You know that Slovenia lost to Team USA today in convincing fashion.
No surprise there. A country with 400 million people to choose from can beat a country with 2 million people to choose from. Slovenia is a country full of heart, trust and effort but they are not blessed with the same level of athleticism as the very best the country of 'Murca can offer. That's just the way it is.
I loved that Marc Stein got some time with Goran Dragic after the game:
"Their energy is unbelievable," Dragic told ESPN.com just outside Slovenia's locker room, having managed a mere six points in 21 minutes Tuesday night against the swarms of NBA peers that never left him alone in Team USA's 101-71 exhibition rout.
"It's hard. Especially on the pick-and-roll tonight, I didn't see any solutions."
"It was crazy. It felt like three or four guys on me the whole time. I can beat one or two guys, but then they're so athletic, it's really tough to [get] open. Or even if you find [another] open guy, their rotations are so fast. It's tough."
"The NBA can offer so many good players, even if those other guys didn't come, USA still has a good chance to win a gold medal," Dragic said.
"It's them and Spain. But the way they play so aggressively, they can pressure the whole court. They can beat anyone."
Dragic was understandably frustrated after the game. He was still on limited minutes, thanks to an agreement with the Suns, but that minutes-limit will end once the World Cup starts this weekend. At that point, Dragic will play all of their games and as many minutes as his coach needs. And then its back to training camp.
Stephen Curry didn't feel bad for his Pacific Division foe, but did throw out this nugget to Stein:
"The scary thing is it might make him a little better going into next season, having demanded all that attention."
The Los Angeles Clippers traded Jared Dudley to the Milwaukee Bucks today for the second round pick they gave up, along with Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler, to get him and J.J. Redick last July.
Let me see if I can get this straight. First, the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers engaged in a four-player trade. Then the Suns and Bucks engaged in another trade involving one of those four players. And now Clippers and Bucks have made a trade involving another of those four players.
Three teams, three trades, all involving the original four players.
To recap, the Phoenix Suns last summer traded away fan favorite Jared Dudley for the rights to at least one year of a potential All-Star player in Eric Bledsoe, as well as a year of Ish Smith and Slava Kravtsov, who to varying degrees helped the Suns fight all season for a playoff spot.
The Clippers swapped Bledsoe, who would have played real well next to Chris Paul in retrospect, and a one-year rental in Caron Butler for oft-injured J.J. Redick and what turned out to be a more expensive one-year rental in Jared Dudley.
The Bucks, well, are just acquiring usable players for money. I mean, they've basically swapped one-year rentals on Ish Smith and Slava Kravtsov for one-year rentals on the more playable Caron Butler and Jared Dudley. Not bad on a talent swap, but pretty much a "shrugger".
With a twelve month time delay, here's the result of that Dudley trade last summer.
So, the Bucks ended up with Jared Dudley and a future #1 for simply being available for the sign-and-trade last year of a free agent who was leaving anyway. Why not? Good move for the Bucks, though neither Butler last year nor Dudley this year is a franchise changer.
The Clippers gave up a potential All-Star for the steady J.J. Redick in a solid, four-year contract and shouldabeen starting small forward in Jared Dudley. But if the Clippers had known that Bledsoe could play full-time next to Paul, they might have just decided to stay with Bledsoe. Except that with huge commitments to Paul, Griffin and Jordan they most likely would have had to let Bledsoe walk this summer for nothing. (interesting thought here - if Clippers had let Bledsoe play 32 minutes a game for 43 games - with him missing half-season again - and then it be known they wouldn't match an offer, would Bledsoe have gotten that max contract this summer? Not as easy to answer as you might think)
The Suns, for their part, swapped a role player who was losing minutes for a potential franchise-changing player who certainly contributed to a one-year turnaround from a 25-win team to a 48-win team. In the process, they also got a season of Ish Smith, who filled in admirably for the injured Bledsoe to help keep the Suns alive. But make no mistake, the Suns were the Slash Brothers last year, courtesy of the Dudley trade.
Of course, the Suns coming out the winner in this series of trades depends on their ability to keep Eric Bledsoe. Otherwise, it amounts to a bunch of guys who only stayed with their new team for one year... and J.J. Redick, who was basically a free agent signing.
Still, at minimum, it appears the Suns will get two years of Bledsoe. And that's a darn good haul for Jared Dudley.