Team USA lived up to its gold standard, beating the collective shit out of Argentina on Sunday.
But after the medal ceremonies were over and the praise was heaped upon the Americans, the U.S. was robbed, badly.
Argentina forward Luis Scola was named the MVP of the Tournament of Americas on Sunday, after his team was routed by Team USA by 44 points. Seriously.
Not to demean the newest member of my beloved Rockets and the key to our future title hopes, but Lebron and Carmelo should go find Scola and beat him for stealing their MVP award.
Carmelo Anthony led the team in scoring with 21.2 points and was second to only Brazil's Leandro Barbosa in points per. LeBron James was second on the team in scoring with 18.1 points and, despite the presence of All-World pg Jason Kidd, led Team USA in assists.
Don't get me wrong, Scola did his thing in holding Argentina together without the presence of NBA players Manu Ginoboli and Francisco Oberto and former Temple pg Pepe Sanchez. He dropped 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the tourney and more than held his own against the U.S. bigs despite foul trouble. (Plus, he made a young Rocket fan very happy in the process.)
But damn, you mean to tell me we can blow out opponents by an average of 39.5 points (including the aforementioned 44-point spanking in the championship game) and sweep the tournament and not have the MVP wear red, white and blue.
In the same article above, Michael Lee of the Washington Post talked to an American that actually voted for Scola:
"How un-American is that? I jokingly approached one of the American writers about voting for Scola and he said, 'I sure did. Argentina wouldn't be here without him." I won't out the writer unless he outs himself. I have to respect him for sticking to his guns. Doesn't make him right, though."
Argentina wouldn't have been there without him, that's true. But if you put Melo's scoring average on Argentina or Brazil's roster and they would've won gold, or at least challenged more strongly for it.
In my opinion, the award should've went to LeBron. He heard up and down about how the addition of Kobe Bryant was supposed to change the dynamic of Team USA (which it did), and he stepped up to become arguably the team's best player (despite whatever Skip Bayless says). Second in scoring, first in assists, and first in shooting percentage (Bron?), he showed out and stood out in a group full of fellow stars.
His shooting is what really set him apart. He hit 8-11 3-pointers in the gold medal game and was sharp throughout the whole tournament. He overpowered other nations with his superior athleticism and improved post moves (which he didn't get much of a chance to show). And James' otherworldly passing skills made the team that more dangerous, as it relieved Kidd of a lot of his playmaking responsibilities. James was a double threat as a finisher and passer in the open court and opponents could do nothing about him.
Well, except the voters. LeBron James was clearly the man the past week and a half, and he also clearly was robbed. Of course, they were in Vegas.