Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups: All-Stars and now USA Basketball teammates
This weekend, Nuggets Carmleo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, who helped absolutely dismantle the Dallas Mavericks last night in Melo's return following an eight-game absence, will appear side by side in the NBA All-Star game thanks to a belated invitation to Chauncey that he deserved in the first place.
"And I'm not playing unless Mr. Billups comes along."
But before long, this pair will be joining forces on a third squad. USA Basketball has just named the members of its national team for 2010-12, and both Melo and Chauncey are on it.
Anthony was expected to return, given the key role he played in 2008, when the team brought home Olympic gold. But the addition of Billups is more surprising -- until, that is, you consider who's coaching.
Duke's Mike Krzyzewski has agreed to repeat his 2008 feat, which he performed to great acclaim. One reason: In assembling that team's lineup, he sought out complimentary pieces that work well together, as opposed to the biggest names he could find regardless of how well they played with others.
Billups could hardly be a better fit for this approach. He's the consummate point guard -- an athlete who'll step up if everyone around him has gone cold, but who'll eagerly set up others if that's the best way to win.
Congrats to Krzyzewski and USA Basketball for recognizing that Chauncey -- and for giving him a chance to add a certain golden something to his trophy chest a couple of years from now.