There was a time in international basketball when any team would bend over backwards to have an actual NBA player, but with the increase of the level of play across the globe, the days where NBA players could punch themselves into their country's line-up card as a given is far gone.
Such was the case this week with Detroit Pistons big Charlie Villanueva, who was surprisingly cut from the Dominican Republic Olympic team by Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari, who is in charge of the DR squad.
The reason being stated by Calipari for Villanueva's dismissal is a simple one according to the coach; he isn't in playing shape.
"Charlie was not in good form when we saw him," Calipari told Deportes en la Z. "He was overweight, and unfortunately, we could not slow down the entire team and it was a decision taken collectively. Last year, Charlie behaved really well with us and his only problem was his weight."
While it is true that Villanueva's conditioning may not be at its best thanks to the numerous injuries he fought with in the lockout-shortened season, his weight might not be the real issue here. Upon being cut by the team and after hearing the reason, Villanueva returned fire at Calipari on his Twitter account, posting a picture of himself standing on a scale that read 243.5 pounds. That weight is nearly 12 pounds under his playing weight of 255.
No, the real reason for Villanueva's release is more likely that Calipari believes that he wouldn't fit into the system in which the coach is trying to install. Never really known for his team skills in the best of situations, Villanueva would be a poor fit for the run and gun system that Calipari is known for running.
Time will tell if this was the right decision for the Dominican Republic team but one thing has been made clear by all this, the value of NBA experience just isn't what it used to be.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: AP