espn.com has posted two articles, by chris sheridan and chad ford, forecasting their picks to represent the american national basketball team in the world championships and the olympics. as we've found out, all-star teams don't work, unless your goal is to sell jerseys and merchandise (and really, when is that never the case?) but if you're serious about fielding a team, here you go.
PG - chauncey billups
SG - richard hamilton
SF - tayshaun prince
PF - rasheed wallace
C - ben wallace
look familiar? it should. that's the starting lineup of the detroit pistons, the best basketball team i've seen in years (and also the only watchable team currently in the nba). they play like a team, and each one of them is perfectly suited for the different international style of play. chauncey runs the team. rip hits the mid-range jumpers. prince is your defensive stopper. rasheed does all the little things better than anyone in the world. and ben cleans up the boards.
wow. all the roles that you need in a basketball team have already been filled by a team that's been playing together for years - you know, exactly like our competitors.
since we need a bench, i'd take t.j. ford (change of pace) and michael redd (outside shooting) at the guards, lebron (best player in the world) , dwight howard (stud big man) and chris bosh (another stud) at the forwards, and amare stoudamire (completely unstoppable) at the pivot.
and i'd take kobe. yeah, he's a ballhog and yeah, he'd make this team all about himself. but he's an asshole, and every team needs one of them. he doesn't - and will not - lose. that's invaluable.
i'll take my chances.