Team USA makes its final cut (or not), faces Greece next

By: 08.25.10  •  43 Comments

Rajon Rondo and Coach K (USA Basketball)

There’s a good chance we won’t know what really happened between Rajon Rondo and the USA Basketball decision-makers until during the NBA season; the next time Rondo goes head-to-head with Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Chauncey Billups or Stephen Curry. Soon after Rondo talked to reporters as if he thought he might be cut from the World Championship roster, it was announced that Rondo pulled himself out of consideration due to the always-mysterious “family matters.” … Before the Spain game, everything seemed cool. Rondo was the starting PG against France and Lithuania, but then caught a DNP-CD against Spain. Coach K said it was more to showcase the guys who needed to prove themselves, but Rondo didn’t sound like he took it that way; maybe his struggles against Lithuania caused him to suddenly fall into the “borderline” crowd. But if Team USA is going to anchor itself in backcourt defense, speed and athleticism, why would you get rid of the reigning NBA steals leader, a freak athlete and one of the fastest players in the world with the ball in his hands? … So if Rondo goes out against Chicago, OKC, Denver or Golden State trying to drop quadruple-doubles with a stink-face on the whole game, we’ll know what’s up. Remember when Gilbert Arenas promised to drop 50’s on the Blazers and Suns because USA assistants Nate McMillan and Mike D’Antoni had to pay for Coach K’s decisions? … Now that the roster is finalized, today’s game between Team USA and Greece (12 p.m. EST) becomes a different kind of proving ground. Keep your browser on during the game, where we’ll be keeping track via live-blog and kicking off our World Championship preview coverage … Yao Ming worked out in front of some media members yesterday, and most reports say he looked good. The Rockets claim Yao’s foot is 100% healed, but Yao is still playing it cautious, stopping short of promising he’d be OK for Opening Night. If any player was a good candidate to treat like a Major League Baseball reliever and only give him limited work leading up to the postseason, it’s Yao. The Rockets might be good enough to grab a playoff spot without Yao altogether, so if you use him sparingly at first and increase his minutes as you get deeper into the season, you could wind up having Yao fresh and healthy for a postseason run. (Granted, Yao was last “healthy” around the last time Pam Anderson was “fresh,” but still.) … Let’s assume Yao is good to go; Where do you have the Rockets finishing next season? Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin comprise one of the most explosive backcourts in the League, and Luis Scola is quietly one of the most productive PF’s in the game. Houston can play D, and they have a good coach in Rick Adelman. And if these recent rumors of Carmelo wanting to go to Houston are true and that somehow happens, they’ll be a monster in the West … Sorry, Nate Robinson, but these guys are the two best dunkers in the world. Pure craziness … The Hawks are supposedly interested in Josh Boone, Brian Skinner And His Stupid Beard, and Francisco Elson. And they didn’t want Shaq, not even for cheap? Explain that one again? … We’re out like Skinner’s beard …

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