Defense is Offensive

08.18.07 10 years ago 8 Comments

Word out of the Team USA training camp is Tayshaun Prince is looking real good. We had Tayshaun on our list of guys most likely to get cut going into the FIBA Americas tourney, but now he’s making it hard to Coach K to pull that trigger. Even if Prince does end up making the team, hasn’t the whole “defensive specialist” thing been an overall flop for Team USA? For starters, they don’t even have the League’s best all-around 1-on-1 stopper (Ron Artest) in the program. Last summer they cut Bruce Bowen, and then Shane Battier didn’t make much of an impact at the World Championships. This year Battier and Bowen pulled out, and Prince likely won’t get a lot of burn even if he does make the 12-man roster. It was (and still is) a good idea in theory for USA Basketball to have bring in some lock-down defenders, but if they aren’t gonna use these guys, they might as well clear up those spots for more versatile guys like Caron Butler or Josh Howard. Or why not bring in that Iverson cat who still doesn’t have an invite? … The team of NBA up-and-comers actually beat the U.S. senior team in their first scrimmage earlier this week. We had a couple of our people in Vegas at the same time, but they were busy at the Jordan Brand ad shoot and couldn’t make it out to the scrimmage. According to David Lee, Team Young’un won by playing zone, which Team USA apparently still can’t figure out: “We’re simulating what other teams will do, so we packed in a zone and forced them to shoot outside,” Lee told reporters. “You can’t guard Kobe and LeBron off the dribble, so it’s the only way to be successful.” … Speaking of Kobe, L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers chronicled a hilarious back-and-forth between Mamba and him from this week in Vegas. Long story short, Kobe doesn’t wanna talk to anyone about the Lakers right now, and Simers has been grilling him on it anyway. The dislike is blatant; Simers never refers to Kobe by name in his Friday column, only calling him “the Kobester” and “the big baby.” He writes that when he asked Kobe about Mitch Kupchak‘s recent “I like our team” quote, Kobe responded: “Talk to Mitch about it, man. If that’s what he feels, that’s what he feels.” Simers: “You’re telling me the Lakers aren’t on your mind?” Kobe: “Write what you want to write, man.” … The Wizards re-signed Andray Blatche. The kid has serious potential at 6-11 and more talent than he knows what to do with. If he can get his mental together, he’s a nice keep for them … By now we’ve all heard about how Barack Obama plays/played ball. But have you heard the latest one? A rumor is spreading that Obama was the leading scorer at Occidental College back in ’79. One of our boys who’s an Occidental grad did some research: he hit up Tigers head coach Brian Newhall, who went to college with Barack. Here’s what Coach Newhall told our guy: “I was a freshman in 1979. My recollection is that Barry played in open gym preseason pickup games and then chose not to continue. Various stories have been floating around. My memory is bad, but I do not remember him playing on our JV team.” People really called him “Barry” back then? … Caught some of the Vikings/Jets preseason game last night. (Chad Pennington looked awful; Adrian Peterson is a beast.) In the fourth quarter, while the Jets were getting worked over, a house cat ran onto the field. After the cameras focused on it for a while, Troy Aikman deadpanned, “Cats kinda freak me out.” … And on the “Friday Night Fights” broadcast, Bill Walton was in the house and got behind the announcer’s table. The redhead actually wasn’t bad; he knows the sport, and he had good chemistry with Teddy Atlas on the mic … We’re out like beating the zone …

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