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I'd Rather Dragon be Home in Phoenix With the Rest of His Teammates. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Reading Alex Laugan's copious FIBA report and subsequent reader comments got me cringing, er thinking. How do we feel about our Phoenix Sun players playing in international play?
I for one do not like it.
I get the whole nationalist appeal to a foreign player playing in America, and I believe it's good experience for some young players. But the NBA season and post-season is long enough. The grind is difficult enough even on a young body like Dragic's. Add in the FIBA games, and, well, I just don't like it.
I'm sure we could get into the numbers, the amount of minutes a player could play in these games, and the odds against injury of an already healthy player are probably fairly low. But I don't care. There's always a chance of a freak injury (knock on wood), and as I noted, the added miles on a pivotal player like Dragic, Turk, or Lopez are unnecessary.
I am very pleased Lopez didn't play for U.S.A. Obviously.
But if either Dragic or Turk suffered a serious injury, or even smaller lingering injury that would affect their NBA season, the Suns would be in some trouble.
This discussion brings us back to the subject of the Olympic/World Championship debate. While the rest of the world puts their best out there in sports, the U.S.A. once put out only amateurs. No one enjoyed losing, especially when the American best were sitting at home.
So if the American Pro Leagues (such as NBA, MLB) are together concerned enough about the health of their "investments," couldn't they in theory disallow participation in such events contractually? I supposed that could be another potential deal breaker in signing a player. Or, in some cases it may not matter at all.
If franchises or leagues together decided to limit their players involvement in international play, obviously American performance in such events could suffer. On the other hand, these events could give professional franchises another means to rate amateur athletes while also providing valuable experience to the youngsters.
Of course, the risk of injury is still out there for amateurs.
I digress, I'm mostly worried about our Suns right now.
What does the BSOTS think?