I have that shirt.


We were all in support of Jose Canseco and his whistleblowing but now that he is stealing our wardrobe it’s becoming harder for us to defend the former slugger.

In more important global news, can any reader explain to me why International Basketball is so different then the NBA?

Sure, some rules are different and zone defenses are utilized more, but a guy like Wade sees a ton of different looks thrown at him in say a playoff game against Detroit and can adjust pretty easily whereas in international competition the top US players get stifled pretty easily. What makes Carmelo so good in international competiton where in the playoffs he couldn’t hold his weight against the Clippers? Same goes with Carlos Arroyo? And if a clearly overmatched team like Puerto Rico can stifle the USA with a variety of zone looks, why aren’t bad NBA teams employing this strategy more often then they currently do as a means of disrupting a better team’s offensive flow?

I consider myself a fairly astute basketball fan. I watch hundreds of games a year. And yes, I’ve read Wages of Wins. But I just don’t get it. Any clues?

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4 Comments on “I have that shirt.”

  1. soccerspot Says:

    I kinda just like how The Man is the movie poster behind him…

  2. I’m not claiming I know the answers, but I’ll toss my hat in the ring.

    The difference between FIBA competitions and the NBA is first the rules, yes, but more importantly it’s how teams construct their rosters to take advantage of the rules. That other teams in the World Championships are largely constructing their rosters from a pool of players used to playing under FIBA rules should not be overlooked. With the closer three-point line, able-shooting big men are favored to the brutish rebounders of the NBA. With no goal tending some of the advantage swings to the US–no one will out jump Bosh or out muscle Brand–but with more jump shooting in international competition there are fewer short rebounds, so that advantage is mitigated.

    The reason zone defenses work in international basketball stems from the court, particularly the three point line. In the NBA the three point line is much father from the basket than in international competitions. In turn, this means there is much more space to guard in the NBA and, given the advantage the offensive players already have (they act, defenses much react), renders zone defense largely unsuccessful. In international competition the zone doesn’t have to extend much father than in college basketball, which means a denser defense. And I might be wrong, but there is no defensive three seconds under FIBA rules. Zone defenses in the NBA would be quite effective if players like Shaq could just stand under the basket. Under FIBA rules this is legal (I think), which contributes even more to the denser defense. The US will always be able to beat the other teams off the dribble, but whereas in the NBA there won’t be a big man clogging the lane, under FIBA rules there will be.

    Also, to return to my first thought, the US players are not used to seeing zone defenses and the international players are used to playing them. This is two strikes against the US.

    In the past other countries also had actual teams that trained together for long stretches before competitions. The US has never really had a ‘team’. I think this is significant as well.

  3. Josh Says:

    These all make sense to me, your last point resonating as the most difficult obstacle for the US to overcome. I’m still hopeful that James and Wade are so exceptional that the reasons you gave will be negated by sheer American exceptionalism.

    It is interesting that many of the guys on the team played a lot of college basketball for top programs (Wade/Marquette, Hinrich/Kansas, Carmelo/Syracuse, Paul/Wake, Battier/Brand/Duke, etc. They are almost building a college all-star team.

    I wonder if an out of the box team will hire Jim Boeheim to coach in the NBA and institute his 1-2-2 zone. That would be fun to watch.

  4. […] So let me get this straight. Even though we have the best basketball players in the world, we aren’t a sure thing to beat Spain or Argentina because of some different rules in international basketball. We don’t fully understand this despite the best efforts of Disappointment Zone. […]

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