to be a valued advisor and decreed the NBA champion would go on to the Olympics to play, what happens when the San Antonio Spurs win? You probably already see where I'm going for this, but allow me to complete the thought. If there were such an occurrence, the team would be crippled by the losses of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili (also Beno Udrih and Fabricio Oberto would be unavailable) and would therefore be an inferior team. Then USA basketball would end up having to select players anyway so of course it is best to simply hand pick players from the various teams.

So there are many more reasons why it should not happen than there are for why it could not happen.


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