Team USA evaluation

I'm back from vacation, and after a few days rest back home in SoCal, I am back in NC for the grind of a another school year. The update on the blog is that we will not be able to finish the 'to-do list' of every team because we want to dedicate most of this blog to evaluating moves and news of the NBA and their respective teams. We will pick the remaining 'to-do list' teams based on the majority of our readers' interests. We hope to bring you at least 7 more teams before the start of the season. With Phil still in Beijing for the Olympics, it is pretty tough to be maintaining and writing for the site all at once. I'm confident Phil is working hard in Beijing though. Here is a quick rundown about the US Men's Basketball team in Beijing.

The US has looked about on par with where everyone expected them to be. Most people expected vulnerabilities and laughed at anyone who tried to make too much of their pre-Olympic performances, many of whom were inferior competition. With Team USA playing like they are, many of the people I have spoke with about the games have been reluctant to call the US a lock for the gold. Those reservations are probably due largely in part to the sour taste in everyone's mouth from the 2004 debacle.

Lebron and Dwade have played exceptionally for the U.S. on offense, and Kobe and Dwight Howard have been the defensive force. Wade netted 19pts against the win over Angola and Lebron managed 12pts. Kobe's defense forced a lot of turnovers that led to easy buckets, and Kobe's offense has been mediocre as he scored only 8 in the win against Angola and 13 against the win in China. Team USA does not need Kobe to be dropping 30 to win, obviously, but his amazing defense is one of the US's strongest assets. The main criticism the team has drawn has been from their poor three point shooting. They only shot 29.2% from beyond the arc against China and 23.8% against Angola. Those numbers are interesting because one would think that the three point percentage would go up because the arc is closer to the basket in international play, but for whatever reason, the US is not knocking the shots down.

The US started out slow against China, and at one point in the second quarter were tied 26-26. The US outplayed China in the second half and had a decisive 31 point margin of victory. The US' victory never seemed to be in doubt, but the US has turned the ball over 12 times in both games, and has not been amazing from the charity stripe either. They have shot 72% and 64%, respectively in the two games played. They are going to have to increase those numbers considerably as they hit the tough part of their schedule against Greece and Spain. Both teams have come off huge wins. A decisive win against Germany for Greece and an emotional OT victory for Spain over China, led by Gasol's 29pts.

The strong point for the US has been the evenly distributed minutes by Coach K, their defense, and ball distribution. It is basketball at its finest level. It is the level of basketball that can be seen at no other time. The best players in the world running a passing offense that creates spacing and open shots. It is a beautiful thing to watch.

The US is going to have to step up their play another notch for them to beat Greece. Melo has said that they have waited two years since the World Championships in Japan for a chance to play Greece again. Greece torched the US in 06' with their pick n' rolls the whole game. Which is interesting because since Mike D'Antoni is on the coaching staff, and his play book consisted of a total of two plays called, "Nash do whatever you want" and "Nash run a pick n' roll" he couldn't give any advice on how to guard the play. Nonetheless, the US needs to keep up their defense and hit their open shots. Kobe has said that the players on the team are not used to be that wide open, but the US has had ample time to adjust to their new roles on their teams and it is time to execute. There is no question that the US has the most talent in the world, and it is not even close, but it is yet to be seen if the US has the best chemistry in the world. That will be tested with the up coming games, and if the US is going to win gold, they have to work out the kinks. It will be interesting to see how the US responds to the challenge, but without a doubt, Melo, Bron, and Dwade have had this date against Greece for a long time. The game against Greece will need to be played at a high level so the US can take that momentum into the games against Spain and Germany.



Gilbert Arenas has thoughts about Kwame and free agency in general, the pics of his pool that leaked, the european trend, and more.

Studies show that pro basketball players can tell whether a shot is good or bad the moment it leaves their hand from the memory in the player's pinky.

When I was in Vegas this past week I was looking for lines to bet for the Olympics, but did not find them. Apparently they exist, and it is a good thing I did not find them because the US was not even close to covering against Angola.

This is a great photo I've found from SLAM online.

Shaq is expanding his old childhood town.

I'm disappointed that Team USA does not want to try the new foods in China.

If you have not been/heard of the site hoopedia.com, then go to it. It is wikipedia for basketball so you can look up the starting lineup for the 90's Bulls and look like you knew it all along.

Picture Sources: usabasketball.com (first), espn.com (second), nydailynews.com (third)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

USA hoops is back. I think they've played great. I love their energy on D. Keep it up, and we might get to see LeBron GOLD MEDAL dance...

check it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cl4vXgwsxPM