What’s Wrong With Team USA Men’s Basketball
After a couple of exhibition losses and a disappointing defeat at the hands of France, many people are wondering what is going on with Team USA – especially given how much talent is on the roster. Is it head coach Gregg Popovich? Is it the International style versus the NBA? Is it that the team just hasn’t gelled? No excuse is good enough as this team should roll to a gold even if all of those were major impediments. Right now, though, they don’t look like they’re the best team on the court. What’s wrong with them?
Despite all of the talent that team USA has right now, they are seriously having trouble finding open shots in their half court sets. Much of that reason is because they are simply overpassing every possession. Now the team did miss a lot of open looks that they would normally bank home in their loss against France, they were also passing up too many looks that they would often take in the NBA. It is one thing to be unselfish with the basketball, but it is another to swing the ball around too much and never take advantage of opportunities.
Looking at their roster overall you wouldn’t think that the size advantage would be unbearable, but it definitely was against France. France opted to roll with Rudy Gobert and Guerschon Yabusele, two guys that don’t thrive offensively often, yet they were completely picking apart team USA throughout the game. USA chose to switch everything rather than let a player like Bam Adebayo hang around their bigs in the paint and it just wasn’t working for them at all. Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker and Keldon Johnson are incapable of defending a big in the paint. If the team continues to roll with that strategy, then they could have serious issues moving forward against opposing teams with talented big men.
This has been a reoccurring issue in the NBA but with international officials, these players aren’t able to get the same foul calls that they are used to getting. Often times in the NBA, you would see star players get the benefit of the doubt. This results in these players throwing their arms or legs out in an attempt to draw a foul rather than truly attempt to make the shot. In the Olympics so far, these officials aren’t calling those types of fouls which seems to be confusing and frustrating members of the team. They are going to have to understand the physical aspect of international play and quick.
This affects some but not all of the team USA players. The majority of them are coming off a 72-game season alongside a playoff run, with Booker, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton all having NBA Finals runs. With most of these guys coming straight over to team USA practice after their season ended, fatigue and exhaustion were bound to set in at some point. This definitely isn’t the biggest issue that the group is facing at the moment, but it could be a sneaky one to look out for as the Olympics push forward.