Why Team USA Basketball Should Consider Greg Stiemsma (Seriously)

Let me preface this column by saying that as a fellow Wisconsin Badger I am absolutely biased on the subject. I hadn’t thought much about Stiemsma for three years but was delighted when he surfaced in Boston this year, had six blocks in his debut, and got compared to Bill Russell by the inimitable Celtics homer announcer Tommy Heinsohn after playing just five games.

Heinsohn was speaking in hyperbole. Stiemsma will never be an all-time great. He isn’t and almost certainly never will be one of the 20 best players in the NBA. That being said, his skillset–defense and rebounding–is precisely what Team USA needs to round out its roster.

Injuries to Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin are devastating to the Dream Team, which was already going to have to play small ball. Now, the only big men on the Team USA roster are Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler, and Anthony Davis. While LeBron James can guard all five positions, it would be better for that to be a luxury as opposed to necessity.

As an obvious role player, Stiemsma would not bring an ego with him to London. He’d be thrilled to sit on the bench the entire tournament, serving as insurance in case both Love and Chandler get into foul trouble, providing mop-up duty in blowouts, and giving legendary high fives to the LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant. He’s Warren Buffett’s Brian Scalabrine; at the very least his tenacious defense would add value during practice.

The 2004 “Nightmare” Team–the only USA basketball team since NBA’ers started playing in 1992 not to win the gold–faltered in part because it lacked selfless role players like Stiemsma. What is the downside to giving him the call?

Update: Greg Stiemsma withdrew from the USA Select team two weeks ago due to slight injury. I still think that at this point he would make an excellent addition to the roster.

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2 Responses to Why Team USA Basketball Should Consider Greg Stiemsma (Seriously)

  1. Dingo says:

    this isnt nuts at all. i think one issue with the USA team is the team they select to practice against does not mirror the type of players they will face. The USA practice squad team includes, for example, Jrue Holiday, who is a scorer from the PG position that uses track star speed to push fast breaks and penetrate. His skills in no way prepare the USA team for the type of PGs that the quality Euro and South America teams have. Steisma, very much mirrors the type of big men that are overseas. they are lumbering, fouling, hard noses 7+ footers. Perfect for practice. I dont get the point in bringing in some 6’10” jumping jack center that will sit on the bench the entire tournament while providing no relevant comparison to the intl competition.

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