Team USA Power Rankings: Who Is Benefiting The Most
For some, this may be the only chance they will ever have to wear that USA Jersey loud and proud. For others, this is just another experience to improve and gain more exposure around the world.
The reality is, that this 2010 USA FIBA' Team is yet again another young and promising team as usual, but what could it mean for these specific group of individuals?
For players like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose, it will most likely be another opportunity to show the U.S. that they deserve to be in the ranks of some of the best ball players in not only the NBA, but the world.
For veterans such as Lamar Odom and Chauncey Billups, in a sense they are there to mentor these young and upcoming stars, because they know, soon enough some of these players will take their places sooner than the know.
But for players like Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Stephon Curry, Rudy Gay, and Eric Gordon, it is still unknown of what these young but inconsistent players will get out of this experience. These young men can either take full advantage of the blessed situation they are in, or they can choose to let their ego's run the show, it is merely up to the players and the players only.
In this slideshow, I will be breaking down each of the 12 players according to their potential positive they could each achieve out of this one in a lifetime chance type opportunity.
This list will start from least to greatest, hope you enjoy!
12. Tyson Chandler
Ok, lets not kid ourselves now. The only reason why Chandler is here, is because he is taller than 6'10'', and because he can slam the occasional lob.
Basically Chandler is here because nobody else was available. Has USA Basketball really come down to Tyson Chandler as the starting center?
There is a reason why you are here Chandler. You are here to rebound, defend, and finish at the rim when appropriate.
Don't get me wrong, Chandler is a solid center in the NBA, but when you are playing for the U.S. National Team, you need to have some credibility, which Chandler does not.
Now to the positive side of the discussion. Surprising isn't it? Well there is a positive for him believe it or not. He gets a great opportunity to play along side some talented players, and though he doesn't deserve to be there, he can have some fun and maybe learn a thing or two from these young guys.
For Chandler, I'd suggest, taking nothing for granted, have an open mind, and have fun, because honestly, that's about all you can get out of this experience considering your the third oldest player on the roster, and you aren't young and up and coming.
Have fun and try and help these young players as much as you can.
11. Chauncey Billups
As you can see even in this picture, Billups is teaching, maybe even something Coach K. doesn't see out on the court.
The reality is, Billups is here to mentor and lead this young team to victories against some older and smarter teams.
Being the oldest player on the roster basically forces Billups to do exactly that, and so far he is doing a great job.
Young guards like Westbrook, Curry, and Gordon can all learn a lot from an experienced veteran such as Billups, and it'd be smart of them to get as much as they can from him, while he is still on top of the hill as a 2nd tier guard in the NBA.
Billups knows why he is on the team, so there is no need to go over his obvious role as a leader and mentor. With that, I am ranking him very low due to the high possibility that Billups won't get as much out of this experience as the other young players could get.
10. Danny Granger
Granger is considered one of the veterans on this team, which doesn't really mean too much, when taking into the account the average age of this very young team.
Granger has been around the league for a bit now and his career has been successful. I mean his team hasn't done the greatest in former years, but Granger has seemed to perform at a high level throughout his stay at Indiana.
His potential experience is still somewhat of a question. It is a mix between learning to be a leader and improving his game. It's obvious that Granger has improved every year, but I'm not to sure if playing for the U.S. National FIBA Team will tremendously help him.
I'm not saying he won't get a good experience out of it, all I'm saying is that his potential for a big outcome isn't awestrucking.
Granger's outcome depends on his performance game in and game out, and so far it seems to be going well for both him and his teammates.
9. Andre Iguodala
As one of the older players on this 2010 USA Fiba Team, Iguadala is more or less there to represent his country and to get ready for the 2010-11 NBA Season.
Believe it or not, Iguadala has been in the league for six years now, and at this point in his career, this is what we will be seeing of him most likely until the end of his career. That is why Iguadala is a great example of why these young players on this team need to improve while they still can.
If a player like Westbrook can realize his true potential at this point in his career, the sky is truly the limit for him.
All in all, Iguadala can gain a great experience, and though he may not know it, he could be a great example for some of these young players. Iguadala has gone from being a prototypical athletic guard to a very versitile player who is hard to stop.
Like I said before, someone like Westbrook could really benefit from Iguadala's presence. In some ways, Iguadala may give more than gain.
8. Lamar Odom
Oh why did you ever think of marrying Khloe Kardashian of all people? I guess it hasn't affected your game play so I'll give you a pass.
Anyways, back to the FIBA World Championships. It was a big surprise/excitement to see a fellow Laker join the national team, but I wasn't sure why Odom was chosen to play.
Odom is considered one of the best second-tier players in the league today and he is known to be one of the most talented big men in the league. Because of this, I can only think of one reason of why Lamar is on the team.
Odom is there to be another reliable option that the U.S. can look to use against the slower and most likely older teams.
A player like Odom can really help with his natural scoring ability, and his length/height down low. Other teams would definitely scruggle with a player such as Odom and that is exactly why Coach K. wanted Odom.
For Odom this experience could be a good way to get in shape for the upcoming season. The worst thing a player can do to their team is come unprepared to camp. No one wants to deal with catching up a player that is out of shape.
With another crucial season ahead for Odom, it was a good decision to come represent his country and it doesn't hurt that Odom will be in shape for next season.
7. Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon has done nothing but overachieve in his basketball career. He's been the "man" probably all of his life and he hasn't looked back once.
Going back to his days at Indiana, he was the first freshman to average over 20 points a game.
When he came into the league, he was an instant impact for the Clippers.
Now with the U.S. Team, no one expected him to perform this well so quickly, but he has, and I guess that's just the nature of Eric Gordon.
For Gordon, it is a matter of keeping an open mind and trying to learn from the veterans such as Chauncey Billups. If Gordon can take anything away from his teammates, it's a huge plus for him.
I expect that Gordon will walk away with a smile on his face knowing that he shocked the basketball world once again and also knowig that he just had one of the best experiences of his basketball career.
6. Kevin Love
Kevin Love has turned out to be another Christian Laettner. Though Laettner was much better, Love has actually performed better than expected.
For Love, this whole experience is about learning how to be a better leader. When he gets back to Minnesota, Love will once again be the go-to-guy, and there is better opportunity to do just that then playing for the U.S. Team.
If Love can manage to keep improving as a player and leader throughout his stay with the U.S. Team, he will have accomplished priority number one.
5. Rudy Gay
Wow, wow, and wow.
These are the only words when I watch Rudy Gay play. This guy manages to amaze me everytime I have the opportunity to watch him play.
For Gay, this is another test of himself. Gay is at a point in his career where he can choose to either get lazy and settle with the game has, or he can choose to use his full potential.
If Gay is smart he will watch Kevin Durant, Danny Granger, and Lamar Odom carefully throughout the tournament.
Gay can really learn a lot from these players and it could help his game tremendously.
The other potential positive for Gay, is that exposure he could gain from performing well. The fans in Memphis already know of Gay, but it wouldn't hurt if more people knew of Gay's talent and ability.
Potentially, this could be great for Gay, if he can manage to keep and open mind and be competetive.
4. Stephen Curry
It can't get much better for a guy who has only been in the league for two years now.
From Davidson to USA National Team.
Is it safe to say that Stephon Curry can surpass his father, Del Curry as a player? We'll see, only time can tell.
For Curry this will be a great experience. Though Curry has been in the league for a full season, he still hasn't really been exposed to players from other countries.
There is nothing better than comparing your countries sport to another. Curry will have the opportunity to test himself against some of the best in the world and it will only make him better.
Now we know that Curry's biggest weakness is defense, which is perfect. Guards outside of the U.S. are usually different in the sense that they tend to be slower and less athletic, but they use their basketball smarts to their advantage.
For someone like Curry, it will be good for his defense to experince all kinds of guards so that when he comes back to the states for the opening tip, he will be more prepared.
Curry could potentially take away one of the best experiences and remember that he is only 22-years old.
3. Derrick Rose
Heading into potentially his most challenging seasons, Derrick Rose will be pushed to his limits day in and day out, why not start a little early?
Rose has been "The Man" probably all of his life. So when someone asks him to lead, it's like second nature to Rose. For this very reason, Rose could use this experience as a measuring tool to how well he could lead his Chicago' Team when he gets back.
Durant is the obvious leader of the team, but Rose runs the team. Being the starting point guard of both the Bulls and the U.S. National Team, Rose has gotten used to being in a position of power. And this year's Fiba Championships will just be another opportunity for Rose to show what he's really got.
For Rose, it is merely getting mentally and physically prepared for this upcoming season and it could come very helpful when your arch rival (Rajon Rondo) was cut from the team.
2. Russell Westbrook
God this kid can play, I've never seen anybody fly the way he does across the court, shame he's not always under control.
Russell Westbrook, the guard out of UCLA, has really progressed as a player in the NBA.
He made a name for himself in the last years playoff series between the Lakers and Thunder. That's when I saw his best and worst.
The only downside to Westbrooks game is his lack of control. He tends to get out of control too often and that's when his game is at his worst.
For once, Coach K. is the most important guy for Westbrook, not the players. If Coach K. can somehow keep Westbrook under control, it will be a tremendous help for Westbrooks future.
If Westbrook can learn to dicipline himself enough, the sky really is the limit for him and who knows how good he will be in five years.
For Westbrook, it is should be a good learning experience, to watch Chauncey Billups and to be mentored by Coach K. is a once in a lifetime opportunity, don't let it go to waste.
1. Kevin Durant
As we all know, Kevin Durant has slowly begun to take over the game of basketball.
Watching him progress is like watching a catterpillar morph into a butterfly.
This experience will definitiley test Durant's limits and it will only pay off for him in the end.
The great thing about Durant's situation is, that because he is starting to be in the discussions of the best players in the league, Durant is only trying prove what he already knows he can do and so far he has done a great job of doing just that.
When Coach K. predicted that Durant would be the best player in the league in two to three years, I totally agreed with him. Everyone talks about LeBron this, LeBron that, why not Durant?
Now for now I still give Kobe and LeBron the upperhands, but experienced like playing for this U.S. Team will only make Durant a stronger leader ad it is only a matter of time before he passes up Kobe and LeBron.
If Coach K. oppointed you the leader of his team and also predicted that Durant would be the best player in the league in a couple of years, you are the real deal.
Leading this team will be a great feel for Durant, considering he will be leading his young Oklahoma City Thunder once again this season. This experience will also mentally prepare Durant both mentally and physically for this upcoming season, which Durant will need day in and day out if he wants his team to be successful.
Overall, Durant could potentially have the best outcome out of all the 12 players on this U.S. Team and I hope it al goes well for him.