The USA Basketball Team started practice just the other day, in preparation for the opening game of the qualifying tournement, against Puerto Rico. Team USA needs to finish the tourny in the top three to make next summer's Olympics, and after last year's dismal results (a team of lesser NBA stars did pretty badly in last year's World Cup-esque competition), the stars came out. The roster:
Ray Allen, Mike Bibby, Elton Brand, Vince Carter, Nick Collison, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Richard Jefferson, Jason Kidd, Karl Malone, Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O'Neal.
My starting five? Kidd at the point, of course, with McGrady at the other guard. Tim Duncan in the middle. Those are the gimmees. Who do you put at the forwards? Carter and O'Neal? Malone and Carter? Brand and O'Neal? Or do you go small and avail yourself of Iverson? I'd go with Malone, for the experience and the better understanding of the kind of team ball global play is about, and Carter for versatility. So that's Kidd, McGrady, Duncan, Malone and Carter starting. Still leaves one hell of a bench.