Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dream Team? This Is It

The 2007 USA Basketball team has started Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard in each game. This starting lineup is the modern day dream team.

Point Guard:
In international play, it is important to have a point guard who can distribute the ball to his teammates and penetrate well. Defensively, someone who can stop the opposing teams point guard is needed. Jason Kidd is best at all of these skills. Although perimeter shooting is his biggest weakness, on a team with the players around him that he has, this is a skill that is not needed from the point guard.

Shooting Guard:
Ideally, the player at the shooting guard spot can score at will from anywhere on the court. He would be able to shutdown the opponent's best wing player. Kobe Bryant certianly fits this bill. Nobody in the league is as good of a one-on-one offensive and defensive player.

Small Forward:
The small forward should be a versatile player, who can finish well at the basket and excels in the transition game. The ideal small forward is an exceptional passer and has range on his shot. Defensively, a player at this spot can get into the passing lanes and create offense from the defensive end. A player with long arms and a strong upper body is best to succeed on defense. LeBron James definitely is the type of player to play the small forward position on a dream team.

Power Forward:
In international play especially, it is important to have someone who can play in transition and defend strong post players. The ability to score from anywhere on the floor is also very important. Although Carmelo Anthony may not be a prototypical power forward, he does fit the bill very well. He does not have the bulk that some power forwards may have, but still is tall enough and has a large wingspan to defend most power forwards. His ability to handle the ball well and score from any spot on the court makes Anthony a perfect fit. Anthony's ability to run up-and-down the floor makes him a perfect fit for this team. A more conventional power forward like Elton Brand or Tim Duncan would slow down this group.

The center for the best team is someone who can defend the other team's best post player and can block shots. Defensive rebounding and the ability to finish at the basket are two very important abilities the center for this team needs to have. Dwight Howard excels at following-up missed shots and blocking an opponent's shot. Howard does not have a vast array of post moves, but certainly can score in a variety of ways. He can get down the court quicker than any other big man in the world and is one of the strongest players in the NBA.

With a dream team starting lineup, there is no reason to think that the U.S.A. will lose a game in the FIBA Americas Championships. If they are fortunate enough to bring back the same core from the starting five, the U.S.A. will win the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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