Please look no further than Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams if you are trying to find some reasons why the USA is treating the Vegas tournament like they are playing high school kids. I wrote an article last year complaining about lack of perimeter shooting, but more importantly about Coach K being forced to allow the three youngsters – LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade – to dominate the ball and force the other players to stand and watch them play.
The USA needed some players that would not be afraid to take the ball out of their hands and would not hesitate to get in their face if they became selfish – but most importantly players that those three respected.
Last year, Chris Paul and Kirk Hinrich were intimidated by the trio and could not run the offense because they did not have the ball. The key to any All-Star team is point guard play and the USA has three extremely unselfish players that are making the game easy and giving the plethora of scorers high-percentage shots consistently.
Jason Kidd has attempted three shots in four games while dishing out a total of 14 assists. Kidd once boasted that he could dominate a game without attempting a shot. Well, I think he along with Billups and Williams have given the USA the key to winning in China next year.
I continue to be extremely impressed with Carmelo. He has played third fiddle to Wade and LeBron, but before it’s all said and done Anthony might become the better player of the three. He undoubtedly will be the most prolific scorer of the bunch.
Mike Miller and Michael Redd were great additions and I want to see a few more catch-and-shoot guys like Joe Johnson and maybe Kevin Durant on the roster in China.
Kobe Bryant, whom I have not mentioned, has probably been the glue to it all. Bryant understands what it takes to win and his defense on players like Leandro Barbosa and anyone else the USA faces will definitely make the difference.
Kobe is the best player on this team, but yet he too has allowed LeBron and Anthony to be the focal points. That is all fine and dandy, but understand Coach K knows the ball will be in Kobe’s hands come crunch time and every player on that team knows it too.
It really will not matter because as long as Jason Kidd has the ball, Kobe can rest assured he will touch it first when it comes to winning time and that’s why we will bring the gold back to the USA in 2008.