Turkey and Earth have been conquered, basketball-wise, by Team USA. Wrapping up a game they controlled from the beginning Sunday night in Istanbul, the US secured the Gold Medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championships. Although many of their victories were similar to their 17-point win yesterday, the US lacked a certain dominance that the American basketball fan has come to expect since the national team witnessed their revival under Mike Krzyzewski. That is, save one Kevin Durrant. The Oklahoma super star was truly a men amongst boys. The US played well defensively, but on offense there were two options. Option One: Kevin Durrant. Option Two: Everyone Else. There is hardly enough praise that can be rained down upon his shoulders; and he now looks to be poised to be the most dominate player in the NBA for the next decade or so.
The same praise cannot be said for Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Coming into the tournament, Rose looked to be deadly. He had been working on his outside shot and was receiving praise for his ability to take over the point. Unfortunately, Rose peaked in the training camp and warmup games. His performances can be graphed with a line starting there and downwardly sloping to the Final. Rose seemed to lose confidence and his shot all but disappeared when the US switched buildings for the knockout rounds. Playing a lowly 12 minutes in the Semi, Rose came back with more minutes (26) in the Final, but little else. Overall, it was disappointing, yet alarms do not need to sound. Hopefully Rose was able to learn from the experience and build on it for the upcoming season.
Another Bull featured in the Final yesterday. Ömer Aşik made a powerful and graceless showing in the game. The Bulls rookie banged down low against the likes of Lamar Odom, Tyson Chandler & Co. The seven-foot center was definitely a physical presence in the lane, yet his offensive game left something to be desired. Averaging a tournament-worst 37% from the free throw line, Aşik demonstrated that he would rather stick to the defensive aspect of the game. Ömer picked up the game of basketball at the age of 16 and it looks like no one bothered teaching how to shoot. However, he is a solid defender and will offer the Bulls a body to allow Noah to catch his breath. And under Noah’s tutelage, maybe the big Turk will learn that sweet touch Noah has at the line.
With the FIBA tournament dead and gone, the players now have two weeks to rest before training camp starts. Until then, they have time to sit back, watch some television, and probably catch a ridiculous trade rumor or two.
Aliante Casino odds for the Chicago Bulls to win the 2011 NBA Championship: 10-1