Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince and the rest of Team USA kick things off with a game against Venezuela tonight at 11 pm on ESPN Classic (and a replay at 1am on ESPN2, for all your third-shift readers).
As a fan, it's kind of cool to see a couple of Pistons on the squad, but it also has me a bit worried about the potential burn-out factor next season. From my latest on Hoopsworld:
The most obvious danger is Billups or Prince coming up lame with an injury. While both players have a solid track record staying healthy, accidents do happen – just ask the Memphis Grizzlies, who were without Pau Gasol for the first 19 games of last season after breaking his foot while playing in last summer’s World Championships in Japan.
But even if Billups and Prince make it to training camp healthy, they’re not in the clear. No, then there’s still the matter of keeping them fresh for the rest of the season.
By reaching the Conference Finals the past five years in a row the Pistons have routinely had one of the shortest summers of any team in the league. It may not sound like much at first, but Detroit has played in 97 playoff games since 2003 – that’s like squeezing six seasons in five years.
What's most worrisome is that both players have shown signs of wears in the last two playoffs -- here's to the bench finally coming through and making this a non-issue this year.
On a side note, are there any topics you want to me to tackle between now and the start of the season? I'm doing twice-weekly team reports and we're obviously in a bit of a slow period. I have a few more ideas but I'm also open to suggestions.