I, like President Bush, was one of one billion fans who chose to watch the "Redeem Team" take on Yao Ming and his Chinese brethren. The United States won by an unknown (to me) final score. I, like President Bush, stopped watching when the game was over instead of when the game was officially over.
There were a few thoughts -- recurring themes, if you will -- that kept coming to mind as I watched the game. They are:
- I really, really, really dislike Dwyane Wade. If he ever decides to play with intelligence instead of relying solely on his athleticism, he would be as good as he is portrayed to be. Unfortunately, I've been saying that for years now. Defensively, Wade is still incapable of sliding his feet; instead, he runs alongside offensive players, jetting into passing lanes. Thankfully for the U.S., his opponents have been unable to convert.
- Dwyane Wade needs to stop cherry-picking. I'm sorry, but I had to give this its own bullet. At least two times, Wade strolled back on defense, reached the three-point line, and after a Chinese miss, sprinted to the offensive end for an easy dunk. You can call it cherry-picking or sand-bagging (or whatever else), but this fact remains: you wouldn't get away with that crap at the YMCA. D-Wade does it in the Olympics?
- Chris Paul has improved defensively. I know, China's guards aren't the physical types that typically give him fits, but Chris Paul was noticeably this time around. Following an exhibition game against China two years ago, I wrote this: "While I’m bashing some of the NBA’s young stars, I might as well hoop on over to the Chris Paul bandwagon... where I subsequently beat the driver of the aforementioned wagon with a baseball bat. Chris Paul is quickly becoming the most overrated player in the NBA; sure, he’s a step above spectacular offensively, but he cannot stay in front of his man for the life of him (at which time I flash back to Carlos Arroyo shooting a lay-up while CP3 was still scratchin’ his head at the free throw line). At this point he isn’t even average defensively." Obviously, I can't write that anymore.
- Jason Kidd has no business playing, let alone starting. During the telecast, Mike Breen mentioned that Dara Torres was an inspiration to an old-in-the-tooth Jason Kidd. I laughed. Torres -- despite her age -- posted the best split on her medley team, whereas Kidd is easily third-fiddle at his own position. Deron Williams and Chris Paul are better creators, shooters, and -- at least today -- defenders. Experience didn't really do much for Kidd.
- LeBron James is really a fine player. Need I say more?