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Expectations for the Next Olympic Team by Cathy Jones



I think everyone would remember a while ago when Rasheed Wallace either wasn't talking to reporters or cursing them. Once in one of the great playoff moments, the NBA forced Wallace to talk to reporters after several fines and Wallace answered every question, "Both teams played hard."

To the common folk it might seem like Wallace doesn't care about his teammates but for us NBA fans it is clear that he does. He has proven to be an excellent and reliable teammate on a terrific Pistons team that just finished its season series with the Spurs with a second straight blowout win.

Wallace as an Olympian comes to mind with the sudden rush of NBA players to play for the 2008 team in Beijing that includes participation in the world championships in Japan this summer. Allen Iverson said he wants another chance; so do Paul Pierce, Baron Davis and Carmelo Anthony. Let's say this: If any of them are on the team, it means the selection process still is flawed and is about marketing and selling stars rather than building a winning team.

There has been a burst of publicity lately that Iverson is a changed, respected, responsible man. Perhaps, Pierce got most of the blame for what happened at the 2002 World Games sixth-place finish under George Karl, but Golden State's Davis also had some part in it. USA Basketball executives were furious at Davis, so it was comical to hear him add his name to the list last week as he seems about to put another coach on the unemployment line. There was a confrontation last week when a columnist reported a verbal attack by Davis. Yep, we want that guy in a USA jersey.

That brings us to Anthony, he is putting up quite a scoring season and hit his second game-winning shot in a row last week. It was the fifth of his NBA career, an interesting contrast with Anthony is a remarkable offensive talent, and has had a career full of embarrassments already from refusing to enter games as a rookie to that drug-glorifying DVD he made in Baltimore last year. But he was a major problem on the 2004 team from his trash-talking and childish behavior in practices to wearing his pants like a handyman with a heavy tool belt, much to the disappointment of USA Basketball officials.

The next Olympic team could do without all of them, especially because there are enough excellent perimeter and wing players. James and Bryant are two taken spots, and Dwyane Wade should be added. Maybe Gilbert Arenas gets a spot, too, though scoring won't be a problem. Chauncey Billups would be a good choice when looking for facilitators and defenders and Bulls' Kirk Hinrich remains high on the list of possibilities.

The problem is big men. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal are not expected to play.

About the Author:
Cathy Jones writes on sports betting and gambling one of the fastest growing online industries and she is one of the top senior article writers for www.envivosports.com Feel free to reprint this article in its entirety on your site, make sure to leave all links in place and do not modify any of the content.


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