« Arts and Crafts | Main | Playlists »

Team USA

Gene Wojciechowski writes about the good chemistry between Dwayne Wade and LeBron James, the two young cornerstones of the USA Senior National Team. That's great. The only trouble is that I think it would actually be a mistake to play the two of them at the same time. They're both extremely effective offensive players. You'd be thrilled to get to run your offense through either guy. But on any given play, only one guy can have the ball in his hands. And either Wade or James is certain to face shitloads of double-teams and/or packed zones. So you're going to need guys on the floor who can reliably hit the open outside shots. And neither James nor (especially) Wade is a very good three-point shooter.

From where I sit, you want to build your starting lineup around James. When he's on the floor, the ball is going to be in his hands. Dwight Howard, a dominant rebounder, plays center. You want your other three players to be guys who can shoot well -- probably Shawn Marion, Gilbert Arenas, and Kirk Hinrich. When James needs a rest, that's when Wade enters in the game (in exchange for Arenas or Hinrich) while Joe Johnson comes in at the three. Jamison backs up Marion, and Chris Bosh will probably have to play backup center. That way you'll always have either James or Wade initiating the offense plus three credible outside shooters on the floor.

The temptation, I fear, will be to just play the "best player" at each position without regard to what everyone's actually supposed to be doing.

July 21, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

The problem with this is that Wade and James are probably your two best players. If Wade is James' backup, he only plays 10 minutes a game. You might win that way, but I don't think Coach K is going to get the players to go for it.

Posted by: Steve | Jul 21, 2006 12:55:20 PM

Also, I like Hinrich's game, but if he weren't so pale, I don't think you'd call him a great shooter. His lifetime ts% is .511, which is not so awesome.

Posted by: Steve | Jul 21, 2006 1:03:34 PM

"The problem with this is that Wade and James are probably your two best players."

Yup. Matthew's thinking has run wildly amok here.

You play the two of them together, and you still have two or three more positions to plug in long range shooters, if that's the need. The two of them will be able to dominate their opposing players on both sides of the floor. You just play them.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 21, 2006 1:54:46 PM

Give me a break, Wade is the best player on the team. There is no way he's coming off the bench. While he might not hit many 3s, he can score from anywhere inside the arc. A packed zone or LeBron double would mean easy buckets for him. Plus Wade gives you all the intangibles that Hinrich and Arenas don't. He can rebound, steal, and block shots. He's even a better passer. I think Team America would be stupid to give that up for a few 3point opportunities.

Is Arenas even going to make the 12 man roster? He couldn't make the All Star team in the East.

Posted by: Just Karl | Jul 21, 2006 2:05:16 PM

You just play them.

AND you are happy about it. Unless, of course, you're some sorta commie.

Posted by: Just Karl | Jul 21, 2006 2:09:37 PM

Reading through the linked article, I think you've got to be pretty encouraged about the team. If we're relying on Wade and LeBron instead of Marbury and Duncan, that's got to be a positive (nothing against Duncan, but I'm kinda glad he's not there).

Posted by: Al | Jul 21, 2006 2:13:21 PM

Just to pile on here, I wouldn't be so sure that Wade can't shoot the international 3. His range seems to include everything inside the NBA 3-point-line. So basically, Matt's wrong on everything here.

Posted by: Steve | Jul 21, 2006 2:28:07 PM

"AND you are happy about it. Unless, of course, you're some sorta commie."

Even a commie would be ecstatic at having the two of them on the floor together.

-------

"So basically, Matt's wrong on everything here."

It's not just that he's wrong, it's the deepness and profundity of the wrongness here that astounds.

It would be as if Matthew decided the solution to the American misadventure in Iraq was to have the National Guard round up every cat and dog West of the Rockies, and shave them all bare to appease Ba'al.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 21, 2006 2:37:57 PM

Does anyone else remember Wade making a boatload of threes at some point during the playoffs? I do. The guy is not a bad shooter.

Posted by: Al | Jul 21, 2006 2:53:17 PM

It would be as if Matthew decided the solution to the American misadventure in Iraq was to have the National Guard round up every cat and dog West of the Rockies, and shave them all bare to appease Ba'al.

Umm, no. Just no.

I see Matt's point but respectfully disagree. The part about the double teams is key. With both LBJ and DW on the floor at the same time, the opponents are going to have to slack on somebody.

Also DW was hitting with range by the end of the playoffs. He doesn't do it more often because it's not his strong suit. But both he and LBJ are improving in that area. Anyway, the point is moot if as a tandem they can wreck shop like they do solo against the NBA teams. If all else fails, kick it out to a rangy 4 like Antawn or swingy gunners like JJ and the Matrix and you got your long points. Or feed it in to D-HO for the monster jam. And kicking it back out to either DWade or LeBron for a crunch jumper ain't too shabby for a last resort.

Two gamechangers, legends in the making, are better than one. Image Larry Legend and Magic on the same squad, or Magic and Michael. It could work if they work it!

Posted by: Greg | Jul 21, 2006 2:53:34 PM

Thanks all, sorry I piggybacked on your post but yes Wade is showing more confidence from beyond the arc. You beat me by 17 seconds you ass!

Posted by: Greg | Jul 21, 2006 2:55:01 PM

Two gamechangers, legends in the making, are better than one. Image Larry Legend and Magic on the same squad, or Magic and Michael. It could work if they work it!

This is generally true. It just happens to be the case under these circumstances that Wade isn't a very good three point shooter and that three point shooting is the important important skill for a guard playing alongside LeBron James. A better use of Wade's considerable skills will be having him play off the bench as the lead offensive player in the second unit. Among other things, that will allow LeBron to get more rest than he typically does with the Cavs and enhance his per-minute effectiveness.

And kicking it back out to either DWade or LeBron for a crunch jumper ain't too shabby for a last resort.

Kicking it out to DWade for a crunch jumper isn't shabby for a last resort. But it's shabbier than kicking it out to Gilbert Arenas. Wade's a better player, but Gilbert's a better shooter.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Jul 21, 2006 2:58:41 PM

I'm not sure any of us know how they'll call fouls in international play, so it's not clear how good an international player Dwyane Wade is.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 21, 2006 3:16:34 PM

Matt, I am not buying it. With Wade and LeBron at 1,2 or 2,3, you have 2 other spaces for outside shooting. And, as was said before, both DWade and LBJ can shoot from the perimeter. He shot 1/3 in the playoffs (21-63) and .48 overall. Wade? 14-37. Not great, granted, but that was shooting almost .500 overall from the floor. Your man gilberto is an outside threat fo sho (20-46, .435), but have that come off the bench as needed. No one needs to huck 3's when they're dominating the short game, as both LBJ and Wade can from guard positions. And LBJ and Wade just have better all around games and attract more defenders. This tandem could part defenses like the red sea, leaving the Marions, Johnsons, Pauls, Hinrichs, Arenases, Howards, and Boshes of the world to feast on Euro Flesh.

Posted by: Greg | Jul 21, 2006 3:19:59 PM

And SCMT- even if nothing short of a Zizou headbutt gets called a foul, DWade can still knife to the basket and tip her in better than anybody in the game. He was a victim of those refs hyperactive whistles too- but a victim with a ring nonetheless.

Posted by: Greg | Jul 21, 2006 3:22:55 PM

"Image Larry Legend and Magic on the same squad, or Magic and Michael. It could work if they work it!"

Should I refrain from making an essentially tedious joke about how all of those guys are probably too old to be seriously competitive in international play? Personally, I think I should, indeed, refrain.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 21, 2006 3:23:23 PM

After that shaving cats comment, I think you should take at least a month off for "personal reasons."

Posted by: Big Ba'aler | Jul 21, 2006 3:34:54 PM

"After that shaving cats comment, I think you should take at least a month off for "personal reasons."

And coincidentally, I'm might have the free time after all. I'm just about to bring to market the first international basketball tournament with all the players as shaved hairless non-chimp-related mammals.

My team has a standout shaved ferret that will remind you of nothing less than a Marcus Camby-like ferret on the defenseve end. That ferret's got some serious hops.

------

Remember. Teams are still forming. Sign up with a team before they're all gone. We accept cash and credit cards for the entry fee. No reptiles allowed, of course.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 21, 2006 4:50:57 PM

On the theory that each of my ideas today is even more apt than the previous one:

All commenters here should be constantly trying to replicate the clever spambot commnet in a previous thread..

All new comments should consists of essentially random cut and paste from elsewhere in the thread, filled in with a few generic connecting sentences, and linking to pay sites for porn or pharmaceuticals.

If we could all keep that up for a year or two, the spambots would become confused, and would switch over to our sides, and start spamming actually interesting comments.

Are you with me?!?!?!?!

Posted by: Petey | Jul 21, 2006 5:02:48 PM

Or, how bout I go out on a worldwide mission to convince folks that Ba'al is the one true religion and path to salvation, and that the single holy sacrament is watching games in the "National Basket Ba'al Assoiciation."

Folks will have to start buying tickets, even to franchises like Atlanta, in order to save their immortal souls. And TV ratings should go through the roof.

I figure you could have Shaq as the Sky God, Ben Wallace as the Thunder God, Kobe as the War God. Iverson as Earth God. And LBJ as the Cultural Hero.

I know we probably don't convert the planet this season, but if Ba'al is watching over us, it won't take too long...

Posted by: Petey | Jul 21, 2006 5:29:38 PM

Petey's clearly drunk.

Posted by: Al | Jul 21, 2006 5:35:11 PM

"Petey's clearly drunk."

It is a Friday afternoon in July...

If you ain't drunk now, when will you ever be?

Posted by: Petey | Jul 21, 2006 5:40:21 PM

I almost prefer Petey drunk to Petey sober. At least this Petey's not trying so hard.

:)

Posted by: Greg | Jul 21, 2006 5:51:31 PM

As a Miami Heat fan, I hope Matthew's right, for two reasons: (a) Wade on the bench prevents off-season injuries and (b) Wade seems energized and motivated by insults or disrespect (like Arenas in that respect, I suppose). If he's shoved to the bench now, he may be even more dangerous next season.

Posted by: Daniel, Esq. | Jul 21, 2006 7:51:03 PM

Petey is indeed in rare form.

But to get back to Matt's warped logic, Team USA won't win if they need to depend on shots from the cheap seats. Our addiction to the 3 point line is one of the reasons we've lost in recent years. I don't think we should even be looking to focus the team around LeBron. The Dream Team was not designed to compliment Jordan. And finally, if an outside shooter at guard is best for the team, shouldn't it be Redd anyway? I'm telling you, I don't know if Arenas even makes the team. How many guards will they bring? 5?

at guard
Wade
Chris Paul
Redd
Hinrich
Pierce

at forward
James
Melo
Bosh
Brand
Marion

at center
Howard
Stoudemire

Maybe Arenas gets on because of an injury but he definitely doesn't start.

Posted by: Just Karl | Jul 21, 2006 7:56:55 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.