Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:57 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:01 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
A recent report indicated that USA Basketball is set to announce its preliminary roster for the 2012 London Olympics. The roster reportedly will include members of the 2008 Beijing Olympics team and the 2010 Turkey World Championships team.
Initially, the report indicated that the preliminary roster would be made up of 18 players, however SheridanHoops.com reports that the roster is now 19 players deep with the addition of Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Here's how the reported roster shakes out by position.
Point Guards: Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams
Shooting Guards: Kobe Bryant, Eric Gordon, Dwyane Wade
Small Forwards: Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Lamar Odom
Power Forwards: LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love
Centers: Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard
A few interesting things to note from this roster.
First, veteran point guard Billups is included rather than the younger and more talented Rajon Rondo, who withdrew from the 2010 team after it became clear he was going to be left off of the final roster. Billups is 35 and figures to be one of the seven players cut from what will be the final 12-man roster. What does Rondo's exclusion mean for his Team USA future?
Second, positional versatility and two-way play was clearly valued in this selection process. The inclusion of both Iguodala and Odom over Rudy Gay is a mild surprise but both players complement the likes of James, Durant and Anthony a bit better. Both will also have a tough time squeezing into the final 12. The only way Iguodala gets there is if someone else is injured; Odom, a standout for the 2010 team, could be one of the toughest cuts.
Third, the reported addition of Aldridge creates an intriguing frontcourt logjam, akin to the dilemma that faces Western Conference All-Star team voters. Aldridge, Griffin, Love, Odom and Chandler figure to be in competition for the final two roster spots, with the top-10 seemingly secure. Griffin would seem to be the odds-on favorite for one of those two spots given his combination of on-court skills and immense international marketing potential. If so, the battle for the final spot between the other four talented big men will be heated.
Aldridge can swing between the four and five better than any of the other candidates, but he also has the least Team USA experience, having backed out on the 2010 World Championships team. Aldridge's coach with the Blazers, Nate McMillan, happens to be a Team USA assistant, so that could help.
Love is the best rebounder of the group but his athleticism, even though it's much improved, is not on the same level as the rest of Team USA. Chandler boasts a championship pedigree with the Dallas Mavericks and is the pure defender and long, active big men that could be the centerpiece of an aggressive defensive unit. Odom's versatility and perimeter game creates mismatch opportunities but the wings are likely too crowded on this team to properly utilize his capabilities.
Spain, the reigning European champs, bring both Pau and Marc Gasol to the table. Howard plus any of Team USA's starting power forwards should still have an interior advantage, but choosing the reserve big men will be critical in the event of foul trouble.
Posted on: January 7, 2012 1:54 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:33 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
With the 2012 London Olympics just seven months away, Team USA is reportedly heading for its first round of roster cuts.
ESPN.com reports that USA Basketball Director Jerry Colangelo will announce a roster of 18 "candidates" to make the 2012 team in less than two weeks.
"We have so much talent right now, the pool is extraordinary," Colangelo said.The site reports that the only player not on either the 2008 Beijing Olympics team or the 2010 Turkey World Championships team who is under consideration is Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Given his starpower, Griffin seems a lock, leaving 17 spots in the pool.
Eight of those are expected to go to 2008 Beijing Gold Medal-winning players: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams. All seem solid locks.
That least nine spots for members of the 2010 World Championship team. Six players who would seem to be locks from that roster: Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
That leaves three final spots in the 18-man pool contenders for the rest: Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Brook Lopez, Lamar Odom and Rajon Rondo.
The toughest decision at this stage will likely come in choosing a third true center in Lopez or another talented perimeter player in Granger, Iguodala or Odom. USA Basketball has been built on versatility and athleticism in the recent past but its wings are crowded with an embarrassment of riches. Love and/or Griffin could swing up from power forward to center, though, which could free up a spot for another wing in the 18-man group.
Another question is Rondo. He withdrew from selection from the 2010 team after it became clear he wasn't going to make the cut. Given the big names in front of him (Paul, Rose, Williams and likely Westbrook), what happens here? Paul and Williams both have recent injury concerns and Rondo's talent level is such that leaving him off this early would seem a risk not worth taking.
No matter how you slice it and regardless of who is left on the outside looking in, this team is stacked. Looking ahead, assuming full health from all involved, an 18-player pool and a final 12-man roster could look something like this. Cuts designated in parentheses.
PG: Paul, Rose, Williams, (Westbrook), (Rondo)
SG: Bryant, Wade, (Gordon)
SF: James, Durant, Anthony, (Gay)
PF: Bosh, Griffin, (Love)
C: Howard, Chandler, (Lopez)
Posted on: January 6, 2012 12:56 pm
By Matt Moore
This was all too predictable. Stars these days never let the razzle dazzle hang around. Unless they're the Heat. And then they're hated.
When Blake Griffin was recorded saying "Lob City!" when he found out the Clippers had acquired Chris Paul, he had no idea what it would create. It's an easy, catchy phrase with a little bit of... pardon the phrase, swag, and that's going to catch fire. And it did. And now he hates it. And Paul does, too.
From ESPN L.A. :
"It's unfortunate," Griffin said. "It's one of those things where we understand it, but that's not what we're about. Before the game we're not going out thinking, 'All right, its Lob City tonight.' We're just trying to win games and trying to get better."via Clippers are triple towers, not 'Lob City' - ESPN Los Angeles.
The Clippers may not want it, but the fans need it. Basketball junkies, and even more so Laker fans, will hate the cliche need for a nickname for a team. But teams with identities transcen culture, provided they are actually great. Showtime, the Bad Boys ( and to an incredibly leser extent, Seven Seconds or Less), these teams attain a higher leve of notoriety based on that nickname identity.
It's understandable that Paul will want to move away from that. Every time the Clippers struggle on defense, it's somehow attributed to a false desire on the Clippers' part to just put up highlights. This team wants to win. But that nickname is cool, the identity is fun, and it puts them on another level. The Clippers can run Lob City while also playing smart on both sides of the ball and winning championships.
The nickname isn't what's standing in their way. Their play is.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 11:12 am
By Matt Moore
Dwyane Wade has told FoxSportsFlorida.com that 2012 will be his last appearance for Team USA.
"This is my last run," Wade, 29, said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida. "No chance (Wade will return for another Olympics). No chance at all. Not a chance."via 2012 to be Dwyane Wade's last Olympics.
Wade cites a desire to let other young players have their chance at a medal during their careers as his primary reason. Wade won a bronze medal in 2004 and a gold medal in 2008's Beijing Olympics alongside now-fellow Heat members LeBron James and Chris Bosh. It was their insistence, along with that of Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, notoriously close friends of Wade and James, that pushed Wade to come back for another season.
The lockout-affected season means that the NBA Finals will end as late as June 26th, and the Olympics begin July 27th, with Team USA training camp starting a few weeks ealier. Should the Heat's season go according to their plans, or at least as well as last year, Wade wouldn't have much time to rest his body, which is known to have injury issues. But Wade says the "unity' is what makes the experience special and will bring him back.
Team USA should be just as stacked this time around. With the Miami Big 3, Anthony, Paul, and Kobe Bryant expected to return, along with Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose, that's an absurd amount of talent right there. Competition could be as stiff this time around as it was in 2008, but expect Blake Griffin to have a good shot at making the team. Factoring in the kind of role players that usually make the team to give specific abilities (Tyson Chander's defense for example), and the 18-20 player list expected to be announced in January according to Jerry Colangelo, head of Team USA, (via FoxSportsFlorida.com) could make for some serious ego management in the roster decisions.
But having that much talent is never a problem, and Wade will be part of that pleasant conundrum.
Posted on: December 23, 2011 10:58 am
Posted by Royce Young
Matt Barnes doesn't get along with a lot of people. It's kind of been his thing in the NBA during his eight NBA seasons. He's an enforcer, a goon, a tough-guy -- whatever you want to call him. He tells it like it is and then takes that act on to the court. Remember, he punched a guy in a pro-am game this summer.
In the Lakers second preseason game he gave Blake Griffin a nice little shove for apparently no reason and did his fair share of talking. Why? Because he's not a fan of Lob City. Via ESPN LA:
"They have a lot of reason to be excited, but all the celebration after dunks and all that kind of stuff, I mean, I just kind of think it looks amazing and it makes 'SportsCenter,' but I mean, let's just play basketball ... They act like they won the dunk contest after every dunk," Barnes said. "So, as players, people aren't going to tolerate that."
I think Barnes has things confused. They don't act like they won a dunk contest, it just looks like it because Lob City's dunks are kind of ridiculous. He probably just forgot what all that looks like playing for the Lakers where the guy with the most hops on the roster is probably some D-Leaguer that's getting waived this week.
Pau Gasol was frustrated with the Clippers as well and you're going to love his reason why.
"I think we were upset that they were flopping a little too much," he said.
That's right. Pau Gasol was unhappy with someone flopping. It really is a new Los Angeles. Barnes took the baton and added onto that, specifically about Griffin.
"He's an amazing athlete and an amazing player but he does flop a lot," Barnes said. "You're too big and too strong to be doing that. Then he wants to talk.
"... He's a special athlete. Probably one of the best athletes I've ever seen, but all the flopping is unnecessary. That's the way he plays and it works too, they call it, so you can't be mad at him for it ... I looked at [the replay] and yeah, my arms did get extended but [Griffin] flailed everywhere like I threw him to half-court."
Here's the thing: Barnes is right. Blake Griffin has a horrible habit of exaggerating fouls. If he gets a small pop in the nose, he whips his head back like he just got drilled by Manny Pacquiao. If he gets pushed, he throws his arms out like he's belly-flopping. I mean, remember this? It made Andre Miller look like Brian Urlacher.
Thing is, Griffin has been told his whole life by his parents, coaches, friends and whoever else that everyone on the court is out to get him. He's been told that they're playing intentionally rough with him, that the refs aren't being fair because he's bigger and stronger. So it's just something he thinks. Hence the exaggerating. It's annoying, but it's just how it is.
The moral of the story is, the Lakers aren't really digging this whole Lob City thing. They've tried to be nice about it, but after all the woofing they likely heard over two preseason wins, they're sick of it. They're the team with the banners in Staples, not the Clips.
And just so you know, the next meeting between the two teams is Jan. 14. Expect some fireworks.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:26 am
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:46 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
It's good to see that the lockout changed absolutely nothing about the NBA. Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes? Same person. Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin? Same person. Put the two together and it's a recipe for a royal rumble, even in a preseason game.
Barnes has carved a niche for himself as a hard-fouling, take-no-mess, massive-chip-on-the-shoulder psuedo-enforcer who isn't afraid to muddy up a game with his antics. Griffin is the NBA's poster boy for posterizing, a marketing jewel who flies above the rim with ease.
The two men came head-to-head during a Wednesday night preseaon game in Staples Center, when Barnes opted to shove Griffin to the ground, using both hands, for no apparent reason. He was immediately issued a flagrant foul one for his action and veteran official Bill Kennedy stepped in to ensure that Griffin would not retaliate.
A minor skirmish erupted as a bemused Griffin walked down to the other end of the court, and play resumed without any additional incident.
Here's the video of Matt Barnes' flagrant foul one on Blake Griffin.
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:17 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 10:18 am
By Matt Moore
The new and improved version of the Clippers took the floor Monday night for the first time in a preseason game against the Lakers. The results were impressive. The Clippers ran the Lakers' starters (who definitely looked like a team with new parts trying to integrate a new system) out of the building, and in doing so, showed off why they may break our Dunk-O-Meter this season.
The best dunk of the night wasn't actually a lob. It was just DeAndre Jordan going into Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum's house and taking their lunches, then eating it in front of them.
But if you want lobs? They've got lobs. CP3 wasn't even involved on this one.
But hey, not like CP3 wasn't involved at all.
It was preseason. It was one game. It means nothing. But you can already tell that if the Clippers stay healthy (which is a big if for this franchise), they're going to be one of the most exciting teams in the league.
Welcome to Lob City. Please enjoy your stay.
Posted on: December 15, 2011 1:05 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:18 pm
Posted by Royce Young
A camera was with the Clippers as the team rode around on a bus with season-ticket holders and happened to catch a few players finding out about the Chris Paul trade in real time. Pretty amazing.
Blake Griffin's reaction says it all. "Lob city!!!" as he jumps excitedly into Jordan. Because that's what we're all saying. Lob. City. Lobster City. That's what I'm calling Los Angeles from now on.
But it is a bit sad to watch as Jordan has to keep asking, "Who'd we give up?" especially considering those players were on that bus tour thing with them. Aw-kward.
Via FS West