Smack / Aug 25, 2008 / 12:32 am

Recapping the Beijing Olympics, Rebuilding Team USA for 2012, and would you hire Dennis Rodman?

D-WadeD-Wade (photo. Chad Griffith)

Like a boxer who just lost a hard-fought 12-rounder against an opponent who he realizes may be unbeatable to him, Pau Gasol is thinking retirement. Asked if he’d play in next summer’s FIBA EuroBasket tournament in Poland, Gasol told reporters after the USA/Spain gold medal game, “Maybe I’ll be there as a TV commentator.” Like Dirk, Pau may be looking at his NBA championship window as one that won’t be open forever, and with his international resume more than Hall of Fame worthy with an Olympic silver, a World Championship gold, and undeniable status as one of the best in the FIBA game, can step away from representing his country with his head up … Manu Ginobili, also nursing wounds from the Olympic tourney, said he has squared everything away with Gregg Popovich. “I talked to Pop, and he’s definitely fine,” Ginobili said. “He understands the whole situation. He understands the way I feel about all of this (playing for Argentina). I bet my ass that if Pop was a player, he’d have done the same thing. I’m totally sure about what I’ve done. I’m proud and I’m happy.” Pop may understand, but he can’t be happy about it. The Southwest Division is gonna be murderous next year — Houston improved with the Ron Artest trade, New Orleans improved with the James Posey signing, and Dallas has a whole year to mesh with Jason Kidd — and the Spurs need Manu ready to go for as many games as possible … And you have to wonder how the Bulls feel about Andres Nocioni playing through knee tendinitis in the bronze medal game (he still put up 14 points and eight boards). Although with the way Chicago’s front office has been running things for the last couple of years, they may not even be aware that Noce was in Beijing … We’ll be the first to admit Juan Carlos Navarro was dope in the gold medal game, sticking teardrop runners all over the place and generally making life miserable for Deron Williams, but people need to calm down putting J.C. up there with guys like Manu as an NBA contributor. Navarro didn’t do anything in the Olympic bracket before Sunday — he shot 20% from three and his only other double-digit scoring game was against Angola — and the big moments when he played for the Grizzlies were few and far between. Navarro can be good as an NBA player, and you could say his talents were wasted in Memphis and he’d be better on a contending team, but let’s not go stitching his All-Star jersey yet after one game … We’ve seen a lot of nit-picking (just call it hating) on Team USA since the gold medal game. If that’s you, take a second and realize what it looks like to criticize a team who just went unbeaten against the best in the world, winning most of their games by at least 30 points and winning their penultimate contest by double digits. Fault-finding after the fact just looks silly. And yes, we’d say the same thing if it was Spain, Argentina, Lithuania or anyone else running through the Olympics unscathed. You don’t see anyone still hating on the Chinese gymnastics team, do you? Wait, that was a bad example … So looking ahead to London 2012, you’ve gotta think anyone on this year’s U.S. squad who wants in should get a spot just out of respect. We can see Carmelo, LeBron, Chris Bosh, Kobe, Dwight Howard, D-Wade, Chris Paul and Deron being down. But J-Kidd will be almost 40 by then, so it’s doubtful he’ll even be playing anymore. If Tayshaun has four more years of deep playoff runs under his belt, he might opt out. Mike Redd is going to look older than he actually is (33) at that point, but we can see him taking a pass nonetheless. And Carlos Boozer? After two straight Olympics of not getting much PT, he might just take his gold medal and call it a FIBA career. So if those four sports are open, who gets them? Rajon Rondo would look good in that third PG spot, maybe even Derrick Rose or Monta Ellis. Redd’s sniper role can be handed to Kevin Durant or Gilbert Arenas. Tayshaun’s lock-down D/glue guy steez, that can be Josh Smith or Josh Howard. And Boozer can be replaced by Amare, Elton Brand or Mike Beasley. And don’t count out KG wanting to make a career-capping run for gold … If you’ve picked up Dime’s Olympic issue, you saw our Beijing “Players 2 Watch” feature. Looking back at how our picks fared: Kobe averaged 15 points per and was the story of the gold medal game; Chinese PG Liu Wei put up 8.5 ppg, including 19 in the near-upset of Spain; Australia PG C.J. Bruton went for 6.5 points and three assists per, with a 22-point, six-dime showing against Russia, although his thunder was stolen by Patty Mills (who we also profiled in the issue); Iran’s Hamed Ehadadi made more waves with the mini-furor caused over whether he could negotiate with NBA teams, but the 7-2 giant managed 16.6 points and 11.2 boards on the court, giving everyone from Argentina to Lithuania the business; Andrei Kirilenko put up 15.8 points, 6.4 boards, 3.4 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.2 blocks, but his defending European champion Russian squad was a disappointment as they failed to make the medal round; Angolan PF Eduardo Mingas was good for 15.2 ppg, posting 24 on Dirk and 23 on Greece; Pau Gasol did his thing to the tune of 19.6 points and seven boards a night (on 65% from the field), with a 31-point showing against Angola and a 29-spot against China … And then there was Rudy Fernandez (13.1 ppg). The gold medal game only confirmed that Blazers’ followers should be giddy they’re getting that guy (we still can’t get over that cram on Dwight Howard), but some people in Portland are more preoccupied by Boston signing Darius Miles. Oregonian reporter John Canzano writes, “Anyone else think Danny Ainge is employing some strategy here or working with another NBA team to try and sabotage the Blazers’ salary-cap flexibility? Yeah, me too.” If D-Miles plays 10 games for Boston on those alleged toothpicks-and-Elmer’s-glue knees, the Blazers have to pay him, which doesn’t look good for their cap space. “Could Boston be angling for a free agent handled by Miles’ agent? Could another Western Conference team be encouraging Ainge to make this happen to keep the Blazers down?” Canzano asked. We’re guessing “No” on that agent question, seeing as the other listed clients of D-Miles’ guy are Larry Hughes and Q-Rich … Before heading to Italy to play with Premiata Montegranaro, Shawn Kemp dropped 25 points and 16 boards in a 3BA game at KeyArena over the weekend. A couple variables to consider: 3BA is played on a 72-foot long court, with an 18-second shot clock and 22-foot three-point line, and most of the players we’ve heard of who are involved are above-average to average former college guys. The game was on TV in some West Coast locales, and the reports we heard from our correspondents is that The Reignman is looking bald and pudgy, and 3BA coach A.C. Green looked like he could have run his ass out of the gym. Kemp said he’s back to his playing weight from the Sonics’ NBA Finals run, about 250-260, but at this point we’ve accepted that Shawn Kemp Jr. — a up-and-coming high schooler in Georgia — will play in the NBA before he dad does again … Dennis Rodman is going to be on Season Two of “Celebrity Apprentice.” Would you EVER hire Worm to work for you in any field besides basketball? Who’s gonna write his letter of recommendation, Jack Haley? … We’re out like plotting to get Q-Rich …

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  • bill

    boomers in 2012 ha ha

  • J-Lod

    First! congratulations to team USA..i gotta agree wit u guys. the cram by fernandez over howard was just sick..wonder what rudy have to say to howard next time they rub shoulders in the L..after seeing Ricky Rubio, i can’t much understand the hype surrounding this boy, he can’t shoot a lick, his passing is just OK..don’t think he’ll be the 1st pick in 09..i’m out like bulls not noticing noce in beijing..

  • http://www.dimemag.com A-Slam

    i need to see this poster on howard, i cant find it on youtube

  • K.i.n.G.

    i dunno about you j-lod but ricky rubio is 17 years old and was giving guys like potential mvp chris paul, future hall of famer j. kidd, and deron williams (who is clearly on the same plateau as chris paul) the business, i remember one play where he crossed one of those three, sliced the entire USA team for the easy right handed finger roll….NASTY. I’m out like all the 17 year old kids who can give US trouble……

  • David_Brandon

    man, gotta love hoop.

    the olympics gold medal game, reignman’s ass gettin tick again, darius miles wanted by a winning squad (which is still a little shady lookin’), rudy fernandez gettin off for a game that really mattered, mike redd lookin like redd foxx…you gotta love hoop man…

  • K.i.n.G.

    maaann i feel bad for redd and boozer, 26 seconds each in what was supposed to be the game of their lives. I would feel like shit not helping my team in any way in the one game that would get them the gold

  • J-Lod

    this is my team for the olympics

    First Team
    G- Dwyane Wade
    G- Kobe
    F- Lebron
    F- Scola
    C- Pau Gasol

    Second Team
    G- Sarunas Jasekivicius
    G- Manu Ginobili
    F- Carmelo Anthony
    F- Kirilenko
    C- Bogut/ Yao

    what u guys think?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Why is no one talking about Patty Mills? He gave CP and those guys the business more than Rubio, and he’s only like 19.

  • Ian

    since u dont really have a pg i assume u r letting lebron be the ball handler so i put wade on the bench for manu

    manu
    kobe
    bron
    scola
    pau

  • snoop_robb

    damn straight Austin! Patty Mills was killin it against the US, and played really well through out the Olympics. I can def see him hittin a NBA court some time soon..

  • Bruce

    So Shawn Go!

  • http://www.myspace.com/verbose1 sans

    Patty Mills doesn’t look for his team enough, and Rubio doesn’t look for his shot enough, but both players are ridiculous.

    And whoever that agent your referring to is–hire him immediately. That dude is way to good at his job to be repping Larry Hughes.

  • luke

    Rubio was nice, anyone see at the end of the gold meal game CP3

  • luke

    oops got cut off there…

    but CP3 tried to throw some and1 moves on Rubio in the last 30secs or so and got STRIPPED, too bad Ricky missed the reverse layin at the other end. But seriously he’s only 17 and oozes talent

  • http://www.myspace.com/verbose1 sans

    3BA ball is also full court 3 0n 3. Lots of easy looks for everybody….before he dad does? Yall need an intern that can read to spell check for you sometime…

  • josh tha roc

    top 5 pgs 2012:
    CP3
    DWill
    Rose
    Mills
    Rubio.

  • Ashlov

    Nice use on the word “penultimate”, pretty sure that’s the first and last time I’ll ever see that used in a sports article.

  • BALLZ

    JC Navarro is no Manu, but go back and peep the stats, Manu only averaged 7.6 ppg his first year in the L. Takes guys a while to adjust no matter if their run was Europe, college or NBDL the year before.

  • Tha Boddy

    LoL @ josh the roc
    How bout you remove those last 3PG’s and replace them with Agent Zero who will only be about what 30 and looking like he has 4more prime years left B-Diddy who will still be doing his thing and I could honestly say B-Roy who will move 2 PG in favor of Rudy F at the SG spot…Funny how 1 good summer gets ppl going.

  • Ansonious

    Does anyone else think that Jerry Sloan looks like he could be AK-47 long lost father? It would explain why he’s still in Utah ha ha ha ha ha

  • doc

    Ian I got love for overseas players.Its just i had to vent yesterday because the team that was winning every game wasnt getting no love from dudes,but any and everybody who had 10points and up against us in a game got 1rst pick of the draft status.All Im saying is lets see what dudes can do in the league.This Olympic shit is totally different.NBA rules and we might’ve won every game by 50.And Kemp aint coming back to the league.We all know his skills aint there no more.How old is he anyway like 40.Please with the Kemp recaps fellas.If it aint a coaching job or his death its not news anymore.

  • schoops

    I’d be proud of being the 12th man on the olympic gold medal basketball team.

  • http://www.barackobama.com Jim

    Only problem is “penultimate” means 2nd to last, not last. Though they did beat Argentnia by double digits, so that’s aight. But yeah, and I’m in before Austin, reminding you that Parker will stay be a kid in 2012.

  • http://www.barackobama.com Jim

    ^^ Exactly right, Schoops.

  • ERIC

    I don’t think KG will go for a career capping GOLD when he already has one from the 2000 Olympics.

  • doc

    You never know who gonna play for us in 2012.We produce ballers like Columbia produce coke.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Jim beat me to it. Tony Parker will (still) be Top-5 in 2012. I’m gonna wait and see on Rubio. Remember a 17-year-old kid named Sebastian Telfair once had this kind of hype.

  • doc

    My top points in 2012-CP3,D-Will,Hopefully D-Rose,TP9,and whoever the point of the Sixers.But besides the certified stars now you cant really say.In 03 who would’ve put D-Will and CP3 there.Its to much turnover every year to know who gonna be the nicest in 4 yars.It might be the next Lebron with a Kyle Korver jumpshot in 8th grade right now for all we know.

  • Dagomar

    All I’ll say is that if Greg Oden lives up to even part of the hype, he needs to be on that 2012 team. One of the few things the Redeem Team lacked was a big, defensive-minded centre (and no, Howard does not play acceptable defense yet). A 280 pound Oden would make sure guys like Marc Gasol don’t park their ass in the paint.

  • http://www.nerditry.com nerditry

    How do you leave Oden out of that list? We saw that Dwight so far is not ready for the international game like Bosh is and looked both lost and frustrated. Greg would be a perfect international player and makes a deadly lineup to counter the lineups we saw by including Durant.

    As well, Wade may call it a day by then for the Olympics (prolly not, though) and I’d really like to see Brandon Roy take a spot.

  • djKianoosh

    check Kobe out puttin a move on australia…
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3091/2782444889_081ed0a6b1_b_d.jpg

    impressive.

    London will be a very big showcase for Team USA. By that time we may be a lot closer to realizing a European NBA division. you never know.

    manu will be fine. he just needs a couple months rest like he got before the olympics. but that ankle is now prone to re-injury. so he just needs to learn how to either strengthen it to prevent a recurrence or maybe have surgery to fix it or just learn how to avoid that kind of hard cut.

  • Big Sneezy

    My crystal ball tells me that Ricky Rubio will get strangled in practice Sprewell-style when he pulls that “shooing away the defender’s hand” crap against the wrong guy.

  • Tom S.

    For designated sniper on the 2012 team, how about Boobie Gibson? For clutch abilities, see Game 6, 2007 ECF.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @nerdity — Let’s make sure Oden can play a whole NBA season without getting hurt before we put him on Team USA. But I do agree that there should be an defensive-minded center on the list. Maybe Tyson Chandler or Jermaine O’Neal if he could still play.

  • M Intellect

    Yo Big Sneezy – I thought I was the only one that saw Ricky Rubio, pull that shit on Deron Williams! Deron looked like he was gonna D-Block him.

    I can so see Fernandez becoming the second Manu – Awkward style, athletic in a weird way and annoys people but is so well-rounded and generally great.

  • Young Lebron 23

    @ 3 look on Google images or something. Nasty slam.
    @ Intellect Fernandez doesn’t have an awkward type of game. With the slams he does, he is exciting look at him on youtube

  • Celts Fan

    Top 5 PGs in 2012:
    CP3, Deron, Tony Parker,

    the last 2 should be filled by 2 of the following guys:
    Gil (not a fan of his game, too selfish for my liking, but respect where it’s due, the man is SICK)
    Rose (if he’s as good as they think, it’s him)
    Rubio (he’s legit, he needs to prove himself in the NBA, but he proved enough in Beijing, that I don’t see why not)
    Brandon jennings (a less proven, but American, version of Rubio)
    Rajon Rondo (if all of the young guys above don’t live up to their potential, and/or he keeps developing that jumper to the point it’s at least average, there’s no reason why not.)
    Mike Conley (we’ll see this year if he’s got what it takes. We should at least see some flashes of brilliance…)

    My guess is at the time, it’s Rose and Gil filling out the top 5, followed by Rondo, Conley, then the youngsters Rubio & Jennings (who’ll be climbing the ladder, but not yet at those heights in 2012.)

    *of course this ignores anyone not yet in the league besides those guys, but if you’re not even on the mainstream map yet, it’d be tough to be a top 5 in the NBA level PG within 4 years.

    *Brandon Roy won’t be playing point Tha Boddy (at least not full time,) that’ll be handled by Jerryd Bayless, and Baron is too injury plagued to think he can be a top 5 PG then unless 2012 is a contract year.

  • K.i.n.G.

    brandon roy will probably play the point along side jerryd and then they’ll switch on the defensive end. you saw what bayless did in summer league….that ain’t no point guard, that’s just a dude who will fill it up in the scoring columns!

  • Celts Fan

    true, BUT Jerryd’ll technically be a point guard even if Brandon dominates the ball. No one’s calling DWade a point in Miami, even though he does the same thing.

  • bsteezy3

    Would I hire Dennis Rodman?? Hell Yeah! OH, in a field other than basketball…HELL NO!!!

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Rodman: Takes his 15-minute break and flies to Vegas.

  • BxBaller

    I knew Team USA would win the gold, all the US haters need to get a life. Are you guys serious, Rondo on Team USA in 2010, yeah right. Ricky Rubio is overrated. But that Rudy Fernandez kid is a baller.

  • josh tha roc

    lmao AB so funny cos its true