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Smack / Sep 11, 2010 / 1:19 am

Team USA prepares for Lithuania; Jordan takes another gamble

Danny Granger (photo. Stephen Hill)

We’re all the way to the Final Four of the World Championship, and it’s still not clear whether Team USA is simply way better than almost everybody, or if they’ve yet to get a truly tough test (beyond the Brazil game). After today’s semifinal there won’t be any doubt, though. Lithuania has been ballin’ in the WC, going undefeated and coming off a surprisingly easy smashing of Argentina. Linas Kleiza is playing out of his mind, averaging 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds … Can Danny Granger get some PT today? He was the only guy to catch a DNP-CD in the Russia game, which probably had something to do with Kevin Durant rarely leaving the floor, and not — like some readers have (we think) seriously suggested — because Granger represents Indiana and Coach K is still hating on Butler. Against a Lithuania team whose strength is on the wings and in the frontcourt, we’d imagine Granger should see some burn … Spain wasn’t supposed to play yesterday. Not when it was consolation day in Turkey, not when Ricky Rubio, Marc Gasol, J.C. Navarro and crew were supposed to be getting ready for Saturday’s semis. So you can understand why they might have started the game against Slovenia slowly, but eventually got their act together and proceeded to blow out an inferior opponent … It was actually just a two-point game going into the fourth quarter, but Navarro took over down the stretch as Spain dominated and won by 17. If Navarro (26 pts, 7 asts) is only going to be happy in the NBA playing with his boy Pau Gasol, have the Lakers put their bid in? Would you take Navarro over Steve Blake as your backup PG to Derek Fisher? Or how about in that backup SG spot instead of Shannon Brown? … It’d be easy to look at Rubio’s underwhelming stat lines (3 pts, 5 asts, 2 stls) and start carving his statue for the LaRue Martin Memorial NBA Bust Hall of Fame, but remember, he’s still only 19 years old. And Rubio plays the kind of game where success isn’t measured in stats … The other team who wasn’t supposed to be playing yesterday, Argentina, took care of business in their consolation game by beating Russia. Luis Scola got back to the business of destroying the comp, putting up 27 points (11-19 FG), while Carlos Delfino added 26 points, 7 boards, 3 steals and 5 threes … Darius Miles isn’t finished yet. After getting a couple whiffs of interest during the summer, he accepted a training-camp invite from the Bobcats. Between Miles (who is only 28) and Kwame Brown, Michael Jordan is really thinking he can salvage anything. Who’s next, Stanley Roberts? … Joe Smith isn’t done, either. He signed on with the Nets, where he’ll mentor Derrick Favors and hopefully take all of his money over the table. That’s eight teams now for the #1 pick in the ’95 Draft, and since it looks like Joe will be able to play forever, he might pass Drew Gooden before he’s through … We’re out like Stanley Roberts …

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  • Justice

    wtf is mike doing?

  • johnny rocket

    If I were lakers, I`d take navarro over any back up at pg or sg that they already have. I would even start him over fisher. He would automatically become the best shooter on the team, one of the best decision makers, and one of the most clutch. Ya I said it, fish doesn’t hold a candle to navarro in terms of being clutch, anyone who disagree’s needs more exposure to euroleagues and fiba players.

    Navarro is a proven winner, except when you throw him on a bum Memphis team with a combined basket ball IQ less than derrick rose’s sat score. No wonder euro players don’t like coming to the NBA, American players for all their athletic gifts are by far the dumbest bball players in the world. Why leave a well oiled machine to join a disorganized group of selfish players.

  • zalmat

    agree with johnny rocket

  • Soopa

    Navarro would be a huge upgrade over Brown! I really dont hope Pau can lure him over again, because i really hate the Lakers and they would be so much better with La Bomba…

  • http://luckylester.com luckylester

    What does Mike have to lose with the Miles invite? He might not have much to gain, but if Miles has removed his head from ass, that could be a solid pick-up. He’s got good size and can do some things for a team that lacks some athleticism. Trading Tyson Chandler for two worse players with almost equal bad contracts, that I don’t get. But DM, nothing to lose there. He doesn’t work out, just cut him.

  • Chise

    cosign johnny rocket

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    You guys do realize that MJ isn’t the GM or pres of operations? He’s the majority owner. He doesn’t make those type of decisions. Now when it comes to big money contracts and things like that, then sure Mike deserves a big part of that blame now that he is majority owner.

  • ab40

    Darius Miles was a jordan brand guy together with quinton richardson. aah the good times when the clippers were a young team on the rise.. oh wait

  • Me

    I’d take Blake over Navarro.
    Blake is an outstanding backup pg. Better than at least 5-10 current starting pgs.
    And why would u want a player that u would have to appease because he’s one of your stars’ boys? U already gotta do that with fisher because of Kobe.

  • Dayinho

    Navarro would be great in triangle offense! Agree with 2. Way better than Blake et Brown.

  • fLaVa

    I’d take blake over navarro because Navarro is a jacker and takes some pretty bad shots when hes on the floor, he gets away with it when hes with Spain but i dont think it will cut it with the Lakers. BUT Navarro is prob an upgrade over Shannon brown.

    I highly doubt Navarro will go LA especially with his last stint in the NBA and also his Spain teammate Rudy Fernandez wants out of the NBA also. Nav will stay being a rockstar in Spain.

  • LiamG

    Joe Smith must live out of a suitcase.

  • Young C

    Damn, I can’t believe Miles is only 28! It seems like he’s been in the league like forever.

  • KL

    You folks thinking Navarro would be a great Laker fit are fooling themselves. The reason Blake and Fisher work, they know how to play as the 4th or 5th scoring option. Navarro is effective only with the ball in his hands and playing 30+ minutes.. So not going to happen in LA.

  • jzsmoove

    Putting another whiny faced jacker on the Lakers aint gonna help any matters over there. nah, i dont buy it.

  • Scott

    does anyone have a link for todays semi final games?

  • Qrentis

    Navarro is decent.. and if y’all ain’t aware of Chicago terms that means good..

    But.. Shannon Brown and I went to the same highschool and that boy is talented.. so ill take my boy Shannon..

    But ill take Navarro over Blake in an heart beat.. or just replace the Machine “sasha” with Navarro..

  • Mtx

    Next one for Charlotte is Stromile Swift

  • K Dizzle

    Blake or Navarro?

    Doesn’t matter cuz they both an upgrade over Farmar…

  • K Dizzle

    Durant got 14 of the US’s 18 points.
    Dude is a monster!

  • bobby stew

    @SCOTT try this
    http://espn.go.com/nba/

  • K Dizzle

    I love D Rose but his jumper is terrible today.
    Off the glass? No rim?
    damn….

  • UncheckedAggression

    I’m not really feeling Rose in this format at all.

  • UncheckedAggression

    And Durant… Wow. The guy is unstoppable. Can’t wait to see him play on the next olympic team.

  • Scott

    Thanks Bobby …. unfortunately I can’t access ESPN3 in Canada.

    Anyone know of a link to watch the semi’s in Canada?

  • K Dizzle

    Not really his style of play.
    Most success comes to post players who can do work down low and catch n shoot specialists.
    Kinda suits Durant perfectly. 36 points so far; just killin.
    Don’t understand how Granger n Curry can’t get minutes…

  • K Dizzle

    @ Scott

    atdhe.net

  • tom

    WOW, curry outplayed rose in exactly 1 min of pt.

    I’m glad coach K finally realized that rose is a terrible fiba player and benched him most of the second half.

    btw, what was he thinking going up with that weak layup, only to get embarrassed by the lithuanian player. If that was westbrook, he would have posterized him.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Odom fits really well though. He’s the epitome of what a good euroleague player should be–strong, skilled, and very smart. He can guard big guys that want to play down low or hang out on the perimeter. He’s also unselfish.

    Rose tries too much one on one. The defenses are geared towards helping once he beats his guy. And of course he’s still not a good shooter. Watching him pout on the sidelines kinda pissed me off too. If you wanna be on the floor, fucking earn it.

  • Mtx

    @UncheckedAggression

    Odom smart? Isn’t he the guy that once threw a pass to the referee? Who threw a pass to Vujacic on the bench? Who dribbled inbounds? Who went to the opposite team huddle?

  • UncheckedAggression

    Mtx–Using isolated examples of mistakes Odom has made doesn’t do anything to support your case. Odom has always been a very smart player. If you know basketball then you would know what I’m talking about, so I’m gonna leave it at that.

  • tom

    @unchecked aggression FTW

  • Stunnaboy09

    Odom is frustrating as hell, he can easily dominate a game ala Phoenix Suns series or he can just disappear. Not feeling him in FIBA though, too lanky to guard some bigs.

    Rose needs to slow down, Curry needs some PT or they run Billups and Gordon together.

  • Stunnaboy09

    And seriously if Evan Turner turn into something special, Iggy is gonna shine as a number 2 almost Pippen like. Amazing D on Kleiza today I was really impressed.

  • Phil Crackson

    I`m glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed Rose`s pouting. I think he actually believes his own hype, and that hes better than he really is. He was gifted an all star appearance, and a starting spot on the team and it’s gone straight to his head.

    Its funny how all the rondo haters said he was a whining baby after he quit the team, and that Rose was better, where are they all now? I guess off somewhere making up excuses for why their hero D-rose played so terribly.

    Where are you chicagorilla, what are you going to say today? Rose brilliantly ran the offense and played within the system. ahahahah

    The guy is soft, plain and simple. Without NBA marketing and star treatment from NBA refs, he wouldn’t be anything.

    On another note, all the fools saying KD is overhyped, come on, this man is carrying team USA by himself. At least he’s WORKING towards earning the hype. Rose on the other hand, is doing everything to lose his.

  • Skeeter McGee

    Johnny Rocket’s point may be one of the best posts I’ve ever seen on DIME haha.

    I’ve always thought something like that, but you put it in the right words…

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    Had BBall tryouts for my org so I couldn’t watch the game, but i’m guessing we (USA) won again.

    @UncheckedAG
    As for Rose, well i didn’t see it so i can’t speculate, but I guarantee he wasn’t pouting about being on the sidelines, he’s not even that type of guy. You had to have read the body language wrong. That kid barely even complains to the Refs when he’s getting beat on his way to the lane and he’s humble. So I can’t see him doing some pouting over playing time…or anything for that matter

  • UncheckedAggression

    Chicagorilla–Honestly I kinda like Rose too, so I hope I did read his body language wrong. Maybe he was mad at himself. But he definitely looked down on the bench while USA was making a run in the second half. Everyone around him was cheering and looking excited.

    Whoever said they didn’t like Odom in the WC–What games have you been watching? Dude has been one of the only consistent bright spots for the US. He boards up, plays D, finds the open man, and scores. If you don’t like Odom on this team then Durant must be the only guy you support.

  • yuan

    lamar is the unsung hero

  • yuan

    if you really know basketball then you will appreciate what odom brings…. even coach k recognizes that, that is why he plays odom for 30mins per game the last two important games…a hall of fame coach to be surely knows what he is doing….

  • JAY

    After the Kwame, signing I actually called MJ bringing in Darius Miles.

    Post #11
    http://dimemag.com/2010/08/michael-jordan-re-signs-kwame-brown/

    That just proves if you talk enough shit, sometimes it comes true. Lol