Thursday, August 28, 2014

Best Basketball Players in the World

Kevin Durant has pulled out of international basketball competition's U.S. team and few can blame him. Durant has been thinking about an NBA title for probably 10-12 years. 

The fact that the US team has lost some recent international tournaments only shows that basketball is a team sport which relies more on continuity of 10 or so players practicing and playing together full time and less on throwing together 10 of the best players in the world for 2-3 weeks.

It is a testament to my longtime assertion regarding Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski and their extreme success at coaching but (with 1-2 exceptions) abject failure to produce quality professional players. If you look at Duke and Indiana over the years, they both have a record of multiple NCAA tournament wins and Final Four appearances. But few NBA superstars have come from these college teams.

I have argued that it is because Knight and Krzyzewski play the game in such a way as to minimize single players who excel in favor of teamwork, sharing the ball and lack of a league-leading scorer.

As I've aged I no longer feel the need to prove anything that I know to be true. And I know that the United States has the best basketball players in the world. We don't need to win (or lose) a Gold Medal or FIBA tournament to convince me otherwise.

I wonder if instead of an all star team, the U.S. sent the NBA champions to play in the Olympics and FIBA world championships. Of course that wouldn't get much traction because it would mean that the members of the current NBA champion team wouldn't get enough rest between seasons. But how about sending the NCAA champions instead? Afterall, we know we have the best players in the world here. Who cares if we don't win it all?

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