Monday, July 2, 2012

The Hypothetical Olympic Basketball Trials - Part 1

Take this how you will: I enjoy watching the Olympic trials. Whatever. Gymnastics is fun to watch. Whatever. Also: at the end of the day, everyone knows that the USA is going to win gold in basketball. It won't be close. So, in order to create a little excitement in the field of non-NBA basketball, let's get a little creative with the American trials. 

Here in the States, we are blessed with more great basketball players than every other county in the world - combined. Rather than just throw the 12 best guys out on the floor every four years and dominate (because that's no fun), why don't we have a fun little tournament for the American public to enjoy?

We're going totally hypothetical 3-person-per team bracket and because it's hypothetical we'll just assume that everyone's healthy. And because I can, let's say that the selection committee that makes up the trial roster is comprised of both USA basketball guys and NBC executives. So we know they want to get the most exciting guys out on the floor. Oh yeah, and the final four teams left in the tournament will make up the 12-man US Olympic roster. Sound fun? I mean, I can tell you that I'd watch it for an hour. Or 3. Or 7. Or however long the tournament took to play out.

The first problem that comes up is the possibility of  having a team of three small guards matched up against a team of large forwards/centers. And while I understand that each team will have strengths and weaknesses, but nobody wants to watch a game like that. We want to get fairly well-balanced teams that are simultaneously random. So we'll create pools (keep in mind that I'm just rattling most of these names off the top of my head):

Pool A: The Small Guys (Point Guards)
Chris Paul
Derrick Rose
Rajon Rondo
Deron Williams
Russell Westbrook
John Wall
Brandon Jennings
Mike Conley
Kyrie Irving 
Monta Ellis
Jrue Holiday
Lou Williams
Jeff Teague
Ty Lawson
Jameer Nelson
Kyle Lowry

Pool B: The Big Guys (Power Forwards and Centers)
Dwight Howard
Andrew Bynum
Kevin Love
Al Jefferson
Kevin Garnett
Paul Millsap
LaMarcus Aldridge
Tyson Chandler
Roy Hibbert
Greg Monroe
Josh Smith
Chris Bosh
DeMarcus Cousins
Carlos Boozer
Blake Griffin
JaVale McGee

Pool C: The In-Between Guys (That Would Fall Somewhere Between an A and a B)
LeBron James
Kevin Durant
Carmelo Anthony
Paul Pierce
Danny Granger
Rudy Gay
Andre Iguodala
Gerald Wallace
Joe Johnson
Kobe Bryant
Dwyane Wade
Ray Allen
OJ Mayo
Tyreke Evans
Trevor Ariza
JR Smith

Play out the possible team combinations in your head. If we were more technologically advanced I'd put up a thing that would generate random teams for you on command.

My notes on the tournament itself:

  • 16 teams of three
  • teams are randomly selected (it's good if someone big like Blake Griffin gets eliminated - we're going to win gold anyway)
  • final four teams remaining make the Olympic team, but keep playing through until there is a winner
  • tournament MVP is selected from the winning team - that's your Olympic captain
  • full-court, games to 21 by twos and threes
  • that makes 15 games, which shouldn't take longer than the trials for swimming or gymnastics
  • guaranteed $1 trillion in advertising revenue during the trials
  • also, the ability to buy a JaVale McGee USA jersey becomes a possibility

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