Elena Bergeron of ESPN.com on Team USA’s best lineups: “[USA Basketball director Jerry] Colangelo might consider adding to his summer reading list “NBA Chemistry: Positive and Negative Synergies in Basketball,” in which researchers from NYU-Polytechnic Institute analyzed plus/minus ratings to determine optimal combinations of skill sets. One of their findings: Quality offensive rebounders often go to waste when teamed with efficient scorers, as good shooters are less likely to miss; it’s better to pair scorers with defensive boarders. That would mean playing Love, Team USA’s top defensive rebounder in 2011-12, with higher-percentage shooters like James and Paul, and pairing Chandler, its best offensive rebounder, with less efficient shooters like Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.”
Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on flopping: “At a minimum, referees ought to enforce a forgotten part of the existing NBA rule book. “To be unsportsmanlike is to act in a manner unbecoming to the image of professional basketball,” it reads, in a section discussing unsportsmanlike play. “It consists of acts of deceit, disrespect of officials and profanity. The penalty for such action is a technical foul. Repeated acts shall result in expulsion from the game and a minimum fine of $1000.” “Deceit” is the issue in flopping, and the very first example in this list of unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalty is a technical. That’s a start.”
Neil Paine of ESPN.com with a smarter take on it: “Regardless of international competition improving, the 1992 Dream Team is still the United States’ best-ever Olympic roster, especially when factoring in that the NBA talent level in ’92 was essentially the same as it is today.”
Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops: “The Americans will not play another game until Sunday, when France will be the opponent in a game that will count. Between now and then they will pack up for London, get their rain gear back out, march in the opening ceremony and squeeze in as much practice time as possible. They learned in Barcelona that the Argentines (who they play a week from next Monday) are a team that will never quit, and this Spanish team, with Ibaka, has a height advantage that will only be a factor if Spain can feed the ball to those bigs deep in the low post. But again, those bigs have to cover a lot of unfamiliar ground on the other end of the court. And on nights when the Americans are shooting the ball well, they are virtually unbeatable.”
Mike Guardabascio of Gazettes.com on Westbrook: “But Westbrook has chosen to represent Long Beach along with his country, and, truth be told, it’s easy to understand why the Oklahoma City Thunder star would identify with the city. After all, there’s no way Long Beach should boast a list of Olympians that outpaces metropolises like Los Angeles and New York—and there’s no way that Russell Westbrook should be an NBA star and an Olympian.”
Greg Bishop of the NY Times on KD: “Because Durant is often guarded by small forwards or power forwards; and because few, if any, of those players can match his explosiveness and athleticism in the international game; and because the 3-point line is an easier target internationally, the nature of international basketball and Durant’s skills have combined for a barrage of 3-point baskets. This, Coach Mike Krzyzewski noted this week, was the way Durant played in Turkey when he won most valuable player honors and the United States won the world championships in 2010.”
The Thunder Girls are having open auditions this Saturday. Thinking about trying out.