Changes to Olympic hoops may hurt; and what will Bosh do?
With all this wealth of young basketball talent coming down the pike in Canada, how’d you feel about very few of them ever having a chance to play in the Olympics?
Yep, that’s perhaps no Games for Kevin Pangos or Andrew Nicholson or Myck Kabongo or Tristan Thompson or Cory Joseph or Kris Joseph.
One of things David Stern dropped on us at the lottery last week – and it’s not the first time he’s brought it up – is that the NBA will be pushing for the Olympic basketball tournament to be an under-23 affair.
Now, there are all kinds of political games still to be played and this is not a done deal. Stern didn’t say whether it’d be for 2016 or 2020 (my betting is he wants it sooner rather than later) and there are other issues at play.
FIBA wants the Olympics expanded to 16 teams and wants a three-on-three tournament (think beach volleyball for basketball) added to the Games. The IOC likes to have the glitterati at their Games, even if they can get lost in a multi-sport event so maybe there’s a compromise to keep the top world players in the Olympics if the IOC gives one or two things that FIBA wants.
But look at it this way:
Having the Olympics as Under-23 – even if you grant, say, two roster spots to players over 23; I believe soccer at the Games allows three exceptions – lets FIBA promote its World Cup as the biggest event for the sport every quadrennial.
The NBA wins because it probably keeps whining owners (hello, Mark Cuban!) a bit more quiet if their top players only have to give up two years out of every four to play for their countries instead of going almost every summer.
Players get an out, too. And I wonder how many of them, in the heart of hearts, would welcome just doing the worlds and being able to place responsibility somewhere else for not having to take part in the Olympics.
I’ve done a handful of world championships – Toronto, Indy, Athens and Turkey – and it truly is a “basketball” event, unlike the Olympics, where it’s just part of a grander program.
There are too many teams at the worlds, 24 when probably 18 or 16 would be better, but I do think it crowns a more legitimate champion than the 12-team Olympics does.
I know a lot of young basketball players here dream of the Olympics though because of the pageantry, because they are part of something bigger and to have that taken away would be tough.
It’d be especially tough here, where we place far more emphasis, rightly or wrongly, on the Olympic basketball tournament than we do on the worlds. But maybe we need to adjust our thinking a bit, maybe we need to consider the world championships the end all and be all.
We may be headed that way and I don’t have a problem with that.
(As long as Canada doesn’t wear blue uniforms)
Big day for cops worldwide yesterday, wasn’t it? And for the dude at the internet café who fingered the alleged body parts guy.
But getting caught in an internet café? That’s got CSI or Law And Order or something like that written all over it.
Well, for a team that had won 20 in a row, these last three games have been rather disappointing for the San Antonio Spurs, no?
Funny thing, however, is how quickly perceptions can change which, as we’ve said, is a great thing about sports playoffs.
It was about week ago we were lauding the Spurs for being so efficient and effective, Tony Parker was phenomenal, Tim Duncan had been reborn and Manu was, well, Manu.
Today? Parker can’t handle long defenders, Duncan’s aging before our very eyes and Manu is, well, Manu.
Anyway, I don’t think the series is over, that’s for sure.
But having just been in OKC I will tell you this:
That will the loudest arena ever. Like jet engine loud. Don Cherry suit loud.
Someone remind me in the next few weeks when I’m complaining about the draft that I’m glad I don’t have to worry about the baseball one.
It might be the worst for tracking. A zillion rounds, a billion players from high schools and college and you’re supposed to know stuff about the players?
So who’ve you got tonight?
For the “other” NBA conference final, there’s definitely some juice in this series now, thanks the Celtics and their resiliency and the Heat and their inability to find a level of cohesion.
The fun part tonight – if it happens and it seems like it will – will be to see how Chris Bosh handles more attention and pressure than maybe he ever has.
For the “other” guy in the Big Three, he’s certainly become far more important during his absence and I’m sure there are fans out there who will expect him to come in – if he does – and not dominate but at least shine and give Miami what it’s been missing
I wonder if he can. Or if he will.
Every now and then, Chris has shown a tendency to try and do too much, to get a bit too wound up, to over-exert himself when he knows he’s carrying a heavy load of responsibility.
I’m sure there will be all kinds of deflecting when it comes time for coaches and teammates to talk about his return; they’ll say no one player can do it all or make a huge difference but they will be wrong.
The Heat, simply, need Bosh. They need his presence because he demands attention from a defence; they need his presence because on defence he may not be the strongest guy in the paint but he is a presence and Kevin Garnett won’t be able to roam freely because Bosh is there.
I just want to see how he handles it because he could very well be the key to Miami winning this series.