What is Team USA missing?
I hold back blogging anything referring the USA team during the preparation matchups since even if they won or loose it wouldn’t have counted and also it seems that their play would be very different from the real deal. Well the real deal came through and was pretty different indeed.
During the preparation games, team US looked a bit lackluster, specially trying to play small. Brazil and Argentina were close calls, at least the closest you would expect for a USA Team full of potential full of hall of famers and NBA star champions.
Not to take anything away from Argentina, which featured Spurs’s guard Manu Ginobili which is a solid star on a team that finished No 1. overall during this year regular season, and came 2 games from the NBA finals. But Luis Scola isn’t really a dominating force in the NBA, nor Lucioni or Varejao and Nene in Brazil.
If stars like LeBron, Melo and Kobe should take their roles more seriously and make the right moves to make the zone defense collapse and also defend like they know how to the critics of the size will quiet down dramatically. From LeBron chase down blocks, to Melo aggressiveness on the boards, there are many missing pieces that made team USA look a bit conformist with the way they have played against countries with lesser stars.
US needs a bit more killer instinct and gain a dominance that can make them match the first dream teams including the Dream Team 2 and 3 which average a 30+ lead difference over the rest of the world.
Why is this Important?
Well, most international teams are also not so sure this team is as unbeatable as the earlier ones. Batum from France refered them as beatable and other voices seems to believe the weakness in the middle could make their invincibility shaky. Even Charles Barkley have talk about this team versus the 92 Dream Team saying they couldn’t match David Robinson and Patrick Ewing in the middle would dominate the boards while team USA age, specially Kobe’s age is a bit past prime compared with Jordan, Pippen, Barkley and Co.
So uncertainty aside, does the USA Team has a real immediate competition? The answer is not really, and their competition should be against other USA Teams and other Dream teams. Remember Dream Team 2 with Shawn Kemp dominating the boards and dunking on half of the Greek squad or Vince Carter infamous dunk. Or the unstoppable center trifecta of Shaq, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon? After reviewing those games, I came to see that one missing piece was the full court game these teams played. From rebound to dunk, the ball touch the court very seldom. Having full court passes and fancy alley oops being drop every two or three plays. This is something that Team USA needs to remember and bring back to their game. To do this, rebounds, traps and blocks needs to be brought back, with a special request to cut back on the love of the 3 point line.
In my opinion, Team USA still needs to become more a team and a full court game with more penetration in mind and less of a half court shooting team.