Wildish Speculation and Outlandish Guesses: Going for the Gold Edition
There has been talk that David Stern & the owners want to change Olympic basketball to a 23 and under tournament (like soccer currently is). Do you like that idea?
Jordan Durlester: Simply put; No. I discussed in a previous post the REAL reasons behind this ridiculous concept and the more I've thought about it the more absurd it becomes. The simple fact is that competing in the Olympics should, for all sports, be the epitome of competition. It should feature the best of the best and determine the true champion of whatever sport is being played. Leave it alone, David.
John Reyes Nguyen: I don't like the idea of an under 23. Every country sends their best in every other sport except soccer, why not basketball. If we send an under 23 team, the other countries will still send all their best pros so they can beat the US. And they probably will.
Jacob Greenberg: You know what? I like it. I do. Think about it: if the USA won, it'd be such a big deal. It would confirm what everyone already knows -- that the USA is the best at basketball -- and it would finally get me pumped up about international sports and Team USA. There are some very good young players under 23 -- Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, among others. I am intrigued by the idea of the best college players and young NBA stars together on the same team. At worst, that team wins silver.
Alex Maki: I do not like this idea. I still like the approach to the Olympics that says we are seeing the BEST athletes in a given sport in the entire world. It just so happens that right now most of those basketball athletes come from the USofA. That may not always be the case however. But bottom line is that I want the best.
Dave Gold: I like the Futbol approach of only allowing Olympic basketball teams to be composed of the best under 23 year old players, plus each country could have two 'Veterans' on the roster of any age. The reason I like it is because it would showcase the best young basketball talent globally - which would be great for me since I see international players drafted every year and I just say 'wait, who?' at least if I saw them in the Olympics I would have an idea of how good they were. I am also intrigued with the idea of young NBA players playing with the best college or even best high school players. While we are on the subject, why don't NBA players have to qualify for the Olympics like every other sport? How great would it be to have Olympic qualifying that included skills competitions, 1:1 games, dunk competition, 3pt shooting and you get points for how well you perform in each. Top players make the team....
FIBA is planning on proposing that three-on-three basketball be added to the Olympics. Do you like that idea?
Jordan Durlester: Not particularly. It's just so weird. 3 on 3? I mean, what's next - HORSE? Knock Out? It would kind of cheapen the real thing to me and would probably take away from beach volleyball coverage. Leave it alone, David.
John Reyes Nguyen: Only if it's exactly like NBA JAM. The players can be on trampolines and wear helmets that look like their heads but bigger. That would be exciting. But this idea seems like they are trying to feed off the beach volleyball frenzy. They fail to realize beach volleyball is actually quite different than the indoor game.
Jacob Greenberg: I watched a bit of the 3-on-3 tournament that FIBA put on shortly before the Olympics. It was entertaining -- about as exciting as watching the And 1 Mixtape Tour back in the day.Truth be told, I'd rather see Tug of War, Rugby or Ultimate Frisbee as an Olympic sport before 3-on-3 basketball.
Alex Maki: Yes, please. I think three-on-three would feel a little bit different than five-on-five, and might force the USofA to pick which players to consider for one sport or the other, because it is unlikely that players would be able to do both. This might also increase the attention paid to the sport internationally.
Dave Gold: Why do we need 3 on 3 basketball? If we need more Olympic Basketball events go with Dunk competition, 3Pt shootout or any other skills competition - like Olympic 'H-O-R-S-E' or Knockout. How great would it be to see some random white dude from Wichita that is just really good at shooting 3 pointers win a gold medal...I also agree with Jacob, I would rather have Rugby or Ultimate Frisbee before we expand basketball. Do we really need more events to prove how will endowed the U-S-A is?
Which player's stock went up the most because of the Olympics?
Jordan Durlester: Not that Kevin Durant was under appreciated by any means, but it sure was nice to see him really validate his skill set as a player and leader. He no longer is just a nice up-and-coming-budding-young-star...the dude has arrived. Again - I know this isn't earth shattering news - but I think we really will see a difference in his attitude next year in OKC.
John Reyes Nguyen: I didn't watch enough games to properly comment. But I would say Anthony Davis benefited the most from being around and practicing with elite NBA players, it will do wonders for his career. Just like Christian Laettner on the Dream Team.
Jacob Greenberg: In my eyes, it's Melo. LeBron may be the best player in the NBA, but Melo is the best player in the world. The shorter 3 point line and Melo's devastating inside-outside game makes him nearly unguardable in international play. You could see that Team USA relied largely on him (and Durant) to provide scoring, and Melo did just that. It was also clear that he was one of the more vocal leaders on the team, having been one of only 2 guys to have played on both the disgraced 2004 Scream team and the 2008 Redeem team. This season, Melo is the clear-cut leader in New York, given Amar'e's fickle health and performance, and Jeremy Lin's departure to Houston. I think we'll see a really motivated Melo this year, and an improved Knicks team as well.
Alex Maki: Alexey Shved. I say this as a Timberwolves fan, but he had a pretty good Olympic tournament. He showed flashes that were Rubio-esque with ball handling and dropping sweet dimes. He showed range on his jumpshot, and also the ability to take over in key stretches. Rumors have it that he displayed a bit of an attitude and got benched because of it. But I think he showed real potential, and that is about as much as you can hope for when looking at international players that deserve a chance to play in the NBA
Dave Gold: I may be biased because I live in Minnesota (where I can't see Russia from my house), but I thought it was great to see AK47 playing like the Kirilenko we all knew and loved - scoring and playing crazy good defense. If the Olympics is any measure for the upcoming season, the T-wolves could have gotten a steal of a player if AK47 plays up to his old, young self. While we are speaking of Russians who play for the T-wolves, honorary mentioned goes to Alexei Shved. He dropped 25 points on Argentina in the Bronze Medal game. I hadn't even really heard of this guy before the T-wolves signed him, and then to watch him dominate a good Argentina team was pretty impressive.
Which player's stock went down the most because of the Olympics? Editor's Note: Congratulations to Jacob and Alex for answering the question properly, and to John for writing an entire paragraph that I don't understand.
Jordan Durlester: Bob Fitzgerald. He's the worst. I know he doesn't qualify as a legitimate answer to the question at hand but he's the first person that came to mind. Confusing the actor who played Zuckerberg with the real Zuckerberg? C'mon, bro. I believe NBC stirred up the whole "tape delay" controversy as a wag-the-dog tactic to divert peoples attention away from the abysmal play-by-play.
John Reyes Nguyen: I'm gonna venture outside of basketball and back into beach volleyball and include a group of players. I would say all the US men's beach volleyball players. Rogers, Dalhausser, Gibb, and Rosenthal should be ashamed. They grew up and live in the mecca of beach volleyball and didn't even take home a medal. How the hell do you lose to Latvia in beach volleyball? Where's Karch Kiraly when you need him?
Jacob Greenberg: His stock didn't drop, per se, but Leandro Barbosa may have firmly played his way out of the NBA. He managed to average 16.2 points per game for a decent Brazilian squad, and played a key role in a near comeback against Argentina. But he went into the Olympics without a contract, and is the last international free agent without a contract. He's only 29, but looks slower than he used to, and is not efficient at all. Still, a veteran team in need of bench scoring will offer him the vet's minimum. He'd be wise to take it.
Alex Maki: Knowing the American team the best, I am inclined to pick one of our peeps. Though Nicholas Batum definitely saw his admirability rating plummet with his egregious low blow shot in the quarterfinals. But basketball promise-wise, I am going to go with Kobe Bryant. He looked a bit old, and particularly petty in regards to his inability to share the ball on a team of mega stars. The Lakers might be the favorite to win it all next year, but not if Kobe still plays Kobe ball in key stretches next season.
Dave Gold: Can I vote for the Orlando Magic? Their stock dropped a ton during the Olympics. With all those '1st round draft picks' I can't wait to see them draft Makram Ben Romdahne (Tunisia) and Ailun Guo (China) among other stellar options. Screw the dream team debate - could the 2012/2013 Lakers beat the 'Showtime' lakers in their prime?