Things just went from very ugly to even uglier for Team USA as they prepare to take on the world at the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, set to tip off later this month. Apparently, big men are not supposed to play for this squad, because something is definitely playing against them. First, Amar’e Stoudemire had to withdraw due to insurance issues surrounding his contract. Then David Lee injured his middle finger on his right hand during the first team scrimmage, so he’s out. Next up was Robin Lopez (you know it’s bad if you’re going to miss Robin Lopez) who had to pull his name out because he’s still rehabbing from a back injury. And now this. Robin’s brother, Book Lopez will not be in Turkey either because he is struggling to recover from…mono. Seriously. This doesn’t even take into consideration that Kendrick Perkins should’ve been on the squad too.
When the 21 players were initially announced, I immediately felt as if the team was flawed and riddled with guys who had no business being named to this team. I thought they had their hands full. Now they have been stripped of every legit big man on the team. Lopez was the last hope. He is one of the up and coming Centers in the league and was sure to play a big role for this squad. But that is no longer. He will be replaced by Washington’s JaVale McGee.
Lopez told the team yesterday that he didn’t think his condition was good enough to take part in training camp in New York next week. Surprisingly, Lopez didn’t even play that well during practices in Vegas last month and Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of USA Basketball, said Lopez had his work cut out for him in order to make the roster. This tells me that the mono really was impacting his play, because on a team like this, you can’t tell me that Brook Lopez doesn’t belong.
Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee are the only Centers on the roster. I’ll assume Chandler will start. Let me say that again: Tyson Chandler will be the starting Center for Team USA. That probably even reads a little funny to Chandler himself. This means that the team will have to get it done on the perimeter because I don’t expect much offensive production from the frontcourt. They will have to run like they never have before.
This will be a very small team but the silver lining is that the backcourt will be talented and athletic. Not experienced at all, but very talented. If history is any indicator however, veteran players are usually a good thing to have on your team during international play. Regardless, all of this talking will come to an end in just over a week when the team finally takes the court against some international flavor. On Sunday, August 15, Team USA will host France at The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden in New York City.
In fact, USA Basketball and Madison Square Garden want you to come out and show some love. So much that they are offering a special 25% discount on tickets to anyone reading this. Watch the stars of NBA take on France in the Big Apple. Click here for more info and to get the code.