Smack / Jul 21, 2010 / 12:44 am

Painful Start for Team USA

Amar'e Stoudemire (photo. King Lawrence)

David Lee is getting paid ($80 million), but he may not know what he’s getting into going to Golden State. Not to say there’s a curse on the franchise, but, well, No. 6 pick Ekpe Udoh has already gone down with a wrist injury that could put him out up to six months. And his replacement in the rotation will likely be Brandan Wright, who is about as durable as a cheap pinata.”That was nine days ago in Smack. Then, in his first real court time as a member of the Warriors — yesterday’s opening session the Team USA training camp — Lee suffered what was believed to be a serious right middle finger injury. Lee said the finger was “completely turned to the side” and guessed it could be a tendon issue or a dislocation, and was flown back to Cali to get it checked out. No word yet on if he’ll need surgery. And so far, no truth to the rumor that the Warriors have requested a protective bubble be placed around Stephen Curry for the rest of camp … Amar’e had to pull out of Team USA camp last-minute due to a problem with his insurance. Long story short, Amar’e could blow some of that $100 million if he blows out his knee again, and the Knicks don’t want to risk him getting hurt. Robin Lopez (back) is also out of action this week, and Blake Griffin (knee) declined an invitation … So the U.S. is now painfully thin in terms of big men: Right now it’s Brook Lopez, Tyson Chandler, JaVale McGee and maybe Kevin Love as the only potential centers … We’ve gone over how none of the ’08 Olympic squad is in Vegas right now and none will play in the World Championship, but here’s something crazy: Go back and look at the ’04 Olympic squad (the bronze medalists) and check their current national team status. Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury wouldn’t get invites right now if they worked in the USA Basketball mail room; Duncan probably wouldn’t suit up if Barack Obama himself asked; Shawn Marion and Richard Jefferson‘s days are behind them; and Emeka Okafor was as irrelevant in ’04 as Christian Laettner was in ’92 and has since dropped off Jerry Colangelo’s radar. The only guys from that team still in the USA program are LeBron, D-Wade, Amar’e, Boozer, ‘Melo and Lamar Odom, and a lot would have to happen for L.O. to make a major tournament roster again … And speaking of old memories, did you know Team USA hasn’t won gold at the World Championship since 1994? That was Dream Team 2, starring Young Shaq, Shawn Kemp, Larry Johnson (pre-Rick Ross beard), Reggie Miller, Dan Majerle, Joe Dumars (about 100 pounds ago), Derrick Coleman, Steve Smith and the rest. Raise your hand if you still have either the original “Dream Team 2″ video cassette, or one of those McDonald’s cups … Last year’s USA camp was Kevin Durant‘s unofficial breakout, and this summer he’ll be The Man on the national squad. Who’s going to blow up this week and flip that into a dominant NBA season? We’re liking Derrick Rose, but O.J. Mayo could also make some big strides in his game … It’s not just Team USA that will be lacking some star power, though. Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman announced yesterday that they’re both sitting out for Germany, Tony Parker is out for France, Manu Ginobili is out for Argentina, and Yao Ming is out for China, to name a few. The Dirk/Kaman hole is the biggest to fill. Are you putting money on a team where Jan Jagla is gonna have to get buckets? … We’re out like D-Lee …

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  • Bruce

    Am I first?

  • Bruce

    Off the record, Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is set to be released next Tuesday. For the record, fans waited 12 years for the sequel but the developer (Blizzard) did not disappoint for Starcraft 2 is a 3 part series!

  • Stunnaboy09

    Dayum, the World Championships are going to be pretty shite half the marquee guys are sitting out. Lopez and Chandler aren’t THAT bad of a big man combo but USA is going to be perimeter HEAVY.

    Breakout star? Look no further than Derrick Rose. He’s been improving the only shaky aspect of his game (jump shot), finally has some teammates to pad his assists totals (Korver of the screen and Boozer of the P-n-R are 5-6 assists between them) and he’s coming off a post season that saw him kill the Cavs for 27-7. Look for him to give Rondo a run for his money for the starting PG spot on the East.

  • Andre78

    didn’t know dime knows Jan Jagla :-D

  • B

    Don’t count out Germany yet, they still got Elias Harris, OKC Draft-Pick Tibor Pleiß and other young and talented Players with Robin Benzing and Heiko Schaffarzik

  • B

    @Andre78 das hat mich auch überrascht ;-)

  • quest???

    PUERTO RICO WILL BE THE NEW WORLD CHAMPS, OR FINISH SECOND. BOOK IT! IM CONFIDENT IN THIS TEAM.

  • Sambuu

    AK out for Russia

  • http://myspace.com/40sand9s Loc

    Joel Anthony is going into BEAST MODE for Canada!!!!!

  • Legend 33

    Damn poor Warriors, thought that the curse would follow Cohan out the door. Warriors are on the verge of signing local hero Jeremy Lin, if I were him I would stay away from his hometown team. He might hurt himself falling off a moped or something out in Oakland! LOL

  • pipdaddyy

    I love the German guys’ enthusiasm, but their team is not competitive. But really, the worst thing about the World Champs is the same thing that happened to the soccer World Cup: team ball is more important than national ball. In the World Cup, key players did play but were exhausted and not giving their best … in the World Champs key players are even being held out. Sad.

  • Soopa

    Durants game is gonna flurish in the international game, he is gonna dominate every game. I suspect Rondo could struggle, but if teams pack it in in a zone Durant will shoot them out of it!

    Pretty sure Hakeem could fill they hole at center better then whos the US got right now, its terrible! Tho Brooke could be the answer as a starter, but Tyson Chandler (No O and will probably get hurt) and McGee (a summerleague guy is the 2nd the states have to offer, yikes!) Kevin Love might be useable, but he isnt gonna dominate.

  • Peter

    I’m holding my breath that Chris Cohan doesn’t go for a final curtain call (before the Warriors’ sale receives final approval) and file a suit against David Lee for getting hurt. I’ll bet that he has his legal team investigating whether there was a moped parked at the gym: if there was he’ll claim that Lee is in collusion with Monta. Can’t wait for Cohan’s Curse to be GONE.

  • spit hot fiyah

    @ DIME i have just about every game on cassette that dream team 2 played in 94. It’s recorded on a european vcr, but should play on a vcr that takes both formats

  • spit hot fiyah

    and i think pau is not playing spain this year

  • Seamus

    I’ll be disappointed if Rondo doesn’t make the team. He carried the Celtics this year. I understand his game doesn’t really suit international competition but there isn’t a better PG on the squad at sharing the ball. The fact that the International teams are more physical and taller, Rondo’s pace will get him to the baseline and he’ll be able to pop the ball back to Durant, Evans, Curry etc to hit mid range jumpers and 3′s.

  • Diggity Dave

    I have all the Dream Team and Dream Team 2 McDonald’s cups. :)

  • Leoni

    I still have 3 McDonalds Cups: LJ, Smith and Coleman.

    Damn, im getting old.

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    Funny you mention Dream Team 2. I watched 3 of their World Championship games. It looked like they weren’t even trying. It’s truly amazing how much the rest of the world has bridged the gap.

  • Phileus

    Oh my God. America is screwed.

  • That’s What’s Up

    I almost threw up when you mentioned “The Dirk/Kaman hole”

  • http://richjanitorreviewed.org BV

    Even with a depleted roster, I think the USA will win it all comfortably…

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    @BV
    Comfortably huh? Please tell me you’re joking. At this point Argentina can beat them.
    If the US wins gold, it won’t be “comfortably”.

  • SJ

    I remember when the best players were privileged to represent their countries on the court. Now it’s all about the fear of getting injured and most of their contracts prohibit playing outside of their team. It’s pretty ridiculous and sad if you ask me.

  • MP3

    If Rondo doesn’t play, then Devin Harris should definitely take his spot. I was surprised McGee got an invite, good for him. As far as bigs remaining I can only think of David West, Al Jefferson & Paul Millsap getting invites. Darren Collison should get consideration too. BTW I remember I had Shaq & LJ cups, couldn’t finish my food but I had to have those cups.

  • Shakers

    Does anyone know if the World Championships will be going away from the trapezoid lane to an NBA rectangle lane? I heard a while back that they are doing away with the trapezoid. That would be very helpful for guys like Tyson Chandler.

  • jimmyjack

    While we’re talking Team USA, here’s a question: Why are LeBron, D-Wade and CB4 (CB1?) being criticized for deciding to play together in Miami and “avoiding the best competition,” but every summer we want 12 superstars to team up when it’s time for Team USA? Shouldn’t Kevin Durant play with 11 role players this summer so he can prove he’s competitive and not scared to be The Man? It’s not like the Olympics or the WC are meaningless exhibitions like the All-Star game. Why do we want stars to clearly be The Man on their “day job” but not for Team USA?

  • YeaEyeCEDit

    Why all the emoticons today?

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    Tyreke Evans needs an invite for the national squad.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Tyreke is at USA training camp.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    I did not know that. I just read that he was injured too.

  • JC

    I was laughing so hard watching Real Training Camp yesterday because Chauncey Billups said n**** a couple times while miked up during practice.

    SUCKS for David Lee. Hope he bounces back. Okafor could be a good international player though. He should definitely be reconsidered, now that our bigs are dropping like Richard Jefferson’s scoring average….

  • NYK freak

    I think they should invite Shaq, or maybe Erick Dampier plus Shawn Bradley to fill that gaping hole

  • star_bury

    You busted out a 100 pounds ago joke on Dumars with Kemp and Coleman sitting right there????

  • Stunnaboy09

    @JC

    Thought I was the only one who noticed, that shit was mad funny. That’s why the NBA should mic up more things, its comedy gold.