Michael Redd will be a member of Team America. Although it won’t be official until later Monday, most of the team was known over the weekend as the NBA cemented its hold on the league that keeps secrets the worst.
If you doubt that for one second, think about the last time you found out about the league’s MVP award from the official announcement.
Redd’s downtown game has been an element the national team has sorely missed during the last three marquee international events. In 2002, the team, coached by George Karl, finished sixth in the World Championships. That team holds the distinction of being the first squad consisting of NBA players to lose an international game.
In the 2004 Olympics, the team went 2-2 during opening round play and fought like hell to secure the bronze after losing to Argentina in the semifinals. That team featured some incredible guards, but none of them were genuine outside threats.
In the 2006 World Championships, Team USA once again advanced to the semifinal round before losing to Greece and settling for the bronze. LeBron, Carmelo and Wade captained this squad, but again, the team didn’t feature a long-range guy.
Redd joined the national team for the 2007 FIBA Americas Tournament and bonded responded. Coming off the bench, his 14 points per game were good enough for fourth-best on the team, and he developed a rapport with Kidd and Kobe, both of whom will be on the ‘08 squad.
I have fond memories of the original Dream Teams and want nothing better than to see the United States return to its place on top, but you keep wondering if athleticism will get it done against fundamentally sound opponents that have quickly closed the talent gap on us.
The projected roster, if you’re interested.