Monday, July 03, 2006

World Cup, NBA Draft

Well, the US went out with a fizzle in the first round. Other than that, most of my predictions have gone pretty well, but let's see if Germany still takes home the Cup.

The USA doesn't have too much to worry about, but the question of whether Bruce Arena is the guy to coach the US squad is legit. Props to him for what he's done over the last 8 years, but he failed in two key areas:

1) getting the US ready to play, as they came out flat against the Czechs. The US had a bit of bad luck facing the Czechs at full strength, which no one else had to do, but the Czechs jumped on us, and hard.

2) Squad selection. If the US didn't come away with visible progress, Arena had to be able to say that the squad was developing its youth and looking good for the future. He did not take a lot of young guys, erring for those over the hill, like McBride, Reyna, and Keller, and secondly, did not play the guys who might partake in the next World Cup.

Arena's taking some time, and might retire, but the USSF needs to watch the next year of American Soccer to see which way it Arena's going. If he's not reaching the guys any more, and/or if he's not developing the youth, a coaching change should be explored.

Anyway, I think the talent is here to get into the Final Four in June 2010 (age in 2010):

Goal Keeper:

Tim Howard (31)


Oguchi Onyewu (28) Stopper
Jonathan Spector (26) Defender-right
Todd Dunivant (29) Defender-left
Carlos Bocanegra (31) Sweeper


Damarcus Beasley (28) Wing Midfield-right
Bobby Convey (27) Wing Midfield-left
Clint Dempsey (27) Offensive Midfield
Landon Donovan (28) Central Midfield


Eddie Johnson (26)
Pat Noonan (29)

Nick Rimando (31) Back-up Goalie
Cory Gibbs (30) Defender-Bench
Freddy Adu (21) Midfield-Bench
Conor Casey (28) Forward

NBA draft
I caught a little of, and looked over the ins and outs, but the main thing for me is just how the Pacers & Bulls did. And the answer is pretty good.

The Pacers have caught some flack for taking Shawne Williams of Memphis, but Williams was a match-up nightmare at the college level, and I think the Pacers knew they'd be losing Peja this summer. So even though the Pacers seemed well-stocked at Small Forward, I think that Danny Granger & Williams are going to see quite a bit of time next season. Most thought that Larry Bird would be looking for a point guard, but the Pacers went the conventional wisdom of getting the best player available, and besides, you can often get a serviceable point from free-agency, an invite (the Draft's "third round") or the D-league.

The Bulls did really well, suckering the Blazers to part with Vladimir Khryapa and still getting Tyrus Thomas, the guy they wanted all along. I think Thomas is going to be the Rookie of the Year, and his rebounding and shot-blocking are going to be huge for Chicago (unless the Bulls grab Ben Wallace, which I doubt). Also the Bulls got a decent pick-up in Rodney Carney, who should be ready to contribute right away. I doubt he's ever a star, but he should have a good career.


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