Coach Krzyzewski — Far be it from us to tell a man how to do his job (let alone one with an Olympic gold meal and four NCAA titles) but hell, we’ll give it a shot. After all, it’s the day before the Fourth of July and everyone’s already gone. After reviewing your shortlisted roster for the USA Olympic Basketball team, we have two suggestions for you and your staff.
Tap Anthony Davis over Blake Griffin
Frontcourt depth remains a dilemma, and we believe the 6’10” Davis is the answer to troubles. Sure, Davis is raw on the offensive end of the court, but playing him alongside Kevin Love will give you two players that can hit the boards well and get the ball down court in transition. Griffin, your second option, is the epitome of flash over substance. Sure, his dunks make SportCenter’s Top 10, but the postseason, Griffin’s rebounding totals sunk from 10.9 to 6.9 per game on average. And while Griffin brings an established chemistry with teammate Chris Paul to the table, that doesn’t make up for what he gives up defensively.
Give Russell Westbrook serious minutes and he’ll become an integral member of the team
At various points in the 2008 Games, you wisely played Chris Paul and Deron Williams in a dual point-guard set, allowing Williams to move without the ball and step into better looks. But playing Westbrook instead of Williams will deliver an even greater result. Sure, Westbrook’s perimeter game isn’t as deadly, but his unequaled quickness makes him nearly impossible to guard. Plus, his mid-range game has improved dramatically since the 2010 World Championships, and his almost supernatural ability to finish around multiple defenders is impossible to ignore. Play Westbrook off the ball and he could be your ace in the hole off the bench.
We hope this letter finds you well, Mike. We’ll be keeping an eye out, and the remote control ready (because only the finest open letters conclude with a Shawshank reference). —Dan Brennan. Photograph by Streeter Lecka / Getty Images