With the United States having only limited success in international play of late—despite this summer's dominant effort—I wondered what it might be like to pit the US All-Stars against an All-International team.
This type of game has previously been discussed as an alternative version of the NBA All-Star game, but David Stern has still gone with the East vs. West match every year so far. In fact, hockey converted its All-Star game to a North America vs. World match for a few years, though it has now switched back.
I'm not suggesting that we permanently institute this kind of annual competition, but with the number of highly skilled foreigners currently in the league, it would be pretty intriguing.
Below you'll find the teams I've come up with. Each team consists of two complete starting line ups, as well as two utility players at any position.
Guards: Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant
Forwards: LeBron James, Tim Duncan
Center: Dwight Howard
Guards: Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili
Forwards: Peja Stojakovic, Dirk Nowitski
Center: Yao Ming
Guards: Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade
Forwards: Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett
Center: Amare Stoudemire
Guards: Tony Parker, Hedo Turkoglu
Forwards: Mehmet Okur, Andrei Kirilenko
Center: Pau Gasol
US Utility Players
Chauncey Billups, Carlos Boozer
International Utility Players
Jose Calderon, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
I heavily debated the US utility players, considering such names as Paul Pierce, Tracy McGrady, Deron Williams, Allen Iverson, and Chris Bosh. I chose Billups because I like the idea of having another experienced point guard, and it's never a bad idea to take a big man from a solid Western team in Boozer.
Still, you could definitely make an argument for the others I mentioned, and even those I didn't.
Where Internationals are concerned, I left out Luol Deng due to his subpar '07-'08 season and his propensity for injury.
That said, it would be a very interesting game. While the US appears stacked, they seem so every Olympics, and in 2004 they only earned the Bronze.
While the US has the edge in athleticism, the Internationals are great shooters, solid free throw shooters, and have great fundamentals.
I just think letting us see this game for at least one year would be very entertaining.