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03-02-2006, 02:47 AM
Team USA questions and answers

By Chris Sheridan
ESPN Insider

Now that the first 22 members of Team USA are known, it's time to step back and take a look at how the team was put together, how long it will stay together and how well it will do at the World Championship this summer and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The U.S. team lost three times at the 2004 Olympics in Athens en route to a bronze medal, and the previous U.S. national team lost three times at the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis, finishing sixth.

The biggest difference this time around is that one man, Phoenix Suns chairman Jerry Colangelo, has been put in charge of selecting the players. Previously, it was done by committee.

Colangelo held face-to-face meetings over the past three months with each of the players he selected, along with a few of those he didn't invite. If he detected any wavering from prospective players on the three-year commitment he was seeking, he moved on to the next guy. And when he felt disrespected during the process, he let the players and their agents know how he felt.

There are plenty of questions surrounding the U.S. team. Here's a baker's dozen of questions and answers:

Q: Why isn't Allen Iverson on the team? And what about Lamar Odom, who was one of the better performers on the 2004 Olympic team?

A: Colangelo isn't saying yet, although both players seem quite upset by their snubs -- as was Baron Davis, who played on the 2002 U.S. team and wanted to have a chance (just as Paul Pierce did) to redeem himself.

Q: Was it an image thing with Iverson? Or an attitude thing?

A: Again, Colangelo isn't saying yet. He'll have more to say on Sunday when the team is formally announced on ABC.

Colangelo was questioned by Philadelphia reporters after meeting with Iverson earlier this year, and his comments were positive. I also know that Colangelo was smitten by Iverson's genuine enthusiasm for representing his country in 2004, an intangible that's tough to find in this day and age.

Q: What about Shaq?

A: Shaq is the only guy with an open invitation to join later, because Colangelo places a unique value on what his presence would mean for the U.S. program. Now that the Shaq and Kobe feud is over, that might be less of a hindrance.

Q: Where are some of the other big names? Where's Kevin Garnett? Tracy McGrady? Jermaine O'Neal? Jason Kidd and Vince Carter and Ray Allen?

A: They all had a chance, and none were really interested (although Shaq might still come on board).

Garnett, Kidd, Carter and Allen were all on the Olympic team that won gold in Sydney in 2000, while Shaq won his gold medal on the 1996 Olympic team. Each of those guys understands how draining and grueling the experience is (40 consecutive days together, long plane trips, endless sponsor and media commitments, biased referees), and they remember how it sapped their energy heading into their ensuing NBA seasons.

You have to remember that NBA players place a high value on their summers, and the need for personal downtime sometimes overrides their desire to represent their country. In the case of McGrady and Jermaine O'Neal, USA Basketball wasn't happy with either of them for bailing out on the 2004 team. Notice how Mike Bibby isn't in the mix this time, either. In McGrady's defense, he doesn't want to put the wear and tear on his bad back.

That is not just an American phenomenon. Peja Stojakovic is not planning to play for Serbia and Montenegro this summer, nor will Sarunas Jasikevicius play for Lithuania. Steve Nash hasn't played for Canada since 2002.

As for the Motown five: Chauncey Billups is on the list but, like Michael Redd, won't be playing this summer because of a personal commitment. Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton aren't on the list because they were concerned about fatigue, given that they expect to be playing into late June with the Pistons. Ben Wallace learned when he played for the 2002 U.S. team that his style of play is not suited to the international game. Rasheed Wallace, despite having a game suited for international play, wasn't considered.

Q: Why does Colangelo have 25 players coming to training camp when you can put only 12 on the active roster?

A: Some of the players (Adam Morrison, J.J. Redick and Greg Oden) are being brought in to get them involved in the national team program long-term (there's another World Championship in 2010 in Turkey, and the 2012 Olympics in London), while others are basically being told they'll have to try out for the few truly open roster spots.

When Colangelo was speaking to players face-to-face, he told some that if they believed a tryout to be beneath them, they weren't welcome.

Q: What's your best guess at the 12-man roster for Japan?

A: Gilbert Arenas, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Bruce Bowen, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Chris Bosh and Brad Miller.

Some explanations: Bowen guards Ginobili in Spurs practice every day, so he would be the perfect guy to stick on Manu in the gold-medal game. Paul makes it for his quickness and ballhandling. Arenas brings shooting and ballhandling. Miller, Bosh and Brand are needed for their size and versatility. Pierce is needed for his shooting.

Q: What weaknesses might the U.S. team have?

A: There's only one true center, Brad Miller, and he does not have a back-to-the-basket offensive game. There are no shot-blockers other than Brand. And the lack of depth at point guard could be an issue.

But the No. 1 problem for the Americans in Athens was a lack of shooters (every opponent except Argentina played a tight 2-3 zone against the U.S.), and that seems to have been solved with Pierce, Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd (not available in 2006), Gilbert Arenas, Joe Johnson and LBJ on board.

Q: Will this team have enough time to jell into a cohesive unit by the time the Japan tournament begins?

A: Starting July 18, the team will have a total of about 11 days together at training camp in Las Vegas, which pales in comparison to most of the other nations, which start camp in June. What ultimately matters, though, is how they look at the end, when the quarterfinals, semifinals and the gold-medal game roll around. It's coach Mike Krzyzewski's job to have them peaking at the right time.

Q: How much international basketball experience does this team have?

A: Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Amare Stoudemire got their feet wet in Athens, when they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Shawn Marion was on the 2002 and 2004 teams, Brand was on the 2003 Olympic qualifying team, and Miller played for the U.S. team that went to Athens in 1998 when NBA players boycotted USA Basketball during a lockout.

(Miller, who was an undrafted rookie in 1998, still recalls that tournament fondly. He recently reminded me that Earl Boykins was the final player cut before the team left for Greece.)

Q: So is the roster pretty much final for the next three years?

A: Not at all.

Colangelo plans to keep it fluid, with no predetermined notion of how many or how few players should be in the program. By the time Beijing rolls around, perhaps a third or more of the roster will have changed.

Colangelo wanted to engineer a safety net for the future. If the team goes through another mass defection of top players, as it did between 2003 and 2004, other guys will be waiting to take their place. In past years, the selection committee often scrambled to find last-minute replacements.

Q: Beijing is what really matters, right? That's the Olympics, and this summer's tournament in Japan is only the World Championship.

A: If you're an American, that's how you've been conditioned to think. But the people on the rest of the planet view the World Championship as much more prestigious, akin to a World Cup title in soccer.

Q: With the roster Colangelo has assembled, the Americans should be a lock to win the gold medal in the World Championship, earning an automatic berth in the 2008 Olympics, right?

A: They'll be the favorites, but nothing is a lock for U.S. teams anymore in international basketball tournaments.

Argentina, the defending Olympic champion and runner-up to Yugoslavia in 2002 (they were robbed by the referees at the end of regulation in Conseco Fieldhouse that afternoon) has a core of top-level NBA and European players (Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni, Pepe Sanchez, Fabricio Oberto, Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino, Ruben Wolkowyski) who have been together in their national program since they were teenagers. They have a ton of chemistry and cohesion, something Colangelo is trying to develop with the U.S. team in the three years leading up to Beijing.

Q: So who else has a good team besides Argentina?

A: Spain is outstanding, the best team in the 2004 Olympics until they ran into the U.S. in the quarterfinals. Spain made the mistake of staying in a tight zone after Tim Duncan went to the bench in early foul trouble, and Stephon Marbury finally got hot and scored 31, breaking the U.S. Olympic scoring record that was shared by Charles Barkley and Spencer Haywood.

Italy, which won silver in Athens, is in the U.S. team's group in Japan. When the 2004 U.S. team faced Italy in a pre-Olympic exhibition game, the Italians killed 'em with 3-pointers. Everyone on that team can really shoot it from deep.

Also in the Americans' preliminary round group is China, which knocked off Serbia-Montenegro in Athens to reach the quarterfinals under their American coach, Del Harris. Yao Ming counts that game as probably the top accomplishment of his career.

A dark horse in the U.S. group is Slovenia, which was the class of the Euro 2005 tournament until getting derailed in the quarters.

France will be tough, too, with its new generation of NBA players (Tony Parker, Mickael Pietrus, Boris Diaw, Johan Petro). New Zealand is better than most people would imagine. Serbia-Montenegro got a wild-card entry and cannot be dismissed. Germany has Dirk Nowitzki, who just might be the NBA MVP.

It'll be a very good tournament this summer.

Chris Sheridan, a national NBA reporter for the past decade, covers the league for ESPN Insider. To e-mail Chris, click here.

NBA Rumor Central: Thomas To Sign With Suns?

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Wednesday, March 1


Thomas To Sign With Suns?
Mar 1 - A league official who spoke with agent Arn Tellem yesterday said the Nets are Tim Thomas' first choice if the Bulls waive him today, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. However a league official told the newspaper that Thomas is headed to Phoenix.

GM John Paxson said the Bulls will only waive Thomas if he signs with a team in the West.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein, in the Midweek Edition of the Daily Dime, reports league rules prevent the Bulls from adding a formal clause to Thomas' buyout that prevents him from signing with an Eastern Conference team after being released. But the sides can strike a handshake agreement to that effect and apparently have.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports despite earlier interest for Thomas, a person with knowledge of the situation said there was no reason to believe the Sixers would be involved.


Delk Should Sign Today
Mar 1 - The Pistons expect to sign Tony Delk today, reports the Detroit Free Press. According to the newspaper, Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami and Utah want to sign Delk, but a Pistons source said Delk will choose the Pistons.

"Nothing is going to happen with the Nuggets," Delk's agent, Mark Bartelstein told the Rocky Mountain News. Bartelstein said his client will either sign with Detroit or the Los Angeles Lakers, with others calling the Pistons more likely.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told the Riverside Press-Enterprise yesterday that it was his understanding that Delk was going to sign with Detroit.


Lakers Eye Penny
Mar 1 - The Lakers are looking for backcourt help and yesterday, GM Mitch Kupchak told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that he spoke with Coach Phil Jackson about Penny Hardaway and Rick Brunson, who was cut by the Sonics on Tuesday. "We'll continue to look at the waiver wire," Kupchak told the newspaper. Kupchak said the Lakers also will look at players in the developmental league.


No Buyout For Williams
Mar 1 - According to the New York Post, within minutes of the announcement that GM Bryan Colangelo was leaving Phoenix for Toronto, representatives for Eric Williams placed a call asking about a buyout and was told no. Toronto reportedly wants to hold on to his contract as a trade asset. It expires after next season.

03-02-2006, 02:49 AM
Chat with Chad Ford

Welcome to The Show! On Tuesday, ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford will drop by to take your questions on the season as well as the launch of ESPN.com's Lottery/Mock Draft.

SportsNation Chad Ford: Hey everyone, special edition chat today to coincide with our debut of the Lottery + Mock Draft Generator. Here's how it works. Our wizzes on the technical side have found a way to accurately reproduce the NBA's lottery process. It runs a statisitically accurate lottery each time. I've created over 2000 different scenarios to reflect who would go where. Obviously this will change as the tournament continues, but for now, this is what NBA scouts are telling me about the draft. Let's take some questions.

dominick (orlando fl): How far down do you think JJ Reddick will fall in the draft, and do you think he would be a good fit for the Magic. Personally, I hope we get him. He is an absulote baller.

SportsNation Chad Ford: I know a few GMs see Redick as a Top 10 pick, but my guess is that he slips a little below that. From what I hear, he's not slipping past Utah however. They love him. He's kind of cut out of the same mold as Jeff Hornacek. As for the Magic, I think it will be Adam Morrison if they can get him. If they're drafting later, Memphis' Rodney Carney or Arkansas' Ronnie Brewer make some sense.

MC Welk (SLC): Love the lotto generator, but it's filled with bugs, e.g. teams showing up with multiple picks. Any early news on which Euros will enter?

SportsNation Chad Ford: No bugs that I can see. You see the Bulls twice because they own the Knicks first round pick this year. Clippers are in there because they own the Timberwolves first round pick.

Rick (Yakima, Wa.): Is Adam Morrison going #1? Wouldn't he fit in nicely on the Knicks?

SportsNation Chad Ford: Just depends on the team. That's the whole point of the generator. It makes no sense to project guys in a mock draft if you don't know who's drafting. Some teams (like Orlando, Seattle and Portland) would take him No. 1. Others prefer LaMarcus Aldridge or Rudy Gay. As for the Knicks ... remember, Isiah traded away their first round pick for Eddy Curry. The Bulls have it now.

Drew (Lexington): Has the recent benching of Rondo hurt his stock?

SportsNation Chad Ford: Sure. He's a great prospect who's having a very mediocre year on a very mediocre team. I don't think Kentucky's problem is Rondo. He's still a likely lottery pick at this point based on upside ... but his stock has definately taken a hit. After a stellar summer for Team USA, some scouts were talking about him as a Top 5 pick.

Jason : Who do you think the piston will take with there lottery pick

SportsNation Chad Ford: They don't have a pick this year. They did get Orlando's pick in the Darko trade, but it's a 2007 first rounder -- top 5 protected.

Jack (DC): After Darko, Vazquez, Lampe, Skita, etc, do you really think any team would take Bargnani or Splitter in the top five?

SportsNation Chad Ford: It's an issue. A few years ago a player like Bargnani would've been in the mix for the top pick in the draft. Let's see how Darko plays the next six weeks. If he starts coming on in Orlando, the backlash may go away. Andrea Bargnani looks like the real deal. He's putting up very impressive numbers in the Euroleague right now -- and that's a higher level of play than the NCAA. Tiago Splitter also looks like he's going to be very good (and he's putting up numbers too in the Euroleague) but buyout problems with his club in Spain may cause his stock to slip. No one wants a repeat of Fran Vasquez.

Andrew, Chi-Town: Yo Ford aka Ford F-350, I was just wondering who you think the Bulls will be targeting in this upcoming draft. Will they trade one or both of them?

SportsNation Chad Ford: They need a low post scorer and a bigger two guard to pair in the backcourt with Kirk Hinrich. LaMarcus Aldridge is at the top of their list. Tyrus Thomas is awfully young, but has tremendous upside. Ronnie Brewer's another possibility. He's not a great shooter, but he brings size, defensive intensity and great ball handling to the backcourt.

The Rick, Chicago, IL: Where do you see Villanova's gaurds (Foye, Ray, Lowry) being drafted?

SportsNation Chad Ford: I think Foye is the best prospect of the three right now. May be a kind of poor man's Dwyane Wade. He could be a lottery pick by draft night if he has a big tournament and his workouts go well. I'm a big fan of Lowry. I think he'll stay in school (he should). If he does, I think he could be one of the top point guard prospects in the 2007 NBA draft. Ray is a great shooter, but he's undersized. He's probably a second rounder.

Bryan (Bloomington, IN): The Draft Generator suggests Golden State will take Rajon Rondo, but with Davis and Fisher, is a PG really what the Warriors need?

SportsNation Chad Ford: They don't have any drastic needs. It was really about who was available when they pick. If they could get a legit center there, that would be the way to go ... but there aren't any worth taking that high. Remember the curse of Todd Fuller. Rondo may need a year or two as a backup. His defense and energy would be welcome. And given Davis' history of injuries, I think he'd be a great fit.

SportsNation Chad Ford: Looks like there are some temporary server problems that are creating funky results in the Lottery/Mock Draft generator. Our tech guys will get it solved soon.

Eric (Bozeman, MT): Everybody is talking about JJ Redick, but where does Sheldon Williams go? 1st Rounder?

SportsNation Chad Ford: Sure. The landlord will get some love and will likely be drafted ahead of Redick. I think Seattle might be a great place for him. Now that Reggie Evans is gone, he could provide that toughness and rebounding. Plus, he's a great shotblocker. Still not sold on Williams as an offensive player, but he's big and productive and that will go far come draft time.

Jansen (New York ): How good do you think the athletic guards like Maurice Ager, Shannon Brown, and Rodney Carney are going to be in the NBA

SportsNation Chad Ford: I think Carney is going to be good. I had my doubts in the past about his toughness and his consistency, but he's really been great this year. Gotta love a 6-7 super athletic swingman who can shoot the ball like he can. I really liked Ager when I saw him in Maui. He hit so many clutch shots there. However, he's been up and down since then. I think he's a first rounder based on his athleticism and shooting ability ... but wish he was an inch or two taller. Brown is a bit of a tweener, but he actually has as much or more talent than Ager. I love his toughness. Just wish he grew another three inches. He should probably stay in school another year. He's on the first round bubble right now.

RL (SF): Chad, you've dropped Leon Powe a few spots despite his recent strong play for Cal, who in the mix for the Pac-10 crown. Where do you see Powe winding up?

SportsNation Chad Ford: All depends on his physical. If NBA people believe that his knee won't be a problem in the pros, he probably goes in the 20s. If it's a problem ... he's really going to slip.

Jeff (Seattle, WA): How high will Brandon Roy go?

SportsNation Chad Ford: He's really rising. He's been fantastic this season. He does a little bit of everything and most importantly for his draft stock, his shot has improved. I have him ranked 18th ... but he could go higher with a great tournament and workouts. A few scouts are even looking at him as a possible point guard because of his ball handling skills. It's not out of the question that he's in the lottery come draft night.

John (Raleigh): What's the story on Tyler Hansbrough? Is he expected to enter the draft or stick around at UNC for a few years? Would he make a decent pro?

SportsNation Chad Ford: I think he'd be a solid pro. Great toughness and hustle. May be a better version of Mark Madsen. With that said, he'd be on the first round bubble. He should stay in school.

David (San Antonio): Who do you possibly see having a big NCAA tournament and making a big jump in the draft? I nominate Brandon Rush.

SportsNation Chad Ford: Not a bad nomination. I actually like another kid on Kansas even better, Julian Wright. He's gotten a lot of buzz lately after several strong games. He's a very versatile player. Reminds me a little bit of Andrei Kirilenko with a better handle. He's never going to be a 20 point a night scorer, but he's got the chance to be a 15 point, 10 rebound, 5 assists, 3 block, 3 steals type of guy.

brett : With the Suns having Atlanta's loto draft pick, do you see them trying to target Adam Morrision,to fit their style of play... or maybe taking that pick and trading it to maybe minnesota, along with marion, or sign and trade diaw, to get a front line of Amare and KG?

SportsNation Chad Ford: Suns don't get that pick until next season.

Jason (IN): Could Josh McRoberts ultimately be drafted higher than Shelden Williams or JJ Redick?

SportsNation Chad Ford: It's possible. Scouts love his potential. But honestly, he's a lot better off staying in school. Redick and Williams are heading to the NBA this year. Next season, it will be McRoberts show. If he dominates, he'll be a Top 5 pick. Right now, he's a borderline lottery guy. I think this is a clear case of a kid who needs another year of college basketball.

Jonny (LA): What kind of pro do you think Hilton Armstrong could be? I like his shot blocking ability.

SportsNation Chad Ford: Tough call. I think he has a lot of potential because of his size, energy and athleticism. But I'm always a little wary of one hit wonders. Where was this guy the last four years? If a team drafts him high I think they'll have to be patient.

Ty (Lewisburg, PA): Best prospect nobody knows about?

SportsNation Chad Ford: Three answers. Tyrus Thomas of LSU. The kid is special. He isn't getting the hype of other more prominent players but a few scouts I trust think he may be the best prospect in the draft. Justin Williams of Wyoming. He's an amazing shot blocker in the Theo Ratliff mode. Paul Millsap of Lousiana Tech. He's been the best rebounder in college basketball for three years. Somebody in the NBA needs that.

SportsNation Chad Ford: Got to run everyone. Will chat again on Thursday at noon about both the NBA and the draft. See you then.

03-02-2006, 02:50 AM
Chat with Chris Sheridan

Welcome to The Show! On Wednesday, ESPN.com's NBA reporter Chris Sheridan will log on to chat with you about the roster for Team USA and much more. Chris came to ESPN from the Associated Press where he spent the last 10 years as the lead NBA writer.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Greetings from America, the land of the free and the home of the bronze, where Chris Mortensen can take over your chat room and not even know it. Our subject today is Team USA, the upcoming World Championship and the 2008 Olympics. Let's roll.

Dijana (Colchester, VT): Why in God's name is Iverson not on the USA team?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I haven't asked Shammgod, and Jerry Colangelo hasn't said. We'll get more answers on The Answer on Sunday when Colangelo formally announces the team.

Moe Steff (NY): Why do you seem so high on Arenas making the US squad? Have you ever watched him play carefully? First off he's not a point, he's a turnover machine, has one of the worst asst/to ratios in the L, has one of the worst shot selections in the L, not a very good defender, and his offense is predicated on slashing-- which we all know works real well in FIBA. This guy shouldn't even be invited to camp. Put Mike Miller in instead.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Memo to Zach Bolno in the Wizards' p.r. office. Clip and save this for Gilbert. He has another doubter.

Jay (NY): Why isn't Hinrich on this list?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Hinrich met with Colangelo, but they never spoke again. Draw your own conclusions.

Yorkis (Philly): Where's the veteran PG? I know Kidd said no, but why not Sam Cassell? Gotta have 1 veteran PG...

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: The veteran point guard who was in the mix but wasn't chosen was Baron Davis, plus Jason Kidd said no. It certainly appears as though the lack of a classic ballhandler might be one of their weaknesses, and you can be certin a few foreign teams will be stashing a strong on-the-ball defender on their rosters for possible use against the U.S. team.

Binh (Vancouver): Why do you need a veteran point guard? Chris Paul will have 3 years of the NBA under his belt by the time Beijing rolls around.. Truth!

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: And Chris Paul might be the fastest point guard in the tournament, unless you want to debate Tony Parker's quickness vs. CP's.

Bill: Why isn't Mike Miller on this list? He would be perfect for FIBA--great shooter & ball handler? And wouldn't complain about playing less & inconsistent minutes, another underrated aspect of putting team US together.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Mike is too deficient in other areas of his game to make the cut for the national team. Same with Kyle Korver, Salim Stoudamire and some of the other best pure shooters in the U.S. They'll have Kobe and LeBron, who can both shoot it, and they'll probably have Pierce and/or Joe Johnson in reserve. That should take care of the U.S. team's most glaring weakness from Athens.

Tyler (Ca): Why put Redick and Morrison on the team? I would've thought that they didn't want Iverson because all he does is shoot, but so do these guys.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: They want to bring a few select young guys into the program early so they get a feel for it. LeBron, Carmelo, DWade, Jefferson and AI went into the 2004 Olympics having no clue what was in store for them in terms of the quality of the competition and the anti-American sentiment that often manifests itself during games, whether it be the crowd's behavior or the referees' biases. If you bring Redick, Morrison and Dwight Howard along to Japan as your three inactive players, they'll see what these tournaments are all about without having to be immediately tossed into the fire.

Mateen (Chicago): Besides Iverson and Odom, who do you think was the biggest Olympics snub?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: A guy nobody talks about, and a guy they didn't even consider: Mike Bibby. I believe it's due to lingering resentment over Bibby being one of the many guys who bailed out in 2004.

David (Shreveport, La): Whats the deal with guys like Garnett and McGrady always saying they will not play? Neither one of these guys have ever done a thing for team USA, yet Garnett is always refered to as "such a great citizen". What gives?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: KG won a gold medal in Sydney. McGrady played for the Olympic qualifying team in 2003, then bailed out in 2004.

vin (new york): please tell me that shawn marion will make the team. He has all the things team usa needs. Rebounding, defense, toughness, he is a great player, and the usa needs him

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: As far as I can tell, he's a lock. I also think he should have started over Jefferson in Athens.

Brion (Denver): If you are talking pure PGs for the USA squad, why not consider Andre Miller. The guy is definitely underappreciated.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Andre played for the US in 2002, when he and Baron Davis were the point guards. I do not believe he was given much consideration this time.

bryan (wisconsin): do you see redd as a lock for the team seeing he is a great shooter and was a sixth man and role player early in his career?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: He's a lock for Beijing, I'd think, but he won;t be going to Japan because he's getting married right in the middle of the tournament. Chauncey Billups also won't be going to Japan becasue his wife is due to give birth to their third child.

nate (new hampshire): do you see both bowen and j. howard on the final roster?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I think Bowen has a very good chance of being on the 2006 active roster, while Josh would be the man to fill that role in 2008.

Tom (Chicago): I credit them for naming Bowen to the team. He's exactly what they need and he has some insight as to how to stop Ginobli.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Frankly, that's why he's on the list. There are a lot of players in the NBA who consider Bowen a dirty player, and some of them are on this roster, too. But even if Bowen can lock down Manu, the other four players have to defend as a unit. In Athens, the Argentines back-picked the Americans to pieces and broke the game open with layup after layup in the semifinals.

JJ, PR: Do you think Shaq will commit for Japan?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I never underestimate O'Neal's potential for pulling a Shaq Surprise.

Tony (Nebraska): What about Kobe?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Good question, and it'll be a big one for this team. He'll be a 30 minute player for the U.S., and he'll defend as hard as Bowen, but will his personality clash with that of his teammates? We'll see.

John (Portland, ME): Any unexpected players make the roster in your mind?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Ridnour is the guy that sticks out. I've always been a pretty solid supporter of his, but not to the degree where I believe he's top-chelon enough to be the PG for the US team.

Trevor (Mission Viejo, CA): How can Coach K get the US team mentally prepared for the biased referees they are sure to run into? A lot of these guys are used to getting "superstar" calls from NBA refs.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Gregg Popovich tried to get that very thought into the heads of the '04 team, and his message sometimes fell on deaf ears. The refs were merciless on Duncan in Athens, and they called some sort of technical jump ball violation against Antonio McDyess late in the 2000 semifinal against Lithuania that allowed Jasikevicius to get off the potential game-winner. What Coach K has to get them to do is expect the worst, cuz they'll certainly see it.

Tim (San Antonio): Presuming that Bowen's role is passed on to one of the other guys in 2008, since he'll be 35(?) then, do you think that Duke grad Battier has the inside track over Howard, since this is Coach K's team?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Interesting question, Tim. I think a lot will depend on how each of them develops over the next two NBA seasons. Battier sometimes seems as though he's already plateaued. Howard is vastly underrated.

larry (texas): Why was tim duncan not included in the list (at least he should have a standing invitation like shaq)

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Tim Duncan will never, ever, ever, ever play another game refereed by officials from FIBA. His departing words in Athens were: "FIBA sucks."

Jay (NY): Why did Team USA pass over Mike D'Antoni as coach to give the reins to Coach K? With all due respect to Coach K, he's never had to handle pro athletes before, nor does he have the international game pedigree that D'Antoni does.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Uh, Jay, Mike D'Antoni is Coach K's lead assistant.

Mat (Scottsdale, AZ): When does the final roster come out?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: When they finish camp in Las Vegas in early August and get on a plane for Asia with 15 guys, three of whom will be inactive for the Worlds.

JJ - Wenatchee, WA: Isn't Billups a good enough veteran point guard for you?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Again, JJ, Chauncey is not going to Japan because his wife is due to have a baby. If he was going, he'd be perfect. But he isn't.

Tom (Chicago): Iverson was the only player who wanted to be there last time. I think it's disrespectful and disgraceful that he won't even be invited for the tryout. He deserves that at least.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: That's not fair to the other guys on that team. They did want to be there. The guys who didn't want to go were the guys who bailed out.

Drew (Philly): There seems to be a ton of sentiment for Iverson to be on Team U.S.A. Is there a chance Colangelo will change his mind and add Iverson to the roster or is the roster set in stone?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I imagine we'll have to wait and see, and we'll have to factor in what AI and JC say about the situation in the days ahead.

Rick (Selah, Wa.): Why did Ben Wallace not get picked?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Ben met with Jerry Colangelo in Oklahoma City at the same time as the other three Pistons, Hamilton, Billups and Tayshaun Prince. Ben was the least eager, because he really didn't enjoy his experience on the U.S. team in 2002. Opponents found ways to make the Americans put the ball in his hands late in the shot clock, and they'd dare him to shoot from 12 feet. Ben's game is not at all suited to the international style of play.

Tim (San Antonio): Is there any concern about age, considering all these players will be 2 1/2 years (and seasons) older in 2008? Bowen, Pierce, Bryant, Brand, Miller, Billups, Jamison, Battier, Marion and certainly Shaq (if he is added) will have a lot of wear on the tires by then...

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: The 22-man list is not final. Quite the contracy, it will remain flud between now and 2008 and will evolve as circumstances merit.

Drew (Philly): Has the World really come that far in the last 10 years that the U.S. has to play International type hoops. Why can't we take it to the rest of the world like Dream Team 1 & 2?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: The rest of the world has really caught up. Do you realize Slovenia will have five NBA players, two NBA draft picks and a team captain, Marko Milic, who also played in the NBA. And that's just little Slovenia. There are NBA players on almost all of the top-level teams from around the world, the notable exception being Italy.

Mike (CT): Do you know hy Richard Hamilton and Ray ALlen didn't want to be on Team USA?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Rip was worried about fatigue. He expects to be playing into late June. With ray, I imagine Kobe Bryant being on the roster might have had something to do with it.

Reggie (Orlando): The lack of bigs seems to be a concern. Brad Miller is the only true center and the other options (i.e. Dwight, Bosh, Amare) aren't really centers. . .your thoughts?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: Sometimes we all get a little too caught up in whether a big guy is a true center. The most improtatnt thing for the American big guys will be their ability and willingness to go out on the perimeter and defend. If they don't, the big guys from overseas will all make them pay from behind the 3-point arc.

Sean (Los Angeles): I love the pick of Rashard Lewis. It seems like he creates one of the biggest mismatches w/ other countries, as most don't have his size/touch. Is he a lock?

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: I don't see him as a lock, but rather an a very interesting bubble guy, But I'd disagree with the stament that other teams don't have players with his combination of size and touch. That's exactly what the other teams' big men have. The quality that Lewis possesses to set himself apart is athleticism.

Nick (MN): Do you think it will be a cakewalk in 08? This team clearly will have the best player AND starting 5 in the world.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: The days of the cakewalk are over, especially in the medal rounds. The Americans' only preliminary round cakewalk will be Senegal.

Gavin (Toronto): Bosh has to be an integral part of this team. The perfect inside-outside forward, and his speed and strength should cause nightmares for opposing teams.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: That's why he's on it, Gavin, and that's why I considered him a lock in the Q and A piece I wrote earlier today. For those of you who haven't seen it, please give it a read.

SportsNation Chris Sheridan: That's all for this afternoon, folks. My fingers hurt from all this typing. We'll chat again soon. Over and out.

03-02-2006, 02:54 AM
Haha...didn't sneak in a question this time eh?

03-02-2006, 03:06 AM
Haha...didn't sneak in a question this time eh?

Hehehe... I wasn't able to follow any of the Hollinger/Ford/Sheridan chats live this week, but hopefully I can get some some more questions from "Matt (Dallas, TX)" answered in the near future :D ...