LAS VEGAS - The United States has some cuts to make, but Michael Redd probably shouldn't be too concerned.
The Americans have gone too long without a reliable perimeter threat, so they'd be wise not to send home one of the NBA's best.
Inconsistent 3-point shooting has plagued the Americans while going without a title in their past three major international events, a problem they hope they've addressed with the additions of Redd and Mike Miller.
“Both Mike Miller, Michael Redd - both Mikes can shoot this,” point guard Jason Kidd said. “So it definitely gives us an added weapon.”
Even though the international 3-point line of 20 feet, 6.1 inches is more than 3 feet closer than the NBA distance of 23-9 at its furthest point, it hasn't proven to be any easier for Americas pros. It's a major reason the Americans haven't won a major title since the 2000 Olympics.
U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski has his players shooting 3-pointers and free throws at the end of practice, but there's still plenty of work to do. Both Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony missed 3s that would have tied the game in the closing seconds of overtime during their scrimmage against a select team of NBA players on Saturday.
Krzyzewski gave the team off Sunday, and the Americans returned to the gym Monday night for practice. They needed to drop two players to be down to the roster limit of 12 on Tuesday, the day before they open the FIBA Americas tournament against Venezuela.
With Bryant, Anthony and LeBron James, the U.S. team has plenty of scorers. But with many international teams preferring to sit back in a zone defense when they play the Americans, even the NBA's best slashers often have trouble finding driving lanes.
But if they could hit their open perimeter shots and force teams out of their zones, it would make the Americans almost unbeatable. Few teams have enough players to guard both Bryant and James 1-on-1.