May 8, 2010
Every player mentioned so far, except Justin Robinson and Steve Nash, has been a frontcourt player. Therein lies the problem. While a frontcourt of Luol Deng and Andrew Sullivan at small forward, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Joel Freeland at power forward, and Robert Archibald and Andy Betts at centre was good enough to compete, the lack of backcourt ended matters. Deng was a primary ball handler for GB not because he is one, but because he had to be because of the painful dearth of guards. Britain's backcourt at Eurobasket 2009 was as follows:
- Nate Reinking: 36 year old naturalised American guard, formerly of Kent State, playing for Finch's former team Dexia Mons-Hainaut. Played in the British league until he was 32, making him eligible for nationalisation, yet has played only in England, Belgium and the MAC. That's not pedigree. Good lefty jumpshooter, but offers nothing else; can't get in the paint, can't finish there, not much of a ball handler even at 6'0, slow, unathletic, open door defensively. He started at point because he was the team's only shooter.
- Jarrett Hart: 29 year old 6'4 American guard, formerly of Kansas State. Has spent the last three years playing for Keravnos in Cyprus. Good mid-range shooter, but not a great three point shooter, which wouldn't have been too bad were he not in for his shooting.
- Michael Lenzly: 29 year old 6'3 off-guard with the most pedigree of the bunch. Graduated from Wofford, and spent this season with Czech Republic team Nymburk; while the Czech league is not of note, Nymburk were a Eurocup team, so Lenzly played against decent competition this year. Was formerly Reinking and Finch's teammate at Dexia Mons-Hainuat; solid at most facets of the game, but not especially good at anything. At least he had the decency to be born here.
- Flinder Boyd: 29 year old 5'11 naturalised American guard, currently playing with Aquas De Sousas Club Ourense Balonceto in Spain. Ourense play in the LEB Gold. Boyd averaged 5.4 points and 1.9 assists in 22.5 minutes per game this season, with more shot attempts than points. You get the idea.
That's it. Those were the four. Those were our horses. There were no significant absences due to injury; indeed, the only notable backcourt absence was former California Golden Bears guard Richard Midgley, a former national team mainstay and quality shooter who retired after the 2008/09 season aged only 26 due to injury. It is not meant as disrespectful to the respective individuals when I say that they just aren't international calibre, not at the calibre to which Britain now play. But they just weren't. Flinder Boyd was matched up against Ricky Rubio. Nate Reinking had to try to do something about Milos Teodosic. Boyd in particular was overmatched, and it wasn't his fault. It's just how it was. It just wasn't fair.