Monday, March 06, 2006

Alternatives to "The Duke Plan"

The newest column should be going up any minute over at WhatifSports and I'm already anticipating the anti-Duke feedback. In the column, I brought back an old idea to field an all Duke Olympic team. Be sure to check it out. No doubt the chief concern with the plan (other than the fact that I am insane) is that people hate Duke. They wouldn't want a team of Blue Devils representing our country, they wouldn't want Duke to get the recruiting advantage that would come with such a system, and so on. I can live with that. Therefore, I am looking to get out in front of the system by throwing out a few alternatives. If you look at the last thread, you know we are having fun with the idea of putting together Olympic rosters. However, I am serious about the Duke Plan. Not because it is Duke, but because the idea of bringing a roster together full of guys that played in the same system, for the same coach, in college is the perfect way to overcome the huge "familiarity" advantage enjoyed by the national teams from other countries. So this thread is about finding other colleges that could provide good alternatives to an all-Duke squad.


Adam Hoff said...

Alternative #1: The UConn Plan.

Put these guys on a roster with Jim Calhoun at the helm and you are looking at gold.

PG - Ben Gordon. More of a shoot-first guy, but man can he shoot. If he isn't doing enough passing, current Huskies point guard Marcus Williams, or wily veteran and Bill Walton favorite (just watch a Sixers game on ESPN sometime) Kevin Ollie would take over.

SG - Ray Allen. Rip Hamilton would be just as good here, but Allen has more range and Rip has said he doesn't want to play. He might change his tune if it was an all-UConn squad, but we can't assume anything.

SF - Caron Butler. The most underrated small forward in the NBA is a beast on the offensive boards, a solid shooter from 20-feet and in, and a terrific defensive player. He would be a better Olympic player than his teammate, Antawn Jamison, that is for sure.

PF - Donyell Marshall. Hard to pass on surprise stud rookie Charlie "The Seal" Villanueva, but Donyell is a veteran and can shoot the three. Or, at least, he could before he went to Cleveland (aka, "the city where no one can make a three").

C - Emeka Okafor. Easy choice to patrol the paint. Plus, he has some experience, having been the 12th man on the 2004 team.

6th Man - Rudy Gay. Great athlete, will mature under Allen and Butler.

B - Marcus Williams.

B - Kevin Ollie.

B - The Seal.

B - Cliff Robinson. The aging veteran call still knock down jumpers and play out of position.

B - Jake Voskuhl. Who doesn't love this guy?

B - Hilton Armstrong. For his shot-blocking.

Adam Hoff said...

Alternative #2: The Roy Williams Plan.

This is sort of cheating, but Roy coached his Kansas and UNC teams pretty much the exact same way, so it would still be the same "system." That is fair, right?

Whatever, we still have another gold medal winner right here, with or without the UNC guys.

PG - Kirk Hinrich. His merits have been discussed in full on on this blog.

SG - Paul Pierce. Obvious foundation of the team.

SF - Marvin Williams. I think he could be a great compliment to Pierce and would really come into his own on this squad.

PF - Nick Collison. Here is your relentless rebounder. He gets the nod over Gooden for being a better team player. Can you imagine him and Hinrich running that patented Roy Williams secondary break, with Paul Pierce on the wing?

C - Raef LaFrentz. Finally! A place for Raef in the world of hoops. He would be really good on this team.

6th Man - Raymond Felton. He is showing that he can play both guard positions in the NBA and he could come off the bench with either ball pressure or instant scoring.

B - Drew Gooden. Pretty solid guy as a backup power forward.

B - Sean May. Ditto.

B - Scott Pollard. More backup beef.

B - Tyler Hansbrough. Last big man on the team, he gets the call for his potential and scoring ability.

B - Jacque Vaughn. Nothing special, but he can play a decent third point guard role.

B - Rashaad McCants. I had to do it, because McCants is a goofball of the highest order, but this team needs one more swingman and shooter, and he can fill both needs. You just have to have faith in Roy to keep McCants on the straight and narrow.

Adam Hoff said...

Alternative #3: The Arizona Plan.

Former Wildcats back under Lute's command. I like the sound of that.

PG - Mike Bibby. He should be on the regular team, but whatever. He is a good leader, a terrific shooter from 18-22 feet (hint, hint), and a very clutch player. I can't see hiim being part of a team that didn't win gold.

SG - Gilbert Arenas. He's already on the squad, and I think he would be good as a shooting guard. The key is something we discussed in a previous thread. Gilbert needs to play like he did at Arizona - locking up guys on D, getting out on the break, and waiting for his shots. He was so clutch at 'Zona in a secondary role and that is what we need him to revert back to. Of course, that chances of him doing that are slim ... unless Lute was his coach again.

SF - Andre Igoudala. He can throw down like no one else, he has good range, and would be the top defensive player on this team.

PF - Richard Jefferson. He has Olympic experience and can finish on the break. As long as he doesn't have to hoist up hideous threes from the corner, we are alright. He is playing out of position here, but maybe he can enjoy a Marion Effect by doing so.

C - Channing Frye. He's not quite a legit center, but he would be fine in international play. I think he would be a huge surprise in the Olympics.

6th Man - Jason Terry. Man, Arizona pumped out a ton of good guards.

B - Damon Stoudemire. He may have been busted at the airport once for toting a big brick of hash wrapped in foil, and he may be a lunatic with visions of buying the Portland TrailBlazers, but we need a backup point guard that can knock down jumpers. Mighty Mouse is our guy.

B - Steve Kerr. Bring him out of retirement! Smart player, patriotic, deadeye ... we want him dropping big threes.

B - Hassan Adams. More athleticism and a guy that can help on the glass as he plays much bigger than his 6'4" frame.

B - Luke Walton. Great passer, would help out the weak frontcourt.

B - Loren Woods. Yikes. Weak spot alert!

B - Sean Rooks. Weak spot alert, part two! Rooks is retired and out of shape ... yet is still probably the best bet as the last big man on the roster. Perhaps we could track down Michael Wright in Europe and enlist him as undersized power forward.

Adam Hoff said...

Alternative #4: Dean Smith Plan.

Can you think of a better USA hoops coach? He knows all the tricks, he could develop a master plan, and all the rest. As for this roster, it includes any Dean disciples, as well as anyone that played for Bill Guthridge, who was Dean's right-hand man for like 75 years.

PG - Jeff McInnis. Hey, I don't like it any more than you do, but he's the best option. Hopefully, he will play the way Dean and Bill want him do.

SG - Michael Jordan. One more comeback! Would anything top this?

SF - Vince Carter. He gets to be The Man on this team, so that should make him happy.

PF - Antawn Jamison. I know I punked him earlier, but he's not all that bad.

C - Rasheed Wallace. Would be a perfect center in international competition, although - as Dritz mentioned - he could cause World War III.

6th Man - Jerry Stackhouse. He would move into the starting lineup if MJ can't go.

B - Shammond Williams. Another guy that couldn't make it happen in the NBA, but man can he shoot. Track him down and give him a jersey.

B - George Lynch. Great teammate and leader. Like everyone on this team though, he's not getting any younger. (That's the problem when you draw from a coaching line that ended in 2000!)

B - Rick Fox. Get him out of retirement!

B - Joe Forte. Track him down!

B - Eric Montross. Him too!

Okay, this was a terrible idea.

Anonymous said...

I think I like the UConn team better than the idea of a Duke team. I think the key to our Olympic team is not just winning, but that they are players we want to root for. Those early Dream Teams were full of fun, memorable, classy players, and ever since, we've moved to either boring players are guys that are just a-holes. Lets face it, nobody likes Duke, so we would run the risk of putting together a team that brings out negative feelings. UConn may not be loved by all, but they don't fuel the same kind of haters that Duke does. A UConn team would be easier to digest. Plus, look at that roster! Even without Rip, they would destroy people.

Anonymous said...

I say they go with a team full of guys that were good college players but just not good enough to play pro. Have them play togethor all the time going to all the world tourneys and let them become a team. Because the U.S.A. didnt lose because they werent more talented just that the other teams were actually teams. And to coach the team we can go with a coach that just didnt make it.

Anonymous said...

Or just bring back the "Dream Team".

Adam Hoff said...

The "not quite good enough" team isn't a bad idea, but you would have to compensate these guys in some way. Players that aren't quite good enough to make it to the NBA still go on and make decent money playing hoops overseas. In fact, these are the very guys that would probably thrive on team USA, because they are so comfortable with the international game. Chad Ford went as far as to suggest that we should load the back half of the roster with players like Sconnie Penn (former Ohio State star) and Langdon (who I included on my Duke team), because they would be deadly in Olympic play and would know their roles. I think this is all true, but just taking guys playing overseas is still going to create a problem with familiarity. Other countries practice all the time and the disjointed nature of our roster is the biggest disadvantage. To convince the "Almost All-Stars" to stay here and play on a National team year round would take some serious cash. Of course, maybe they could run it like they do with men's volleyball, where guys go play overseas part of the year and then play for the national team the rest of the time.

Either way, I still like the All-Duke or All-Uconn idea better anyway, because the team would be more marketable, have more talent, and still play as a team. Plus, I like the message it sends. The US is still so talented and so much better than everyone else that we only need to throw together a team of guys from one single college and we can still win. We overcome all of the familiarity and system problems without having to resort to a full-time national team or crazy tryouts or anything else that smacks of desperation.