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Troublemaker
08-05-2016, 10:06 AM
Based on current level of activity on these boards, one thread should be able to handle all the Group Stage commentary.

Opening ceremony for Rio is tonight, and the games start for real tomorrow, including USA playing China (again! - but it will count this time).

Group Play schedule is here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball_at_the_2016_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_M en%27s_tournament#Group_stage). Rio time is one hour ahead of Eastern time.

Tomorrow's games (all Group A):

France vs Australia
USA vs China
Serbia vs Venezuela

Troublemaker
08-05-2016, 10:14 AM
Current odds to win gold (http://www.oddschecker.com/olympics/basketball/olympic-basketball-mens/winner) at Oddschecker.

According to that link, if you want to bet on the USA, the best odds you can get currently are to bet $1000 to win $100 on USA. That might actually sound like a good deal to anyone who thinks USA is a lock for gold.

Troublemaker
08-05-2016, 10:31 AM
List of all close games USA has played since the loss to Greece in 2006 (if we define "close" as a margin < 12 points [which is < 3 points a quarter]):


2008 Olympics

USA 118, Spain 107 (Gold Medal Game)


2010 FIBA World Championship

USA 70, Brazil 68 (Group Stage)
USA 89, Russia 79 (Quarterfinals)


2012 Olympics

USA 99, Lithuania 94 (Group Stage)
USA 107, Spain 100 (Gold Medal Game)


2014 FIBA World Cup

...


So 5 games total. In 2014, USA encountered zero close games. It was easily the most dominant performance from beginning to end of a competition in the Coach K era (unless you count the 2007 FIBA Americas to qualify for the 2008 Olympics).

We'll see if that is somehow the new normal now. I suspect we'll have one or two close close games again. Hopefully no losses.

flyingdutchdevil
08-05-2016, 11:38 AM
Nice article by the Undefeated that I completely agree with: http://theundefeated.com/features/usa-basketball-at-rio-olympics-trying-not-to-be-overconfident/

Main points:
-Coach K is getting his players to respect all opponents (rightly so)
-But Team USA is arguably the most favored participant to win gold in ANY sport
-There is clearly a blurred line between praising opponents and reality (and you don't want to discuss reality, because the reality is that the US is so dominant in a not-so-dominant field)

mattman91
08-05-2016, 12:08 PM
Nice article by the Undefeated that I completely agree with: http://theundefeated.com/features/usa-basketball-at-rio-olympics-trying-not-to-be-overconfident/

Main points:
-Coach K is getting his players to respect all opponents (rightly so)
-But Team USA is arguably the most favored participant to win gold in ANY sport
-There is clearly a blurred line between praising opponents and reality (and you don't want to discuss reality, because the reality is that the US is so dominant in a not-so-dominant field)


It is very hard to not be arrogant, but we are going to beat the I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this. out of everyone.

flyingdutchdevil
08-05-2016, 12:53 PM
[/B]

It is very hard to not be arrogant, but we are going to beat the I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this.I'm a real wanker for saying this. out of everyone.

Yes. Yes you are (not a wanker, but US will beat the snot out of everyone).

I have a theory that US dominance is cyclical:
1) US is amazing
2) US continues to be amazing
3) US becomes overly arrogant, the best players don't sign up to play, and begins losing
4) USA Basketball panics, hires genius coach to get them back on track
5) US is amazing

COYS
08-05-2016, 01:03 PM
Yes. Yes you are (not a wanker, but US will beat the snot out of everyone).

I have a theory that US dominance is cyclical:
1) US is amazing
2) US continues to be amazing
3) US becomes overly arrogant, the best players don't sign up to play, and begins losing
4) USA Basketball panics, hires genius coach to get them back on track
5) US is amazing

The difference now is that there is an established system and culture in place from the youth levels on up. It's not too different from how the best soccer countries develop their international players from their teenage years onward. It's why we could take a second/third string team to the World Cup last year and put on the most dominant display since the '92 dream team. Most of the best NBA players are familiar with international rules from their time in high school, meaning the US players don't need an adjustment period to adapt to international rules. Things like the Select Team keep alternative players who are familiar with the team waiting in the wings in case of emergency. Finally, the NBA itself has transitioned to favor a style of play that translates more easily to international levels.

Anyway, I'm not saying the US will romp for certain this year. But I think we are as protected against overconfidence as we can possibly be. We've always had the talent, but the system K and Colangelo have put in place means that our players also have the background necessary to execute in international games.

Troublemaker
08-05-2016, 01:27 PM
Nice article by the Undefeated that I completely agree with: http://theundefeated.com/features/usa-basketball-at-rio-olympics-trying-not-to-be-overconfident/

You "completely agree"? Even the part where he suggests that Harrison Barnes could be better than every non-USA player? In terms of just basketball ability, I would say France alone has two players clearly better than Barnes in Batum and Gobert, and some would argue for Tony Parker as well. (I do think part of the decision to pick Barnes, though, was because he would be happy to be a 12th man.)



-But Team USA is arguably the most favored participant to win gold in ANY sport

In case anyone is wondering, Katie Ledecky is about 4-5 times a bigger favorite than USA men's basketball in their respective events -- 400m freestyle (http://www.oddschecker.com/olympics/swimming/olympics-womens/womens-400m-freestyle/winner) and 800m freestyle (http://www.oddschecker.com/olympics/swimming/olympics-womens/womens-800m-freestyle/winner) for her.

Pawal Fadjek is a slightly bigger favorite than USA men's basketball in his event, the hammer throw (http://www.oddschecker.com/olympics/athletics/mens/mens-hammer/winner). Katinka Hosszu is also a slightly bigger favorite in her 200m individual medley (http://www.oddschecker.com/olympics/swimming/olympics-womens/womens-200m-individual-medley/winner).

So men's basketball is roughly the 4th-biggest favorite in Rio, tied with Almaz Ayana in women's 5000m (http://www.oddschecker.com/olympics/athletics/womens/womens-5000m/winner) track and with USA women's basketball (http://www.oddschecker.com/olympics/basketball/olympic-basketball-womens/winner), of course.



-There is clearly a blurred line between praising opponents and reality (and you don't want to discuss reality, because the reality is that the US is so dominant in a not-so-dominant field)

Team USA is clearly the strongest team in Rio. But over a 40-minute game, several teams participating in Rio can give us a close game. As has happened before, which I listed upthread.

kAzE
08-05-2016, 01:43 PM
Current odds to win gold (http://www.oddschecker.com/olympics/basketball/olympic-basketball-mens/winner) at Oddschecker.

According to that link, if you want to bet on the USA, the best odds you can get currently are to bet $1000 to win $100 on USA. That might actually sound like a good deal to anyone who thinks USA is a lock for gold.

Somebody needs to explain this to me, because I don't understand how Australia is so far down in the oddmakers' rankings. 200:1 odds? That makes no sense to me. They are starting 5 current veteran NBA players, four of whom have NBA championship rings:

Andrew Bogut
Aron Baynes
Joe Ingles
Matthew Dellavedova
Patty Mills

That's not enough to get in the top half of the rankings??

In comparison, the Serbians (who most are giving 25:1 odds) are starting 1 current NBA player, who was a rookie last year:

Nikola Jokic
Milan Macvan
Nikola Kalinic
Bogdan Bogdanovic
Milos Teodosic

What am I missing here?

flyingdutchdevil
08-05-2016, 02:20 PM
Team USA is clearly the strongest team in Rio. But over a 40-minute game, several teams participating in Rio can give us a close game. As has happened before, which I listed upthread.

That assumes that the international world's talent gap to the US is relatively the same in THESE Olympics. Overall, I'd say that the international world is getting better (20% of the NBA is foreign). But these best players aren't represented at the Olympics this year. Argentina is passe. France's best players are old (Parker and Diaw) and future players are raw offensively (Gobert). Spain is missing its best player and is arguably the biggest underachiever in the last 4 years.

The international world may have kept it close, but that's with their best talent. Right now, the best international talent isn't playing or is waaaaaaay past their prime.

US Gold in Men's Basketball isn't a sure thing. But few things are more of a sure thing (and you listed 3 that are more of a sure thing out of 306 medal sets).

To me, men's international basketball is just dumb fun. It's not competitive sport. If anyone thinks 1-seeds against 16-seeds are competitive, then we clearly disagree.

kmspeaks
08-05-2016, 02:24 PM
When the announcement was made that softball was returning to the Olympics a friend of mine remarked the announcement should just read another guaranteed gold medal for the United States. To make things more interesting he suggested a Little League World Series type setup with one side of the bracket international teams and the other side US teams from different regions. Might make the basketball tournament more interesting as well.

Billy Dat
08-05-2016, 02:48 PM
That assumes that the international world's talent gap to the US is relatively the same in THESE Olympics. Overall, I'd say that the international world is getting better (20% of the NBA is foreign). But these best players aren't represented at the Olympics this year. Argentina is passe. France's best players are old (Parker and Diaw) and future players are raw offensively (Gobert). Spain is missing its best player and is arguably the biggest underachiever in the last 4 years.

The international world may have kept it close, but that's with their best talent. Right now, the best international talent isn't playing or is waaaaaaay past their prime.

US Gold in Men's Basketball isn't a sure thing. But few things are more of a sure thing (and you listed 3 that are more of a sure thing out of 306 medal sets).

To me, men's international basketball is just dumb fun. It's not competitive sport. If anyone thinks 1-seeds against 16-seeds are competitive, then we clearly disagree.

I also think that while the story is all about how the US isn't fielding its best team, neither is anyone else, nor will they probably ever again. Now that so many of these great foreign players actually play in the NBA, the desire to test themselves and show their country's ability on the FIBA World Cup/Olympic stage is lessened. Plus, like their American league-mates, they want a summer break, too!

JasonEvans
08-05-2016, 04:42 PM
I also think that while the story is all about how the US isn't fielding its best team, neither is anyone else, nor will they probably ever again. Now that so many of these great foreign players actually play in the NBA, the desire to test themselves and show their country's ability on the FIBA World Cup/Olympic stage is lessened. Plus, like their American league-mates, they want a summer break, too!

If they actually bother to play, I have to think that Canada will provide formidable competition for the US in 4 years. They will likely have a roster featuring nothing but NBA players with about half the roster being guys who start on NBA teams.

I'm so disappointed they didn't make it this year and did not send their best players.

mattman91
08-05-2016, 05:05 PM
If they actually bother to play, I have to think that Canada will provide formidable competition for the US in 4 years. They will likely have a roster featuring nothing but NBA players with about half the roster being guys who start on NBA teams.

I'm so disappointed they didn't make it this year and did not send their best players.

Bunch of hosers! They disapointed me too, eh.


Andrew Wiggins
Anthony Bennett
Tyler Ennis
Cory Joseph
Jamal Murry
Trey Lyles
Kelly Olynyk
Nick Stauskas
Tristan Thompson

Lots of talented Canadian shooty-hoops players in the league right now!

NSDukeFan
08-05-2016, 05:39 PM
If they actually bother to play, I have to think that Canada will provide formidable competition for the US in 4 years. They will likely have a roster featuring nothing but NBA players with about half the roster being guys who start on NBA teams.

I'm so disappointed they didn't make it this year and did not send their best players.

You're telling me. Grrrr, Venezuela.

Troublemaker
08-05-2016, 06:04 PM
Somebody needs to explain this to me, because I don't understand how Australia is so far down in the oddmakers' rankings. 200:1 odds? That makes no sense to me. They are starting 5 current veteran NBA players, four of whom have NBA championship rings:

Andrew Bogut
Aron Baynes
Joe Ingles
Matthew Dellavedova
Patty Mills

That's not enough to get in the top half of the rankings??

In comparison, the Serbians (who most are giving 25:1 odds) are starting 1 current NBA player, who was a rookie last year:

Nikola Jokic
Milan Macvan
Nikola Kalinic
Bogdan Bogdanovic
Milos Teodosic

What am I missing here?

Maybe nothing. It's possible Australia surprises and finishes 3rd in Group A behind USA and France but ahead of Serbia. (I'd be really surprised if they finished any higher). However, the reason the Aussies are ranked lower than maybe their NBA talent would suggest is because of pedigree. At the last 2 FIBA World Championships, the Aussies finished 12th and 10th; Serbia, by contrast, won silver (losing to USA in 2014) and finished 4th. Australia has a FIBA ranking of #11 while Serbia is ranked #6; generally, the Serbs have just played better in international competition.

Also, keep in mind Teodosic is a Euroleague 1st-team player and former Euroleague MVP. He could be in the NBA if he wanted to be. Jokic was one of the NBA's best rookies last season. Bogdanovic will come over at some point. Raduljica and Nedovic had their cups of tea in the league.

Troublemaker
08-05-2016, 06:19 PM
That assumes that the international world's talent gap to the US is relatively the same in THESE Olympics. Overall, I'd say that the international world is getting better (20% of the NBA is foreign). But these best players aren't represented at the Olympics this year. Argentina is passe. France's best players are old (Parker and Diaw) and future players are raw offensively (Gobert). Spain is missing its best player and is arguably the biggest underachiever in the last 4 years.

The international world may have kept it close, but that's with their best talent. Right now, the best international talent isn't playing or is waaaaaaay past their prime.

Maybe, but a few of these teams are still more talented than Lithuania 2012, Brazil 2010, or Russia 2010, all of whom gave USA a game.

You don't have to be loaded with good NBA talent to randomly play a near-perfect 40 minutes (and/or have USA play or shoot poorly). Lithuania's best player was Linas Kleiza (a very average NBA wing), and they had USA on the ropes in the 2012 Olympics.



US Gold in Men's Basketball isn't a sure thing. But few things are more of a sure thing (and you listed 3 that are more of a sure thing out of 306 medal sets).

Agreed. I can't see how anyone would argue against this.



To me, men's international basketball is just dumb fun. It's not competitive sport. If anyone thinks 1-seeds against 16-seeds are competitive, then we clearly disagree.

It's a very competitive sport. Most of the games played won't involve USA; even if you think USA will kill everyone, the fight for silver and bronze and the positioning to avoid USA's path in the medal rounds can be interesting if you enjoy watching the FIBA game. I do enjoy it and will definitely be watching many of the non-USA games. (And besides, the 1 vs 16 comparison probably only holds true for USA vs the bottom 5-6 teams).

CDu
08-05-2016, 07:18 PM
Maybe nothing. It's possible Australia surprises and finishes 3rd in Group A behind USA and France but ahead of Serbia. (I'd be really surprised if they finished any higher). However, the reason the Aussies are ranked lower than maybe their NBA talent would suggest is because of pedigree. At the last 2 FIBA World Championships, the Aussies finished 12th and 10th; Serbia, by contrast, won silver (losing to USA in 2014) and finished 4th. Australia has a FIBA ranking of #11 while Serbia is ranked #6; generally, the Serbs have just played better in international competition.

Also, keep in mind Teodosic is a Euroleague 1st-team player and former Euroleague MVP. He could be in the NBA if he wanted to be. Jokic was one of the NBA's best rookies last season. Bogdanovic will come over at some point. Raduljica and Nedovic had their cups of tea in the league.

Yeah, in a head-to-head with Australia, Serbia might have the three best players in Jokic, Teodosic, and Bogdanovic. They almost certainly have three of the four best players.

Australia has more guys who have been willing to come over to the NBA. But very few of them are more than fringe players. Serbia has guys who could do that, but haven't. And a guy like Teodosic would be a pretty good NBA player if he ever decided to come over.

Furniture
08-05-2016, 10:03 PM
https://mobile.twitter.com/dukeblueplanet/status/761713244306345984/video/1

kostar
08-05-2016, 10:17 PM
Bunch of hosers! They disapointed me too, eh.


Andrew Wiggins
Anthony Bennett
Tyler Ennis
Cory Joseph
Jamal Murry
Trey Lyles
Kelly Olynyk
Nick Stauskas
Tristan Thompson

Lots of talented Canadian shooty-hoops players in the league right now!

yeah it's kind of crazy, if the Canadian team had their whole squad they're definitely expected to compete for medals in 2020. But it would require their whole squad to actually show up. A few of those guys had no contracts so needed to sort our NBA contract issues before committing, both FAs and Rookies. Some guys wanted the summer off to prep for the next NBA season; Wiggins/Stauskas. Others recovering from injury Olynk.

Much respect for Thompson though, he joined the team in Manila immediately after winning the NBA championship.

kAzE
08-05-2016, 11:02 PM
Maybe nothing. It's possible Australia surprises and finishes 3rd in Group A behind USA and France but ahead of Serbia. (I'd be really surprised if they finished any higher). However, the reason the Aussies are ranked lower than maybe their NBA talent would suggest is because of pedigree. At the last 2 FIBA World Championships, the Aussies finished 12th and 10th; Serbia, by contrast, won silver (losing to USA in 2014) and finished 4th. Australia has a FIBA ranking of #11 while Serbia is ranked #6; generally, the Serbs have just played better in international competition.

Also, keep in mind Teodosic is a Euroleague 1st-team player and former Euroleague MVP. He could be in the NBA if he wanted to be. Jokic was one of the NBA's best rookies last season. Bogdanovic will come over at some point. Raduljica and Nedovic had their cups of tea in the league.


Yeah, in a head-to-head with Australia, Serbia might have the three best players in Jokic, Teodosic, and Bogdanovic. They almost certainly have three of the four best players.

Australia has more guys who have been willing to come over to the NBA. But very few of them are more than fringe players. Serbia has guys who could do that, but haven't. And a guy like Teodosic would be a pretty good NBA player if he ever decided to come over.

Hmm, okay, that makes a bit more sense. I'll admit I'm not too knowledgeable about hoops in Europe, and Teodosic wasn't on my radar. Still, I dunno about 3 of the best 4 players.

Bogut is absolutely a top 3, if not the top overall guy between the 2 teams. He's obviously wasn't relied upon for offense with the Warriors, but he's a skilled two way player and can be a focal point of an offense with his phenomenal passing for a big man. With shooters like Mills and Ingles on the outside, that will give him a ton of space to do his thing.

I just looked this up: http://www.sbnation.com/2016/8/3/12351142/olympics-basketball-2016-rio-rankings-france-spain-brazil

Look like we're about in agreement, they ranked Australia just ahead of Serbia.

Troublemaker
08-06-2016, 07:58 AM
Australia has more guys who have been willing to come over to the NBA. But very few of them are more than fringe players. Serbia has guys who could do that, but haven't. And a guy like Teodosic would be a pretty good NBA player if he ever decided to come over.

Nicely put, CDu. Even though Delly is in the NBA and Teodosic isn't, Teodosic very likely is the better basketball player.



Bogut is absolutely a top 3, if not the top overall guy between the 2 teams. He's obviously wasn't relied upon for offense with the Warriors, but he's a skilled two way player and can be a focal point of an offense with his phenomenal passing for a big man. With shooters like Mills and Ingles on the outside, that will give him a ton of space to do his thing.

The 26-year-old Bogut for sure, but not this 32-year-old Bogut, who's rusty, coming off rehab of the knee injury he suffered in the NBA Finals. I wouldn't be surprised if Bogut only plays a reserve role, backing up Aron Baynes. If I had to guess who Australia's best player will be, I'd guess Patty Mills. Maybe Baynes.

NSDukeFan
08-06-2016, 08:15 AM
Nicely put, CDu. Even though Delly is in the NBA and Teodosic isn't, Teodosic very likely is the better basketball player.



The 26-year-old Bogut for sure, but not this 32-year-old Bogut, who's rusty, coming off rehab of the knee injury he suffered in the NBA Finals. I wouldn't be surprised if Bogut only plays a reserve role, backing up Aron Baynes. If I had to guess who Australia's best player will be, I'd guess Patty Mills. Maybe Baynes.

Wasn't Patty Mills the tournament leading scorer in London? Or am I thinking of another international tournament?

Troublemaker
08-06-2016, 08:37 AM
Wasn't Patty Mills the tournament leading scorer in London? Or am I thinking of another international tournament?

Good memory. Indeed he was at 21.2 ppg, topping Durant's 19.5 ppg (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_M en%27s_tournament#Individual_tournament_highs).

Troublemaker
08-06-2016, 02:52 PM
Hmm, maybe the Aussies ARE underrated. They are currently blowing out France by 20 late in the 4th quarter. Beautiful ball movement, back cuts, and shooting sliced up France's vaunted defense. And the French couldn't get out of their own way on offense with all the sloppy turnovers.

dukelifer
08-06-2016, 03:02 PM
Hmm, maybe the Aussies ARE underrated. They are currently blowing out France by 20 late in the 4th quarter. Beautiful ball movement, back cuts, and shooting sliced up France's vaunted defense. And the French couldn't get out of their own way on offense with all the sloppy turnovers.

They definitely had it going today. Looks like France decided not to compete after 3 quarters and wait for the next game to regroup.

Troublemaker
08-06-2016, 03:21 PM
They definitely had it going today. Looks like France decided not to compete after 3 quarters and wait for the next game to regroup.

If so, that's a mistake. You could easily envision a situation where Serbia beats Australia, and France beats Serbia, and point differential is then used to break the tie between the three teams and seed them. Definitely a disappointing effort from France.

TKG
08-06-2016, 03:48 PM
Looks like France decided not to compete......

Well, there is some precedence for this.........

kAzE
08-06-2016, 05:47 PM
Hmm, maybe the Aussies ARE underrated. They are currently blowing out France by 20 late in the 4th quarter. Beautiful ball movement, back cuts, and shooting sliced up France's vaunted defense. And the French couldn't get out of their own way on offense with all the sloppy turnovers.

Told you Bogut would dominate :)

Indoor66
08-06-2016, 05:58 PM
When does the U.S. play. Anyone know which channel?

OldPhiKap
08-06-2016, 06:01 PM
Right now. NBCSN. K has his game face on, seriously.

TKG
08-06-2016, 06:11 PM
Right now. NBCSN. K has his game face on, seriously.

The boys are sleepwalking through the first few minutes...

devildeac
08-06-2016, 06:28 PM
Hmm, maybe the Aussies ARE underrated. They are currently blowing out France by 20 late in the 4th quarter. Beautiful ball movement, back cuts, and shooting sliced up France's vaunted defense. And the French couldn't get out of their own way on offense with all the sloppy turnovers.

Wait, you used France and vaunted defense in the same sentence?

:rolleyes:;)

OldPhiKap
08-06-2016, 06:55 PM
Wait, you used France and vaunted defense in the same sentence?

:rolleyes:;)

True. Who starts 1 . . . . e7-e6?

Troublemaker
08-06-2016, 07:10 PM
Told you Bogut would dominate :)

Your boy was looking spry on those backdoor lobs! Good to see him healthy.


Right now. NBCSN. K has his game face on, seriously.

No kidding. I thought we were playing Spain, looking at Coach's game face. He was seriously concerned.


Wait, you used France and vaunted defense in the same sentence?

:rolleyes:;)

I know, right? Silly me. France surrendered backdoor Dunkirks way too easily!

TKG
08-06-2016, 07:59 PM
Nice stat: 31 assists on 38 made field goals.

Troublemaker
08-06-2016, 08:03 PM
Nice stat: 31 assists on 38 made field goals.

This was easily the best performance from USA so far, even though, because of opponent quality, it was essentially just another exhibition. Still, it was nice to see things clicking.

Paul George spent some time guarding the PG. That might come in handy against the Teodosics of the world.

Draymond Green spent most of his minutes at center in "switch everything" lineups. Again, something that might come in handy down the line.

TKG
08-06-2016, 08:08 PM
This was easily the best performance from USA so far, even though, because of opponent quality, it was essentially just another exhibition. Still, it was nice to see things clicking.

Paul George spent some time guarding the PG. That might come in handy against the Teodosics of the world.

Draymond Green spent most of his minutes at center in "switch everything" lineups. Again, something that might come in handy down the line.

Love the defensive pressure and the length of Team USA allows them to switch on almost all picks. The D comes in waves. Beautiful.

devildeac
08-06-2016, 09:04 PM
True. Who starts 1 . . . . e7-e6?

Check.

;)

devildeac
08-06-2016, 09:05 PM
This was easily the best performance from USA so far, even though, because of opponent quality, it was essentially just another exhibition. Still, it was nice to see things clicking.

Paul George spent some time guarding the PG. That might come in handy against the Teodosics of the world.

Draymond Green spent most of his minutes at center in "switch everything" lineups. Again, something that might come in handy down the line.

And hopefully, the pigeon spent most of his minutes on the bench...

subzero02
08-06-2016, 10:55 PM
http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/2016/8/6/12395068/olympic-basketball-u-s-crushes-china-119-62

This article needs a bit of editing, that or team USA should switch its name to team DeMarcus.

"Kevin Durant had 25 to pace the U.S. DeMarcus Cousins had 17 while Paul George added 15 and Kyrie Irving put up 12.

The U.S. rebounded incredibly well but no one got more than seven (DeMarcus Jordan and Carmelo Anthony).

Even Harrison Barnes, who has never impressed us as a rebounder, managed four. Only DeMarcus DeRozan failed to grab a board."

kAzE
08-07-2016, 03:07 AM
International basketball is starting to feel like college basketball, just with a longer life cycle. Every once in awhile, some mid majors like Spain and Argentina get some good continuity with a talented team that grows together and can compete with the big programs for a time, but then their stars get too old and Coach K just reloads.

gep
08-07-2016, 03:42 AM
And hopefully, the pigeon spent most of his minutes on the bench...

Well... Look at it this way. The more he plays, the more the others get to rest. So... Maybe the more he plays ... The better?

Skitzle
08-07-2016, 06:54 AM
Couldn't watch the game, can't find a box score... Who started for the US?

richardjackson199
08-07-2016, 07:36 AM
Couldn't watch the game, can't find a box score... Who started for the US?

Starters were Kyrie, Klay, Cousins, Durant, and Carmelo. But everybody played lots.

dukelifer
08-07-2016, 07:44 AM
http://www.dukebasketballreport.com/2016/8/6/12395068/olympic-basketball-u-s-crushes-china-119-62

This article needs a bit of editing, that or team USA should switch its name to team DeMarcus.

"Kevin Durant had 25 to pace the U.S. DeMarcus Cousins had 17 while Paul George added 15 and Kyrie Irving put up 12.

The U.S. rebounded incredibly well but no one got more than seven (DeMarcus Jordan and Carmelo Anthony).

Even Harrison Barnes, who has never impressed us as a rebounder, managed four. Only DeMarcus DeRozan failed to grab a board."

Weren't those the three that ended up in a brothel? Maybe they all decided to use the same name upon entry and it stuck.

Rickshaw
08-07-2016, 09:12 AM
We are all Marko

We are all from Tropoja

OldPhiKap
08-07-2016, 09:13 AM
Weren't those the three that ended up in a brothel? Maybe they all decided to use the same name upon entry and it stuck.

No Ron Mexico?

Troublemaker
08-07-2016, 11:00 AM
Group B starts play today.

Brazil -1.5 vs Lithuania: So, due to homecourt advantage, Brazil is actually slightly favored over Lithuania, one of the sexy picks for silver, along with Spain, France, and Serbia. Well, we saw what happened to France yesterday, so maybe Brazil will pull this off, hopefully using pretty basketball like the Aussies used to upset France. To me, Brazil badly needs to win this first game to get the crowd behind them and believing. After what happened to Brazil in soccer at both Copa and the World Cup two years ago, I would understand if the Brazilian fans are a bit gunshy about buying in to their national teams.

Spain -9 vs Croatia: First data point on Spain to see if they are capable of giving USA another great medal-round game. I wouldn't be totally shocked if the Spaniards lose this game, though. Croatia actually causes mismatch problems at the 2 and 3 with their huge, 6'8" NBA wings in Hezonja and BojBogdanovic. Also will be interesting to see Saric match up with Mirotic. The current hot Euro stretch 4 vs the previous one.

Argentina -11 vs Nigeria: Michael Gbinije sighting! As Gbinije (in a reserve role, likely) goes up against Argentina's wily vets who seem to average 36 years of age and are slow and ground-bound at this point in their careers. Nigeria's athleticism advantage probably can't overcome the massive skills and experience deficit.

TKG
08-07-2016, 11:04 AM
No Ron Mexico?

Maybe Ron Jeremy......

jacone21
08-07-2016, 11:31 AM
Maybe Ron Jeremy...

DeMarcus <language filter got me>

moonpie23
08-07-2016, 01:35 PM
as i've talked about before, giving all the US players a "no hater" pass for the Olympics really gives you a different take on them. you get to know them, and can watch their play without the firewall...

phaedrus
08-07-2016, 02:37 PM
Paul George spent some time guarding the PG.



I've always said the only one who can slow down a healthy Paul George is Paul George; I guess he started taking it literally.

devildeac
08-07-2016, 03:38 PM
Well... Look at it this way. The more he plays, the more the others get to rest. So... Maybe the more he plays ... The better?

Never!

:o

devildeac
08-07-2016, 03:40 PM
as i've talked about before, giving all the US players a "no hater" pass for the Olympics really gives you a different take on them. you get to know them, and can watch their play without the firewall...

All the US players? Are you sure about that moonie? ;)

Troublemaker
08-07-2016, 07:54 PM
Spain just went down to Croatia in a great game (for tension, not necessarily amazing basketball). BojBogdanovic lead the way with 23 points, and Dario Saric blocked Gasol at the buzzer to seal the 72-70 win.

Billy Dat
08-07-2016, 09:33 PM
Spain just went down to Croatia in a great game (for tension, not necessarily amazing basketball). BojBogdanovic lead the way with 23 points, and Dario Saric blocked Gasol at the buzzer to seal the 72-70 win.

Yes, it was a very exciting 4th quarter. Spain looked like they were going to control the game in the first quarter but they let Croatia stay within 10. The 3 that Croatia hit to end the half and cut the lead to 6 was a big momentum shot. Bogdanovic and Gasol were going punch for punch down the stretch but I feel like Spain's longtime coach, Sergio Scariolo, didn't have a good handle on his rotation down the stretch. I thought Spain would win when Mirotic hit that 3, I figured the veteran squad would find a way, but Croatia made that huge steal and lay-up, and then that big put back. Still, that Gasol lay-up was money in the bank and Saric's block was huge. Basically, there were less than 2 seconds left in the game, Spain had the ball under the basket out of bounds, ran a bunch of screening action and got it to Gasol 2 feet from the hoop. He spun and floated up a sure game tying 2. Saric busted from the opposite block as soon as Gasol caught the ball, time his jump perfectly, and swatted it cleanly when it was about a foot out of his hand. Buzzer and ballgame.

I also saw a bit of Lithuania almost cough up a 30 point lead to Venezuela. Fun start to the hoops.

elvis14
08-07-2016, 10:17 PM
as i've talked about before, giving all the US players a "no hater" pass for the Olympics really gives you a different take on them. you get to know them, and can watch their play without the firewall...

All but 1. I hope Harry Skype misses every shot he takes, every game no matter who he's playing for or against.

moonpie23
08-07-2016, 10:32 PM
All the US players? Are you sure about that moonie? ;)


All but 1. I hope Harry Skype misses every shot he takes, every game no matter who he's playing for or against.

i'm giving harrison barnes a pass. He's playing for our country.

OldPhiKap
08-07-2016, 10:35 PM
i'm giving harrison barnes a pass. He's playing for our country.

Me too. If I don't want UNC fans rooting against K, I gotta be consistent.

Doesn't mean I want him to play a lot of minutes though.

gep
08-07-2016, 11:00 PM
The goal is the GOLD medal. With 30-50 point games Barnes will get plenty minutes. OK with me in those cases. He can have those minutes.

Troublemaker
08-08-2016, 09:57 AM
Group A is back on the stage today. Here are the matchups and point spreads:

Serbia (1-0) -5 vs Australia (1-0): The oddsmakers are not respecting Australia yet, despite the dominant performance over France. Today will give a clue as to whether that was a one-off performance or an indication of the Aussies' quality. Both of these teams pass the ball so well that they will put on one of the most entertaining basketball games of the Olympics no matter who wins. It's a shame that it's the early game and not many people will get to watch.

USA (1-0) -49.5 vs Venezuela (0-1): That's a very large point spread against a Venezuelan team that will try to slow down the pace. Then again, their offense is so horrible that the USA could win 90-40. It will fun to see what the longest shutout scoring run will be for the USA. Will USA have a 10-0 scoring run? 15-0? 20-0?

France (0-1) -23 vs China (0-1): France needs to show up to the Olympics and wallop China here. If the French struggle to a single-digit or low teens type win, it may be a sign that they're not going to turn around their problems.

kAzE
08-08-2016, 03:13 PM
The Aussies continue to make me look good with a big 4th quarter to win by 15 over the Serbs. Matthew Dellavedova led the way with 23 points on 7 for 8 shooting, 13 assists, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers.

Andrew Bogut had another dominant game, with 9 points on 3 of 4 shooting, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks.

Who was saying the Serbians had 3 of the best 4 players in this match up? :)

SCMatt33
08-08-2016, 03:47 PM
With those two wins, it's now unlikely that Australia will have to resort to tanking like in the 2014 World Cup to avoid the US. All they need to do is avoid the upset against either Venezuela or China and they will finish (presumably, assuming no US losses) 2nd in the group and thus be on the other side of the bracket from the US. This would create incentive for Fance and Serbia to potentially tank their game with each other, bit given that they play Wednesday, neither would likely be willing to risk elimination with a slip up later against China or Venezuela. Additionally, the World Cup tank involved avoiding the US in the quarters and not the semis, so even without avoiding the US here, a medal is still possible.

CDu
08-08-2016, 04:04 PM
The Aussies continue to make me look good with a big 4th quarter to win by 15 over the Serbs. Matthew Dellavedova led the way with 23 points on 7 for 8 shooting, 13 assists, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers.

Andrew Bogut had another dominant game, with 9 points on 3 of 4 shooting, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocks.

Who was saying the Serbians had 3 of the best 4 players in this match up? :)

I said it, and stand by it. Teodosic and Bogdanovic had bad shooting nights (3-11 combined from 3pt range), while Dellavedova had a really good shooting night (3-4 from 3, 7-8 overall). I'd still take Jokic (who they've played sparingly thus far), Teodosic, and Bogdanovic over Dellavedova, Baynes, Mills, Ingles, Baynes, and Bairstow.

The Aussies caught Serbia on a really bad shooting night (5-22 from 3), and that more or less was the difference in the game. Still, big win for Australia. That more or less locks them into the second spot in the group. Serbia will need to beat France to avoid the fourth spot.

kAzE
08-08-2016, 04:50 PM
I said it, and stand by it. Teodosic and Bogdanovic had bad shooting nights (3-11 combined from 3pt range), while Dellavedova had a really good shooting night (3-4 from 3, 7-8 overall). I'd still take Jokic (who they've played sparingly thus far), Teodosic, and Bogdanovic over Dellavedova, Baynes, Mills, Ingles, Baynes, and Bairstow.

The Aussies caught Serbia on a really bad shooting night (5-22 from 3), and that more or less was the difference in the game. Still, big win for Australia. That more or less locks them into the second spot in the group. Serbia will need to beat France to avoid the fourth spot.

We're not talking about drafting players for a franchise here . . . the Olympics are a 1 week snapshot in time. Given that, I think by almost any measure, Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills are 2 of the best 3 or players in this match up. Jokic has a bright future, but he's been terrible in both of his games thus far and looked completely outmatched by Bogut. Mills has been a force over his entire international career and has done nothing to diminish that reputation in his 2 games thus far.

I disagree with your assessment of Bogdanovic. I've known about him ever since I drafted him with a second round pick in the DBR mock draft in 2014. He has nice size, and is still young, but he's a career 39.8% FG shooter (36.2% from 3) over 86 career games in the Europe. He's also had 2 pretty bad showings thus far in the Olympics. 23 is young, but at this point, I have doubts that he will ever make an impact in the NBA.

Teodosic has had a solid career for Olympiacos and CSKA Moscow, but nothing that suggests that he'd be more than a bench rotation player in the League. He's 29, and has averaged 11.3 points and 4.5 assists on 42.9% shooting (37.5% from 3) over his 9 years of professional basketball in Europe. Based on Teodosic and Bogdanovic's career percentages from 3, had they been able to achieve their "normal" shooting nights, they would have gone 4 for 11, and Serbia would have still lost by 12.

By comparison, Dellavedova and Mills have shot 39.8% and 38.9% over 215 and 361 games, respectively, from the longer NBA 3 point line in their NBA careers.

I'd rank the top 5 players from the 2 teams based on actual career performance (and current FIBA basketball impact) like so:

1. Andrew Bogut
2. Patty Mills
3. Milos Teodosic
4. Miroslav Raduljica
5. Matthew Dellavedova

I don't understand why people overlook Matthew Dellavedova . . . he's a big point guard (6'4") who can really sling the ball (11.5 assists per game thus far in the Olympics), can shoot the 3, and gets after it on defense. He's a great role player, and I think the Bucks got a pretty nice back up point guard for their future playoff hopes.

kAzE
08-08-2016, 05:12 PM
Hahaha . . . talk about a coincidence. Check out the 2014 DBR Mock Draft (http://forums.dukebasketballreport.com/forums/showthread.php?33925-2014-DBR-Mock-Draft)

I had two 2nd round picks and I took Bogdanovic at #34 (he was #27 in the real draft) and Jokic at #51 (he was #41 in the real draft).

Props to JasonEvans, the only other guy who picked a player in the 2nd round who is a starter in the league. (Jordan Clarkson at #43)

dukelifer
08-08-2016, 06:32 PM
USA team in a dogfight. Venezuela mucking up the game and USA is playing poorly. US team looks like they have been partying a bit too much on that boat.

SCMatt33
08-08-2016, 06:55 PM
After not being able to deal with Venezuela's slow down game in the first quarter, the US did a great job to come out on the attack in the second. They got into the bonus within the first two minutes and that really allowed them to get both early offense and free throws as Venezuela couldn't just foul to stop them. They also cut down big time on the bad turnovers.

Troublemaker
08-08-2016, 07:05 PM
USA team in a dogfight. Venezuela mucking up the game and USA is playing poorly. US team looks like they have been partying a bit too much on that boat.

Yeah that was a putrid first quarter by USA. We fouled way too much on defense, giving Venezuela easy points from the line, and forced careless passes on offense.

Things were definitely corrected in the second quarter, though. After playing to an 18-18 tie(!) in Q1, USA whipped them 30-8 in Q2.

The regular rotation was disrupted by the close game and foul trouble. Durant played 17 minutes, Anthony 16 minutes, Kyrie 15 minutes.

Troublemaker
08-08-2016, 07:10 PM
Looks like Australia played a tremendous fourth quarter to pull away from Serbia earlier today.

Gotta hand it to JD King on his front page articles. He was right about Australia belonging to the tier below the USA, at least based on results so far. Don't doubt fearless leader!

Good call KaZe, as well, in this thread. I'm on board the Aussie bandwagon now.

dukelifer
08-08-2016, 07:31 PM
Yeah that was a putrid first quarter by USA. We fouled way too much on defense, giving Venezuela easy points from the line, and forced careless passes on offense.

Things were definitely corrected in the second quarter, though. After playing to an 18-18 tie(!) in Q1, USA whipped them 30-8 in Q2.

The regular rotation was disrupted by the close game and foul trouble. Durant played 17 minutes, Anthony 16 minutes, Kyrie 15 minutes.

Klay Thompson really struggling with his shot. He does not look comfortable with the international ball. 3rd quarter was not pretty either

Indoor66
08-08-2016, 07:54 PM
Barnes can't shoot or dunk'😂😎

evrim
08-08-2016, 07:54 PM
We're not talking about drafting players for a franchise here . . . the Olympics are a 1 week snapshot in time. Given that, I think by almost any measure, Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills are 2 of the best 3 or players in this match up. Jokic has a bright future, but he's been terrible in both of his games thus far and looked completely outmatched by Bogut. Mills has been a force over his entire international career and has done nothing to diminish that reputation in his 2 games thus far.

I disagree with your assessment of Bogdanovic. I've known about him ever since I drafted him with a second round pick in the DBR mock draft in 2014. He has nice size, and is still young, but he's a career 39.8% FG shooter (36.2% from 3) over 86 career games in the Europe. He's also had 2 pretty bad showings thus far in the Olympics. 23 is young, but at this point, I have doubts that he will ever make an impact in the NBA.

Teodosic has had a solid career for Olympiacos and CSKA Moscow, but nothing that suggests that he'd be more than a bench rotation player in the League. He's 29, and has averaged 11.3 points and 4.5 assists on 42.9% shooting (37.5% from 3) over his 9 years of professional basketball in Europe. Based on Teodosic and Bogdanovic's career percentages from 3, had they been able to achieve their "normal" shooting nights, they would have gone 4 for 11, and Serbia would have still lost by 12.



As someone who watches European games all the time, I disagree with you completely on both of these players. They are both amazing players. Just find all the last second threes Bogdanovic has made for Fenerbahce.

Troublemaker
08-08-2016, 09:24 PM
Klay Thompson really struggling with his shot. He does not look comfortable with the international ball. 3rd quarter was not pretty either

At the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Klay shot 41% from three, though. He'll find his shot.

kAzE
08-08-2016, 11:44 PM
As someone who watches European games all the time, I disagree with you completely on both of these players. They are both amazing players. Just find all the last second threes Bogdanovic has made for Fenerbahce.

Watched some youtube tape on them . . . I came away a bit warmer on both of them. They could both play in the league.

Bogdan has potential. He's got deeper range than I thought, but he hasn't really put it together in what I've seen of him in this tournament. He's an asset on defense because of his size, which is why I liked him in the mock.

Teodosic is definitely good. He'd be a great playmaker with the type of athletes in the NBA. Still, considering what we just saw Matthew Dellavedova do, it's really hard to get a true feel for what any of these guys can do in the NBA until they play against the USA. Fortunately, we will have the chance to play both teams.

dukelifer
08-08-2016, 11:46 PM
At the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Klay shot 41% from three, though. He'll find his shot.

1-11 in all shots so far in two games. That is pretty hard to believe.

gep
08-09-2016, 12:28 AM
From what I saw in the 2nd half (while on the bench), Klay seemed "not-connected" and "not-involved" :confused::confused: Is it because of his shooting woes?

richardjackson199
08-09-2016, 07:09 AM
From what I saw in the 2nd half (while on the bench), Klay seemed "not-connected" and "not-involved" :confused::confused: Is it because of his shooting woes?

I think Klay was irritated at himself about his shot. He's had a rough couple of games, but he will be fine. He shot well and looked like Klay during the exhibition games. Once he sees a couple go through the net, he will explode. Hopefully he got the rust out of his system.

All opponents will be much better from here on out, and will be fun.

Troublemaker
08-09-2016, 10:37 AM
Group B plays today. The games and lines:

Argentina (1-0) -2 vs Croatia (1-0): Will Croatia follow up their upset of Spain with another (minor) upset, similar to Australia in Group A? One of the question marks for Argentina in this competition is rebounding, and Croatia -- who outrebounded Spain by 11 -- should serve as a good test.

Spain (0-1) -6 vs Brazil (0-1): The poor hosts. After barely failing to complete a 30-point second-half comeback against Lithuania, Brazil now has to deal with an angry Spain team looking for its first win. Will the hosts go down 0-2? Should USA fans not be concerned about Spain this year? Possibly, but keep in mind that Spain was upset twice in group play in 2012 and then went on to play USA even in the gold medal game. (It's possible the second of those upsets was a tank to avoid USA until the final).

Lithuania (1-0) -17 vs Nigeria (0-1): After surviving Brazil's comeback attempt, the Lithuanians play a team they should beat up in BOTH halves.

Troublemaker
08-09-2016, 10:41 AM
I think Klay was irritated at himself about his shot. He's had a rough couple of games, but he will be fine. He shot well and looked like Klay during the exhibition games. Once he sees a couple go through the net, he will explode. Hopefully he got the rust out of his system.

All opponents will be much better from here on out, and will be fun.

A little preview for tomorrow's point spreads (and this isn't mean to contradict the bolded statement): USA opened as 31.5-pt favorites over Australia. We'll see how much that line changes, if any, and in which direction before tomorrow's tip.

flyingdutchdevil
08-09-2016, 10:47 AM
A little preview for tomorrow's point spreads (and this isn't mean to contradict the bolded statement): USA opened as 31.5-pt favorites over Australia. We'll see how much that line changes, if any, and in which direction before tomorrow's tip.

What will be interesting is how USA does against the spread rather than against Australia. The media, right now, loves this Team USA due to Durant being unstoppable (true), Melo being the elder statesmen who has a social conscience (true), and hardcore defense (true). I see that love correlated to how Team USA does against the spread.

SCMatt33
08-09-2016, 11:46 AM
Just remember everyone. As Dan Patrick said on the broadcast yesterday, those lines are for entertainment purposes only. And as Marv Albert said, it's for a few folks in Las Vegas who wager milkshakes on it.

Troublemaker
08-09-2016, 12:36 PM
What will be interesting is how USA does against the spread rather than against Australia. The media, right now, loves this Team USA due to Durant being unstoppable (true), Melo being the elder statesmen who has a social conscience (true), and hardcore defense (true). I see that love correlated to how Team USA does against the spread.

Not quite following you here, FDD. I think you're saying USA will have inflated spreads because USA bettors love the team.

In any case, I'm looking forward to USA's defense getting tested. Everyone's been talking up the D, and this could be the best defensive team USA has ever fielded, BUT for the past six games, USA has only faced by far the worst 3 teams in the field -- China (thrice), Venezuela (twice), and Nigeria.

Let's see how the D handles this step up in competition. USA will have to communicate very well to handle Australia's backdoors and off-ball movement in general.


Just remember everyone. As Dan Patrick said on the broadcast yesterday, those lines are for entertainment purposes only. And as Marv Albert said, it's for a few folks in Las Vegas who wager milkshakes on it.

Absolutely. I post the lines because I figure most people aren't that familiar with these national teams, and the spreads give us an idea of their quality. So, entertainment and educational purposes only.

Billy Dat
08-09-2016, 12:37 PM
I wonder why our tune-up schedule for these games was so weak...I can only assume the European countries just didn't come over to this part of the world until just before the games. I am so sick of China and Venezuela, thank god were are finally starting to play better teams. Australia will be an awesome test for us. K has definitely settled on a starting 5 of Anthony, Kyrie, Klay, Boogie and Durant. Jordan continues to shine off the bench. He is really playing everyone save for Barnes who seems to get mop up minutes only. It will be interesting to see how much Bogut and Delly ugly up the game.

SCMatt33
08-09-2016, 03:22 PM
And Spain loses a tight one to Brazil in the closing seconds. The Spanish are going to have to dig deep now. Unless Nigeria pulls an upset (against someone other than Spain of course) they will likely need to find a win against either Argentina or Lithuania just to advance at all. I wouldn't bet against them quite yet, but they can't mess around now.

dukelifer
08-09-2016, 03:27 PM
And Spain loses a tight one to Brazil in the closing seconds. The Spanish are going to have to dig deep now. Unless Nigeria pulls an upset (against someone other than Spain of course) they will likely need to find a win against either Argentina or Lithuania just to advance at all. I wouldn't bet against them quite yet, but they can't mess around now.

Fun - hard fought game. I like the no time outs during active play- puts the game in the hands of the players. Maybe that is Roy William's heaven.

Olympic Fan
08-09-2016, 03:36 PM
Spain's struggles could set up an interesting situation.

It could create a matchup with the US in the quarterfinals of the playoff round the USA as the No. 1 seed from Group A, Spain as the No. 4 seed from group B (if they are lucky)

In a way, that's the single most important game of the tournament -- the US could lose one in the qualifying round and still get gold ... if we lose in the semifinals, we still get to play for the bronze ... if we lose in the finals, we still get silver.

But a loss in the quarterfinals means no medal. Period.

Before the Olympics, most observers seemed to rate Spain as our most likely challenger -- they are getting older, true, but they still have a core of very talented, NBA players.

Obviously, their play in Rio suggests that maybe they were overrated.

Still, it's going to take a fluke game to beat the US in Rio -- I just hope that fluke doesn't come against Spain in the quarterfinals.

duke4ever19
08-09-2016, 07:44 PM
I'm close to getting on a flight to Rio just so I can go into the bball arena and confiscate those air horns from the two or three idiots that think 2+ hours of rhythmic honking is what everybody wants to hear.

CDu
08-09-2016, 08:58 PM
No Marc Gasol and no Serge Ibaka equals no good for Spain. Without them, the Spaniards just don't have that next wave of talent behind their golden generation, and their golden generation is old.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 10:44 AM
Today's games (Group A):

Serbia (1-1) -3.5 vs France (1-1): As SCMatt mentioned above, it's possible neither of these teams will be all that motivated to win this game because it may be better to finish 4th in the group than 3rd. With Spain struggling in Group B, the first-place finisher in Group B won't scare either France or Serbia; what matters is that they're on the opposite side of the bracket from USA, which can be achieved by finishing 4th. If both teams play hard, I'd expect France to pull off a mini-upset; I suspect this point spread has to do with bettors expecting Serbia to play hard and France to tank.

USA (2-0) -28 vs Australia (2-0): So this spread did move 3.5 points towards Australia since yesterday. If the Aussies can handle a full-court press and this game is played in the halfcourt, I would expect them to cover easily and possibly even add themselves to the list of "close games" I posted at the beginning of the thread. I believe it matters that USA's preparation opponents up until now have been so weak; too much China and Venezuela, as Billy Dat said above. USA's defense might be caught off-guard by this step-up in competition. I believe it matters that USA's offense is still a work in progress and has been very sloppy at times. The one thing USA might do, though, is full-court press, and I don't know how well the Aussies will handle that. They play two bigs together in Bogut and Baynes, and while Bogut is an excellent passer for a big man, if he's forced to handle and dribble against the press with USA athletes flying around, it may not go well.

Venezuela (0-2) -7.5 vs China (0-2): Venezuela is getting a lot of credit here for giving USA a more difficult time than China. We'll see if the transitive property actually means anything when they face off against China directly. By "we'll see," I mean let's check the score of this game after it's done. I love FIBA basketball, but even I can't watch these two teams go at it.

tbyers11
08-10-2016, 10:48 AM
Today's games (Group A):

USA (2-0) -28 vs Australia (2-0): So this spread did move 3.5 points towards Australia since yesterday. If the Aussies can handle a full-court press and this game is played in the halfcourt, I would expect them to cover easily and possibly even add themselves to the list of "close games" I posted at the beginning of the thread. I believe it matters that Duke's preparation opponents up until now have been so weak; too much China and Venezuela, as Billy Dat said above. USA's defense might be caught off-guard by this step-up in competition. I believe it matters that USA's offense is still a work in progress and has been very sloppy at times. The one thing USA might do, though, is full-court press, and I don't know how well the Aussies will handle that. They play two bigs together in Bogut and Baynes, and while Bogut is an excellent passer for a big man, if he's forced to handle and dribble against the press with USA athletes flying around, it may not go well.


Troublemaker - Thanks so much for these write-ups and posting of the lines. I just wanted to point the Freudian slip in the USA paragraph above ;) It will be interesting to see how the US fares against a "decent" team

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 10:56 AM
Troublemaker - Thanks so much for these write-ups and posting of the lines. I just wanted to point the Freudian slip in the USA paragraph above ;) It will be interesting to see how the US fares against a "decent" team

Thanks tbyers! It's fixed.


Australia will be an awesome test for us. K has definitely settled on a starting 5 of Anthony, Kyrie, Klay, Boogie and Durant. Jordan continues to shine off the bench. He is really playing everyone save for Barnes who seems to get mop up minutes only. It will be interesting to see how much Bogut and Delly ugly up the game.

Yes, we seem to have a set starting lineup. But I heavily suspect they would not be the finishing lineup if we ever got into a close game. Our finishing lineup probably would have Jordan and George in it, imo, with Jordan replacing Cousins and George replacing Anthony or Klay.

kAzE
08-10-2016, 11:30 AM
Speaking of Duke . . . how would our 2016-17 team (at full health) fare if they went to Rio in place of Team USA?

I may be biased, but I think with Coach K at the helm, we'd be medal contenders (and it would certainly make for a much more interesting tournament). We would be easily the youngest team in the field, but probably still the among the most athletic, and one of the better defensive teams. Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles would be in the conversation for the most talented players in the tournament, and Grayson is as good as any guard out there. The only issue would be a lack of experience playing together, unlike most of the other national teams. I think France, Australia, Serbia, and Lithuania would be very, very tough match ups, but we'd be right there around the 4th/5th best team in the field.

What do you guys think?

NSDukeFan
08-10-2016, 11:35 AM
Speaking of Duke . . . how would our 2016-17 team (at full health) fare if they went to Rio in place of Team USA?

I may be biased, but I think with Coach K at the helm, we'd be medal contenders (and it would certainly make for a much more interesting tournament). We would be easily the youngest team in the field, but probably still the among the most athletic, and one of the better defensive teams. Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles would be in the conversation for the most talented players in the tournament, and Grayson is as good as any guard out there. The only issue would be a lack of experience playing together, unlike most of the other national teams. I think France, Australia, Serbia, and Lithuania would be very, very tough match ups, but we'd be right there around the 4th/5th best team in the field.

What do you guys think?

I don't think US would be a medal contender. I think Giles and Tatum could be in the conversation for most talented, but not for current best players.

kAzE
08-10-2016, 11:43 AM
I don't think US would be a medal contender. I think Giles and Tatum could be in the conversation for most talented, but not for current best players.

Maybe you're right, but I think you might be underestimating those 2. I think Jayson could be a starter in the NBA right now, and if Harry were 100% healthy, he could do the same. Those guys are special.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 11:51 AM
Speaking of Duke . . . how would our 2016-17 team (at full health) fare if they went to Rio in place of Team USA?

I may be biased, but I think with Coach K at the helm, we'd be medal contenders (and it would certainly make for a much more interesting tournament). We would be easily the youngest team in the field, but probably still the among the most athletic, and one of the better defensive teams. Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles would be in the conversation for the most talented players in the tournament, and Grayson is as good as any guard out there. The only issue would be a lack of experience playing together, unlike most of the other national teams. I think France, Australia, Serbia, and Lithuania would be very, very tough match ups, but we'd be right there around the 4th/5th best team in the field.

What do you guys think?

I think Duke would have trouble with Nigeria, Venezuela, and China. The rest of the teams would throttle us. These are grown men who are much more skilled than our college players. Back in 1988, when international basketball wasn't nearly as good as it is now, a team of college all-stars could only get bronze. Then the Dream Team was put together in 1992. Another point of reference: Michael Gbinije, fresh out of college, was a DNP for Nigeria against Lithuania.

ChillinDuke
08-10-2016, 12:10 PM
I think Duke would have trouble with Nigeria, Venezuela, and China. The rest of the teams would throttle us. These are grown men who are much more skilled than our college players. Back in 1988, when international basketball wasn't nearly as good as it is now, a team of college all-stars could only get bronze. Then the Dream Team was put together in 1992. Another point of reference: Michael Gbinije, fresh out of college, was a DNP for Nigeria against Lithuania.

I think I mostly agree with you, but with less conviction. I think Duke could hang and beat Nigeria, Venezuela, and China. Maybe even one or two others. The reminder/question I'd raise is didn't Duke indeed sweep the Chinese Olympic Team in our tour of China in 2011?

Linky: http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205245948

Was that a watered-down Olympic Team? Or a junior Olympic Team that we beat? I'd argue that we have more talent this year than back then, albeit younger. Heck, while the game ended not quite a blowout, we had a 28-6 lead! We gave a lot of the lead up, but it just goes to prove that if that was legitimately the actual Chinese Team that went to the Olympics we were well advanced of "having trouble" with them.

- Chillin

CDu
08-10-2016, 12:10 PM
I think Duke would have trouble with Nigeria, Venezuela, and China. The rest of the teams would throttle us. These are grown men who are much more skilled than our college players. Back in 1988, when international basketball wasn't nearly as good as it is now, a team of college all-stars could only get bronze. Then the Dream Team was put together in 1992. Another point of reference: Michael Gbinije, fresh out of college, was a DNP for Nigeria against Lithuania.

Yup. And just for perspective, that 1988 US team included a 23-year-old version of David Robinson, a 23-year-old Mitch Richmond, a 20 year old Stacey Augmon, a 21-year-old Willie Anderson (averaged 18.6 ppg as a rookie in 1989 before injuries eventually derailed his career; still averaged 12 ppg over an 8 year career), a 22-year-old and still healthy Danny Manning, a 22-year-old Hersey Hawkins (scored nearly 15,000 points in the NBA), a 23-year-old Charles Smith (averaged nearly 15 ppg over 8 NBA seasons), a 20-year-old JR Reid (a double-digit scorer his first 3 NBA seasons), and a 20-year-old Bimbo Coles (a 13-year regular and part-time starter).

Our Duke team would get killed in the Olympics. We'd get killed less so than any other college team. But we'd get killed.

CDu
08-10-2016, 12:22 PM
I think I mostly agree with you, but with less conviction. I think Duke could hang and beat Nigeria, Venezuela, and China. Maybe even one or two others. The reminder/question I'd raise is didn't Duke indeed sweep the Chinese Olympic Team in our tour of China in 2011?

Linky: http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205245948

Was that a watered-down Olympic Team? Or a junior Olympic Team that we beat? I'd argue that we have more talent this year than back then, albeit younger. Heck, while the game ended not quite a blowout, we had a 28-6 lead! We gave a lot of the lead up, but it just goes to prove that if that was legitimately the actual Chinese Team that went to the Olympics we were well advanced of "having trouble" with them.

- Chillin

It was a watered-down version of their national team. None of the guys who played in that game participated in either the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 12:36 PM
I think I mostly agree with you, but with less conviction. I think Duke could hang and beat Nigeria, Venezuela, and China. Maybe even one or two others. The reminder/question I'd raise is didn't Duke indeed sweep the Chinese Olympic Team in our tour of China in 2011?

Linky: http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205245948

Was that a watered-down Olympic Team? Or a junior Olympic Team that we beat? I'd argue that we have more talent this year than back then, albeit younger. Heck, while the game ended not quite a blowout, we had a 28-6 lead! We gave a lot of the lead up, but it just goes to prove that if that was legitimately the actual Chinese Team that went to the Olympics we were well advanced of "having trouble" with them.

- Chillin


It was a watered-down version of their national team. None of the guys who played in that game participated in either the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Right, it was China's U-23 team (http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-friendship-games-duke-basketballs-trip-to-china-and-dubai/) that Duke played that summer.

kAzE
08-10-2016, 03:10 PM
Yup. And just for perspective, that 1988 US team included a 23-year-old version of David Robinson, a 23-year-old Mitch Richmond, a 20 year old Stacey Augmon, a 21-year-old Willie Anderson (averaged 18.6 ppg as a rookie in 1989 before injuries eventually derailed his career; still averaged 12 ppg over an 8 year career), a 22-year-old and still healthy Danny Manning, a 22-year-old Hersey Hawkins (scored nearly 15,000 points in the NBA), a 23-year-old Charles Smith (averaged nearly 15 ppg over 8 NBA seasons), a 20-year-old JR Reid (a double-digit scorer his first 3 NBA seasons), and a 20-year-old Bimbo Coles (a 13-year regular and part-time starter).

Our Duke team would get killed in the Olympics. We'd get killed less so than any other college team. But we'd get killed.

I think you guys are still underestimating our players, and overestimating the rest of the field in this particular competition. The 1988 international teams that won Gold and Silver would destroy any team in this year's field outside of team USA.

Check out the Soviet's Gold medal roster from 1988:

Aleksandr Volkov
Tiit Sokk
Sergei Tarakanov
Šarūnas Marčiulionis
Igors Miglinieks
Valeri Tikhonenko
Rimas Kurtinaitis
Arvydas Sabonis
Viktor Pankrashkin
Valdemaras Chomičius
Aleksandr Belostennyi
Valeri Goborov

Keep in mind the Soviet Union includes modern day Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, and 12 other countries. That squad was basically a European All-Star team, with several high-caliber NBA players and an all-time great in Sabonis at the height of his athletic powers.

Yugoslavia (silver) also had a stacked roster:

Dražen Petrović
Zdravko Radulović
Zoran Čutura
Toni Kukoč
Žarko Paspalj
Željko Obradović
Jure Zdovc
Stojko Vranković
Vlade Divac
Franjo Arapović
Dino Rađa
Danko Cvjetičanin

This was, of course, prior to the split of Yugoslavia into 7 modern day states, including Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, etc.

If both of those countries still existed as they did in 1988, they would certainly be international basketball powers. Think of the current day rosters you could put together with players from those countries.

You guys are right to argue that the "grown men vs. boys" would be a huge factor, but I just don't see many teams being able to match up with Duke's athleticism (remember, in my hypothetical scenario, Team USA is out of the field). From a cohesiveness standpoint, we would be at a disadvantage, but I'd actually argue that Harry Giles and Marques Bolden are on par or more skilled than most big men in this tournament. Remember, I'm not saying we'd medal, just be in medal contention.

Team USA in 1988 was certainly a more talented team than Duke, but we're not THAT far behind them. You could argue that our team this year IS basically a college All-Star team. Tatum/Giles/Allen/Jefferson are All-American caliber guys. Bolden is oozing with talent as well. Kennard is as skilled as any guard in this tournament outside of Team USA. American high school players are coming into college more and more NBA ready these days, and I think we would fare better than you'd think. 6th/7th place in this field (minus team USA) I think would absolutely be within reach, especially with Coach K calling the shots.

If the 1988 Team USA could achieve a bronze medal in that stacked field, a hyper talented Duke team should be able to place in the top 6 or 7 in this year's weaker field.

CDu
08-10-2016, 04:25 PM
Team USA in 1988 was certainly a more talented team than Duke, but we're not THAT far behind them. You could argue that our team this year IS basically a college All-Star team. Tatum/Giles/Allen/Jefferson are All-American caliber guys. Bolden is oozing with talent as well. Kennard is as skilled as any guard in this tournament outside of Team USA. American high school players are coming into college more and more NBA ready these days, and I think we would fare better than you'd think. 6th/7th place in this field (minus team USA) I think would absolutely be within reach, especially with Coach K calling the shots.

If the 1988 Team USA could achieve a bronze medal in that stacked field, a hyper talented Duke team should be able to place in the top 6 or 7 in this year's weaker field.

First, I think you are overstating how great that Soviet team was and how great the Yugoslavian team was. The USSR that Soviet team had an absolute star in Sabonis. They had a solid player in Volkov, who would play a couple of uninspiring years in the NBA. They had Sarunas Marciulionis, but at the time he was just 23. He was not at that point a high-caliber NBA talent. Nobody else was an NBA player of any note.

The Yugoslavians had a 19-year-old Divac, a 20-year-old Kukoc, a 23-year-old Petrovic, and a 21-year-old Radja. Vrankovic got a cup of coffee in the NBA, but that's it. The rest were not high-caliber NBA talent, and arguably those guys weren't even high-powered NBA talent.

You say that those two countries were All-Star teams of what would become multiple countries. And that is true. But at that time, the depth of talent internationally was SOOOOOOO far below where it is today. There were maybe 1 or 2 guys (or in the case of Russia and Yugoslavia 2 or 3) at any time that were NBA starter caliber. That would change over the next decade or so. Also, the NBA talent on that USSR team in 1988 was primarily from Lithuania. Sabonis and Marciulionis - the two guys who made an impact in the NBA - were Lithuanian. Volkov (the other fringy NBAer) was Russian. Similar story for the Yugoslavians. Most were Croatian (Kukoc, Petrovic, Radja, Vrankovic). Divac was Serbian.

Second, you are underestimating how much better that USA team was than our Duke team. David Robinson was a 23-year-old on his way to a Hall of Fame career. Mitch Richmond went on to score 20,000 points in the NBA. Danny Manning was arguably as good as those guys prior to his injuries in the NBA. Hawkins, Majerle, Anderson, Augmon, and Smith were long-time starters and significant contributors, some on very good teams. King and Coles were solid role players for many years in the NBA. That's 2 Hall of Famers, 6 more solid starters/regulars, and 2 more solid reserves, almost all of them 22 or 23 years old. And you think this Duke team is close to that?

Don't get me wrong: we are really good. But we aren't remotely as good as the 1988 US men's team. That team would have wiped the floor with us. And those 1988 USSR and Yugoslavian teams were not THAT much better - if at all - than the current best Euro teams.

If the argument was about 1992 (had the USSR and Yugoslavia still been together), maybe it is a different argument. At that point, guys like Stojakovic and others were joining the now mid-20s NBA Euros. But in 1988, it wasn't quite there yet.

flyingdutchdevil
08-10-2016, 04:28 PM
First, I think you are overstating how great that Soviet team was and how great the Yugoslavian team was. The USSR that Soviet team had an absolute star in Sabonis. They had a solid player in Volkov, who would play a couple of uninspiring years in the NBA. They had Sarunas Marciulionis, but at the time he was just 23. He was not at that point a high-caliber NBA talent. Nobody else was an NBA player of any note.

The Yugoslavians had a 19-year-old Divac, a 20-year-old Kukoc, a 23-year-old Petrovic, and a 21-year-old Radja. Vrankovic got a cup of coffee in the NBA, but that's it. The rest were not high-caliber NBA talent, and arguably those guys weren't even high-powered NBA talent.

You say that those two countries were All-Star teams of what would become multiple countries. And that is true. But at that time, the depth of talent internationally was SOOOOOOO far below where it is today. There were maybe 1 or 2 guys (or in the case of Russia and Yugoslavia 2 or 3) at any time that were NBA starter caliber. That would change over the next decade or so. Also, the NBA talent on that USSR team in 1988 was primarily from Lithuania. Sabonis and Marciulionis - the two guys who made an impact in the NBA - were Lithuanian. Volkov (the other fringy NBAer) was Russian. Similar story for the Yugoslavians. Most were Croatian (Kukoc, Petrovic, Radja, Vrankovic). Divac was Serbian.

Second, you are underestimating how much better that USA team was than our Duke team. David Robinson was a 23-year-old on his way to a Hall of Fame career. Mitch Richmond went on to score 20,000 points in the NBA. Danny Manning was arguably as good as those guys prior to his injuries in the NBA. Hawkins, Majerle, Anderson, Augmon, and Smith were long-time starters and significant contributors, some on very good teams. King and Coles were solid role players for many years in the NBA. That's 2 Hall of Famers, 6 more solid starters/regulars, and 2 more solid reserves, almost all of them 22 or 23 years old. And you think this Duke team is close to that?

Don't get me wrong: we are really good. But we aren't remotely as good as the 1988 US men's team. That team would have wiped the floor with us. And those 1988 USSR and Yugoslavian teams were not THAT much better - if at all - than the current best Euro teams.

If the argument was about 1992 (had the USSR and Yugoslavia still been together), maybe it is a different argument. At that point, guys like Stojakovic and others were joining the now mid-20s NBA Euros. But in 1988, it wasn't quite there yet.

You are clearly underestimating Grayson Allen, who will retire from the NBA with the most points, most assists, most rebounds, and most NBA Championships in NBA history.

kAzE
08-10-2016, 04:35 PM
First, I think you are overstating how great that Soviet team was and how great the Yugoslavian team was. The USSR that Soviet team had an absolute star in Sabonis. They had a solid player in Volkov, who would play a couple of uninspiring years in the NBA. They had Sarunas Marciulionis, but at the time he was just 23. He was not at that point a high-caliber NBA talent. Nobody else was an NBA player of any note.

The Yugoslavians had a 19-year-old Divac, a 20-year-old Kukoc, a 23-year-old Petrovic, and a 21-year-old Radja. Vrankovic got a cup of coffee in the NBA, but that's it. The rest were not high-caliber NBA talent, and arguably those guys weren't even high-powered NBA talent.

You say that those two countries were All-Star teams of what would become multiple countries. And that is true. But at that time, the depth of talent internationally was SOOOOOOO far below where it is today. There were maybe 1 or 2 guys (or in the case of Russia and Yugoslavia 2 or 3) at any time that were NBA starter caliber. That would change over the next decade or so. Also, the NBA talent on that USSR team in 1988 was primarily from Lithuania. Sabonis and Marciulionis - the two guys who made an impact in the NBA - were Lithuanian. Volkov (the other fringy NBAer) was Russian. Similar story for the Yugoslavians. Most were Croatian (Kukoc, Petrovic, Radja, Vrankovic). Divac was Serbian.

Second, you are underestimating how much better that USA team was than our Duke team. David Robinson was a 23-year-old on his way to a Hall of Fame career. Mitch Richmond went on to score 20,000 points in the NBA. Danny Manning was arguably as good as those guys prior to his injuries in the NBA. Hawkins, Majerle, Anderson, Augmon, and Smith were long-time starters and significant contributors, some on very good teams. King and Coles were solid role players for many years in the NBA. That's 2 Hall of Famers, 6 more solid starters/regulars, and 2 more solid reserves, almost all of them 22 or 23 years old. And you think this Duke team is close to that?

Don't get me wrong: we are really good. But we aren't remotely as good as the 1988 US men's team. That team would have wiped the floor with us. And those 1988 USSR and Yugoslavian teams were not THAT much better - if at all - than the current best Euro teams.

If the argument was about 1992 (had the USSR and Yugoslavia still been together), maybe it is a different argument. At that point, guys like Stojakovic and others were joining the now mid-20s NBA Euros. But in 1988, it wasn't quite there yet.

Ok, maybe I do have an overinflated opinion of those Soviet/Yugoslav teams. I've probably watched too many old basketball documentaries, and not enough current day Euro basketball. But let's give Petrovic, Divac, and Kukoc a bit more credit than that. Those guys were absolutely great players, although they were a bit young in 1988.

Still, I'm extremely high on Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum. There's no doubt in my mind (other than injury) that those guys will become NBA stars in just a few years, and could compare with anybody on that 1988 team, other than perhaps the Admiral.

CDu
08-10-2016, 04:37 PM
You are clearly underestimating Grayson Allen, who will retire from the NBA with the most points, most assists, most rebounds, and most NBA Championships in NBA history.

Fair point.

But in all seriousness, literally every player on that 1988 team played in the NBA. Two were Hall of Famers. Sid others starters, some of whom were stars with 10,000 points scored. 3 others were long-time NBAers. Only one washed out quickly.

We have a terrific team. It would not come close to contending for a medal. Our stars are just too young, and too many players aren't NBA quality.

Billy Dat
08-10-2016, 04:54 PM
Marc Stein is tweeting that the Aussies are expected to play possum and not show the US their best today:

Marc Stein ‏@ESPNSteinLine 32m32 minutes ago
-Interesting theory offered up by Aussie legend Andrew Gaze in the press tribune less than two hours until Australia and Team USA meet (1/2)
-Gaze wonders if Australia might hold some stuff back tonight Pop-style knowing they might have a second shot at Team USA in the medal round.
-Well-placed source just told me Gaze's "theory" is more than a theory. Holding back Gregg Popovich-style indeed expected to be Oz game plan.
-San Antonio Spurs-inspired subterfuge at the Rio Olympics! Let's see what happens when USA vs. Australia tips in 90 minutes ..

-------
That's disappointing, but I guess it's predictable. Australia is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the medal round having already beaten the best of the group in France and Serbia. They are sure to beat China and Venezuela so they are both working on medal round seeding and not wanting to show us their best until the games really count.

mattman91
08-10-2016, 05:07 PM
Marc Stein is tweeting that the Aussies are expected to play possum and not show the US their best today:

Marc Stein ‏@ESPNSteinLine 32m32 minutes ago
-Interesting theory offered up by Aussie legend Andrew Gaze in the press tribune less than two hours until Australia and Team USA meet (1/2)
-Gaze wonders if Australia might hold some stuff back tonight Pop-style knowing they might have a second shot at Team USA in the medal round.
-Well-placed source just told me Gaze's "theory" is more than a theory. Holding back Gregg Popovich-style indeed expected to be Oz game plan.
-San Antonio Spurs-inspired subterfuge at the Rio Olympics! Let's see what happens when USA vs. Australia tips in 90 minutes ..

-------
That's disappointing, but I guess it's predictable. Australia is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the medal round having already beaten the best of the group in France and Serbia. They are sure to beat China and Venezuela so they are both working on medal round seeding and not wanting to show us their best until the games really count.

Lol, that is cute of them.

They don't have a chance tonight or the next time we play.

fraggler
08-10-2016, 05:13 PM
Fair point.

But in all seriousness, literally every player on that 1988 team played in the NBA. Two were Hall of Famers. Sid others starters, some of whom were stars with 10,000 points scored. 3 others were long-time NBAers. Only one washed out quickly.

We have a terrific team. It would not come close to contending for a medal. Our stars are just too young, and too many players aren't NBA quality.

I won't chime in on comparing different eras (a fun, but ultimately pointless exercise), but will add in that while we have what looks to be a very good team this season, I'm pretty sure it would take a hell of a lot of luck to win even one game against this field. Maybe if we could somehow take the eventual peak of every player, we could win one or two, but as CDu pointed out, we simply don't have the experience or even talent to compete.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 05:32 PM
Ok, maybe I do have an overinflated opinion of those Soviet/Yugoslav teams. I've probably watched too many old basketball documentaries, and not enough current day Euro basketball. But let's give Petrovic, Divac, and Kukoc a bit more credit than that. Those guys were absolutely great players, although they were a bit young in 1988.

Still, I'm extremely high on Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum. There's no doubt in my mind (other than injury) that those guys will become NBA stars in just a few years, and could compare with anybody on that 1988 team, other than perhaps the Admiral.

"A few years" from now is the key, though. As 18-yr-olds, they would lose their matchups against these more physically developed, more skilled professionals. I mean, you didn't even list Spain among the teams that you thought were better than Duke. They got a major downgrade, just by losing a couple of FIBA games! Pau would score 40 on any of Amile, Harry, Marques, or Chase, even if we played by college rules and in Cameron.

Harry and Jayson are fresh from high school and probably are going to have their early season struggles just adjusting to the college game. To put them up against FIBA teams... yikes!

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 05:56 PM
Dan Patrick / Doug Collins just reported that Klay volunteered to come off the bench due to his struggles. I'm guessing this means Paul George into the starting lineup.

ChillinDuke
08-10-2016, 06:06 PM
Right, it was China's U-23 team (http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-friendship-games-duke-basketballs-trip-to-china-and-dubai/) that Duke played that summer.

Thanks, didn't know that.

The fact still holds though that Duke swept China in three consecutive games in three cities on Chinese turf. If it was the U-23 team, that's still a reasonably "manly" team. China's current Olympic National Team roster has ages of 20, 20, 20, 22, 22, 22, 23, 24, 24, 26, 27, 28. And the starters against the U.S. a few days ago were 20, 20, 22, 26, and 28. So "U-23" does not materially seem to equate to watered down.

I'll concede the likelihood that we probably didn't schedule the varsity Chinese National Team out of necessity/talent gap. And I'll concede that none of the players on the team Duke played were on the 2012 Chinese Olympic Team.

- Chillin

kAzE
08-10-2016, 06:07 PM
"A few years" from now is the key, though. As 18-yr-olds, they would lose their matchups against these more physically developed, more skilled professionals. I mean, you didn't even list Spain among the teams that you thought were better than Duke. They got a major downgrade, just by losing a couple of FIBA games! Pau would score 40 on any of Amile, Harry, Marques, or Chase, even if we played by college rules and in Cameron.

Harry and Jayson are fresh from high school and probably are going to have their early season struggles just adjusting to the college game. To put them up against FIBA teams... yikes!

I still think you're underestimating how good these guys are . . .

The best freshmen in college these days are as good as any college player. At Duke, Kyrie, Jabari, Jah, Tyus, Justise, and even Austin Rivers came to Duke and were the best players on the floor almost immediately. When did Kyrie EVER struggle in his 11 games at Duke? He was a beast every minute he was on the court.

Back when preps to pros were a thing, LeBron, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Dwight Howard were immediate impact players at the NBA level as 18 and 19 year old rookies. Maybe Harry and Jayson aren't LeBrons, but they could be KGs or T-Macs. That may sound crazy, but that's how good I think they could be.

I think we must just disagree on how good Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum are, because I think Harry could become one of the best big men in the NBA as long as he can avoid any further injuries, and Jayson is as good a scorer as we've had come to Duke, period.

I'm not trying to take anything away from these FIBA teams, they have played together for a long time and are likely better than the sum of their parts. I'll stop trying to guess how well we'd do against them, but I just want to stress how fantastic our freshmen are. These guys could easily play in the NBA next year. Most guys on these FIBA teams could not.

Just wait till November . . .

JasonEvans
08-10-2016, 06:09 PM
I dunno about holding anything back, but the Aussies are playing pretty darn well right now. They lead by 3, 18-15, with 5 minutes left in the 1st quarter.

I would imagine their bench will suck compared to the starters. They have 5 NBA level players... but not more than that.

JasonEvans
08-10-2016, 06:14 PM
I dunno about holding anything back, but the Aussies are playing pretty darn well right now. They lead by 3, 18-15, with 5 minutes left in the 1st quarter.

Bogut, Mills, and Delly playing really well so far. 3 1/2 minutes left in 1st, Aussies lead 25-17. I think they've missed maybe 2 shots so far.

CDu
08-10-2016, 06:18 PM
Ok, maybe I do have an overinflated opinion of those Soviet/Yugoslav teams. I've probably watched too many old basketball documentaries, and not enough current day Euro basketball. But let's give Petrovic, Divac, and Kukoc a bit more credit than that. Those guys were absolutely great players, although they were a bit young in 1988.

Still, I'm extremely high on Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum. There's no doubt in my mind (other than injury) that those guys will become NBA stars in just a few years, and could compare with anybody on that 1988 team, other than perhaps the Admiral.

Oh you are absolutely correct in this respect. Those Slavs were eventually really good - just not quite yet in 1988. By 1992? Absolutely. But as of 1988 all but Petrovic were still a couple years away. They were actually more green than the US team.

And I think it is certainly possible that Tatum and Giles match anyone other than Robinson and Richmond. I do not think it is reasonable to expect them to be Hall of Famers like those two were. But that is the thing: Tatum and Giles likely will be on par the Mannings and Hawkins/Majerles. Maybe Allen and Jackson get there too. Maybe Bolden does. But Jones is not an NBA guy. Kennard might or might not become a regular. Jeter doesn't look likely. Jefferson probably makes the league but is a fringe guy. We have two surefire NBA starters and potential stars, 3-4 NBAers that may or may not start, and 1-2 that might get into the league but are not likely to make an impact. For a single college team? That is phenomenal. But the best of that talent is still WAY too young. And compared to a team that produced two Hall of Famers (both 22-23 at the time), 5 other guys who were double-figure scorers for their careers, and 4 other NBA regulars. And all but two or three were 22 years old or more at the time. It was just a much more talented and more experienced group of players.

jipops
08-10-2016, 06:40 PM
Wow we look awful right now. No ball movement and zero defense. Could we actually be blown out today?

TKG
08-10-2016, 06:48 PM
That looked like All-Star game defense by Team USA.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 06:49 PM
Wow we look awful right now. No ball movement and zero defense. Could we actually be blown out today?

Ha! Probably not, but we could lose. And it's clear that playing great defense against China and Venezuela is no predictor of playing great D against the good FIBA teams.

jipops
08-10-2016, 06:50 PM
I really don't think Durant is going to have another terrible half like he had there. But our defense is near non-existent. So many buckets by Aus are uncontested.

Dropping this won't be the worst thing. We'll likely see these guys again.

mattman91
08-10-2016, 06:50 PM
Wow we look awful right now. No ball movement and zero defense. Could we actually be blown out today?

Horrible defense, and nothing but chucking 3s on the other side.

Confident we get it together in the second half.

SCMatt33
08-10-2016, 06:52 PM
Wow we look awful right now. No ball movement and zero defense. Could we actually be blown out today?

It's pretty hard to give up 54 points in a half. I don't have too much problem with the offense. It's what they do and they're hitting shots. It was when they tried to get too cute previously and pass too much that they had silly turnovers, so if there's a little too much one-on-one, I'll live with it given the talent. That defense though is atrocious. It's almost like watching a bad Duke game. The offense is scoring the ball despite the fact that you want to hate what they're doing as it's not "good" offense. The defense meanwhile is trying to pressure the ball, but all they're accomplishing is fouls and losing guys off screens in the paint or at the three point line. They aren't getting fast break offense against these guys and aren't disrupting what they're doing, so you end up losing a lot more than you gain by being that agresssive.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 06:52 PM
As I hinted at in the pregame writeup, I'd recommend USA try a full-court press with traps in order to try to get Bogut and Baynes involved in breaking it. We're not ready to guard this team in the halfcourt right now.

gep
08-10-2016, 06:55 PM
Maybe USA played possum in the first half? :cool:

dukelifer
08-10-2016, 06:56 PM
That looked like All-Star game defense by Team USA.

Late nights in Rio- a series of weak opponents. The needed a wake up game to get these guys to focus. We shall see. Basketball is a funny sport when a good team is not locked in.

NashvilleDevil
08-10-2016, 06:57 PM
I think the US let Delly get in their head early and it has affected them. They just need to play and not worry about his shenanigans. Australia played as well as they could in that first half and the US played probably the worst they have played. I think it gets corrected this half and the US wins by 15-20.

TKG
08-10-2016, 07:00 PM
The Boomers shot 68% from the floor in the first half. Would love to see a shot chart and see how many of those baskets came in the lane.

dukelifer
08-10-2016, 07:01 PM
The Boomers shot 68% from the floor in the first half. Would love to see a shot chart and see how many of those baskets came in the lane.

Golden rule of basketball- hard to beat a team that shoots 68%.

Eternal Outlaw
08-10-2016, 07:15 PM
Pretty funny watching Bogut trying to be a tough guy intimidator.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 07:18 PM
btw, I doubt Australia is holding back anything anymore (if they were even doing so in the first place). Outscore the USA in the next 11.5 minutes, and your team will be venerated forever.

TKG
08-10-2016, 07:22 PM
Our offense is painful to watch tonight. We are just jacking up threes.

CDu
08-10-2016, 07:25 PM
They are making shots they don't make, we are missing shots we don't miss. Also some odd officiating at times.

CDu
08-10-2016, 07:28 PM
If there were any doubts about Anthony, this game is helping quell them.

kAzE
08-10-2016, 07:30 PM
How good will these guys be in 2020 with Ben Simmons and Dante exum?

CDu
08-10-2016, 07:33 PM
How good will these guys be in 2020 with Ben Simmons and Dante exum?

Probably about as good as now, maybe a little better. Some of their vets will be old.

They are looking better than they are today because our shots aren't falling.

77devil
08-10-2016, 07:35 PM
Reliance on the 3 and weak defense. Now where have I seen this before?

dukelifer
08-10-2016, 07:35 PM
Our offense is painful to watch tonight. We are just jacking up threes.

Klay Thompson is missing a lot in the Olympics. May need to find another guard out there. Carmelo is amazing.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 07:35 PM
If there were any doubts about Anthony, this game is helping quell them.

Aussie's lack of a true 4 has killed them in this game. If they had, say, a Saric instead of having to play two Cs together, they'd probably be winning.

NSDukeFan
08-10-2016, 07:36 PM
If there were any doubts about Anthony, this game is helping quell them.

I think it's probably good that he made the team.

dukelifer
08-10-2016, 07:40 PM
I think it's probably good that he made the team.

And very good Kyrie agreed to play.

Duke79UNLV77
08-10-2016, 07:42 PM
Klay Thompson is missing a lot in the Olympics. May need to find another guard out there. Carmelo is amazing.

I'd like to see more Paul George and less Klay Thompson at this point.

TKG
08-10-2016, 07:42 PM
Good lord we are just awful......where are our heads, tonight?

dukelifer
08-10-2016, 07:42 PM
I'd like to see more Paul George and less Klay Thompson at this point.

Does not look like the same player.

CDu
08-10-2016, 07:42 PM
Looks like we will survive an awfully lazy and poor shooting performance. Maybe a wakeup call.

TKG
08-10-2016, 07:43 PM
A Great Escape (if we win).

Eternal Outlaw
08-10-2016, 07:43 PM
Amazing how invisible Durant has been.

dukelifer
08-10-2016, 07:44 PM
Good lord we are just awful...where are our heads, tonight?

You get an overwhelming favorite in a close game- anything can happen. Pressure is a funny thing.

TKG
08-10-2016, 07:46 PM
You get an overwhelming favorite in a close game- anything can happen. Pressure is a funny thing.

Hope this gets their attention.

TKG
08-10-2016, 07:47 PM
Amazing how invisible Durant has been.


And Cousins and Thompson.

Duke79UNLV77
08-10-2016, 07:48 PM
Love George's dive and Kyrie's running over to pick him up!

CDu
08-10-2016, 07:49 PM
Durant, Thompson, George, and Butler - four of the top 20 players in the world - shot 8-33 from the field. Missing mostly open looks.

gurufrisbee
08-10-2016, 07:52 PM
How good will these guys be in 2020 with Ben Simmons and Dante exum?

Probably a medal contender (if they aren't already)

Of course we likely wouldn't even be talking about this game if we had been rolling out Lebron, Curry, Westbrook, Paul, Griffin, Lillard, Leonard, A.Davis, Harden, Aldridge, etc..

dukelifer
08-10-2016, 07:55 PM
Hope this gets their attention.

Anthony saved them tonight. He plays the international game so well. Irving has grown up. Thompson is below average offensively right now - but is very good defensively- which is why he is on the floor. Thompson needs to get it together.

BD80
08-10-2016, 07:58 PM
Anthony saved them tonight. He plays the international game so well. Irving has grown up. Thompson is below average offensively right now - but is very good defensively- which is why he is on the floor. Thompson needs to get it together.

Anyone wondering why Melo has ALWAYS been a lock to be on this team?

Teams are going to start doubling off Thompson. Golly he looked awful.

Duke79UNLV77
08-10-2016, 08:00 PM
I will say I've always thought Mills has been very underrated in the NBA.

CDu
08-10-2016, 08:03 PM
Probably a medal contender (if they aren't already)

Of course we likely wouldn't even be talking about this game if we had been rolling out Lebron, Curry, Westbrook, Paul, Griffin, Lillard, Leonard, A.Davis, Harden, Aldridge, etc..

Perhaps they will be better, but by then Andersen will be 40, Bogut a very old 35, Mills 32. So it isn't just a matter of those guys adding to the mix. They will get better in some ways and worse in others.

dukelifer
08-10-2016, 08:05 PM
How good will these guys be in 2020 with Ben Simmons and Dante exum?

and Jack White- NCAA player of the year out of Duke in 2020.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 08:12 PM
So, updated the list below. One thing that stands out is that 5 of the 6 games were high scoring. That makes sense to me that offensive teams will have a slightly better chance of defeating USA than defensive teams. If you have guards that can make plays against pressure (e.g. Mills 30 points, Delly 11 assists), then you at least have the hope of geting hot and simply outscoring the USA for victory.

Not that even those teams stand much of a chance. I believe that was USA's 75th consecutive win since the loss to Greece, and close games have only popped up 6 times.



List of all close games USA has played since the loss to Greece in 2006 (if we define "close" as a margin < 12 points [which is < 3 points a quarter]):


2008 Olympics

USA 118, Spain 107 (Gold Medal Game)


2010 FIBA World Championship

USA 70, Brazil 68 (Group Stage)
USA 89, Russia 79 (Quarterfinals)


2012 Olympics

USA 99, Lithuania 94 (Group Stage)
USA 107, Spain 100 (Gold Medal Game)


2014 FIBA World Cup

...


2016 Olympics

USA 98, Australia 88 (Group Stage)

duke4ever19
08-10-2016, 08:33 PM
Matthew Dellavedova would have been a helluva Duke player.

Troublemaker
08-10-2016, 08:41 PM
So, updated the list below. One thing that stands out is that 5 of the 6 games were high scoring. That makes sense to me that offensive teams will have a slightly better chance of defeating USA than defensive teams. If you have guards that can make plays against pressure (e.g. Mills 30 points, Delly 11 assists), then you at least have the hope of geting hot and simply outscoring the USA for victory.

Not that even those teams stand much of a chance. I believe that was USA's 75th consecutive win since the loss to Greece, and close games have only popped up 6 times.

Actually, 71st consecutive win according to both ESPN and Duke:

SportsCenterVerified account ‏@SportsCenter (https://twitter.com/SportsCenter) 44m44 minutes ago (https://twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/763524253736198144)
The U.S. is now 83-1 in international play under Coach K and has won 71 games in a row.


Duke Basketball ‏@dukebasketball (https://twitter.com/dukebasketball) 48m48 minutes ago (https://twitter.com/dukebasketball/status/763523335586091008)
Despite trailing at halftime this evening, the USA has now won 71 consecutive international contests under Coach K.

CDu
08-10-2016, 08:48 PM
It is nice when you can shoot just 17-48 on 2pt shots and still get a double-digit win. What an awful game of basketball.

Definitely kudos to Australia for playing about as well as they could possibly play for the first 20 minutes. The second half was more what we should have expected from the US for 40 minutes (we won the second half 49-34).

Couldn't have played a ton worse. Lazy defense, poor offense. And cold shooting from our stars. Thankfully Anthony was terrific and offset Mills, and thankfully Irving woke up from an awful game in the 4th. If only Thompson and Durant showed up (6-24 combined).

kAzE
08-10-2016, 09:44 PM
It is nice when you can shoot just 17-48 on 2pt shots and still get a double-digit win. What an awful game of basketball.

Definitely kudos to Australia for playing about as well as they could possibly play for the first 20 minutes. The second half was more what we should have expected from the US for 40 minutes (we won the second half 49-34).

Couldn't have played a ton worse. Lazy defense, poor offense. And cold shooting from our stars. Thankfully Anthony was terrific and offset Mills, and thankfully Irving woke up from an awful game in the 4th. If only Thompson and Durant showed up (6-24 combined).

Rooting for Melo to somehow end up in Cleveland to form a new super team . . . .

CDu
08-10-2016, 09:51 PM
Rooting for Melo to somehow end up in Cleveland to form a new super team . . . .

It would be entertaining for sure, and I would love to watch that Cleveland/Golden State finals for a few years. Wonder if a Love trade could get it done. Love would fit nicely beside Porzingis. Not sure if Melo's wife would approve the move though.

jipops
08-10-2016, 09:54 PM
It is nice when you can shoot just 17-48 on 2pt shots and still get a double-digit win. What an awful game of basketball.

Definitely kudos to Australia for playing about as well as they could possibly play for the first 20 minutes. The second half was more what we should have expected from the US for 40 minutes (we won the second half 49-34).

Couldn't have played a ton worse. Lazy defense, poor offense. And cold shooting from our stars. Thankfully Anthony was terrific and offset Mills, and thankfully Irving woke up from an awful game in the 4th. If only Thompson and Durant showed up (6-24 combined).

Atleast the defense didn't look lazy in the 2nd. Could also be a combined with Aus wearing down a bit as well. Agree this was poor basketball for the US. Next time we face these guys we won't be able to win solely on talent.

awhom111
08-11-2016, 12:11 AM
It was an interesting discussion earlier about college teams versus national teams. I seem to remember that last summer Giles and Tatum were the second and third leading scorers on a team that had two close calls against two other national teams in the same age group. It was not a particularly strong U19 team from the United States, but one would also think that the senior teams of other countries are better than their U19 teams.

Exhibitions between college teams and national teams do happen during the summers, although the national teams are not always at full strength in that stage of preparations. Last summer, Michigan State lost narrowly to Georgia, then lost by about 20 to Russia and Italy. Italy was the closest to making it to the Olympics, but Bargnani did not play against the Spartans and Gallinari barely featured.

Interestingly enough, when I was looking into this, apparently Duke's 88-89 team went to Greece for their overseas tour, nearly beating the hosts while losing more decisively to Italy and Yugoslavia. I believe that there is even some grainy footage out there. I am assuming that this was under the old overseas tour rules, so it was probably not the full team for that season.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
08-11-2016, 07:07 AM
Matthew Dellavedova would have been a helluva Duke player.

Commented during the game that K would love to have an MFer like that on his team. Any of his teams.

MChambers
08-11-2016, 08:26 AM
Perhaps they will be better, but by then Andersen will be 40, Bogut a very old 35, Mills 32. So it isn't just a matter of those guys adding to the mix. They will get better in some ways and worse in others.

Yeah, but maybe Simmons will have added a jumpshot by then.

Troublemaker
08-11-2016, 09:48 AM
Some box score (http://www.fiba.com/ls/#8092&BKM400A08) stuff:


USA did a great job on the boards against a big team. On offense, USA had 21 o-rebs to the Aussies' 31 d-rebs. On defense, USA had 26 d-rebs to the Aussies' 8 o-rebs.
Bogut, who played great otherwise, only had 1 rebound. Cousins, who is in constant foul trouble, only played 10 minutes but grabbed 8 boards (4 offensive).
Baynes only got 3 rebounds in 17 minutes. Australia basically got nothing from playing two centers together except for lots of Carmelo pick-n-pop jumpers in Baynes' face.
In a close game, Harrison Barnes got a DNP as expected. DeRozan only played 3 minutes, and he will probably be excised completely if we have another close game. No need to play 11 guys in tight contests.
DeAndre played 20 minutes because of Cousins' foul trouble and because DeAndre is a better defender.


I suspect DeAndre will be the starting center going forward. It balances the two units better, bringing defense to the first unit and offense to the second unit. And if DeMarcus is going to play reserve minutes due to foul trouble, might as well be a reserve.

So these would be my two units:

Kyrie - George - Durant - Carmelo - Jordan

Lowry - Klay - Butler - Draymond - Cousins

If Cousins wants to postup and score, the second-unit guys will more readily defer to that strategy, and Draymond is a great passer that can get him the ball.

Billy Dat
08-11-2016, 09:59 AM
Pretty funny watching Bogut trying to be a tough guy intimidator.

Isn't that how Bogut always plays? In the NBA, he is always getting into dust-ups because he plays the way that this whole Australian team plays - you can call it dirty or you can call it tough, but I felt like their aggression in this manner was the key to the whole game. They were nailing us left and right with a ton of cheap stuff that always gets called in the NBA...throwing the hip check on a screen, using the near arm to throw a chest shiver when contesting a shot or drive, really aggressive hard fouls on drives, lots of extra cheap shots off the ball and on rebounds, hooking the man they screened on pick and rolls to prevent fighting over the pick, and the Bogut running to the sideline and basically goal-line-standing Kyrie in front of the US bench.


Amazing how invisible Durant has been.

I attribute this to the above. He never got comfortable in this game because he was anticipating whistles instead of trying to yam it on people's heads. How many times did Durant have fast break situations and come up empty? Too many. That was true of a lot of our team.


They are making shots they don't make, we are missing shots we don't miss. Also some odd officiating at times.

We had so many dubiously classic FIBA foul and no foul calls go against us in the first half that we didn't know what to do. Our defense was also sloppy, but we also got called for a lot of ticky tack stuff while they were clobbering us. I don't think the officiating favored them, but it was classic FIBA and, this being the first good team we faced, it added a lot of game pressure. As far as Aussie's shooting, I agree they started lights out. The first break we caught was the start of the second half when Aussie missed 2 straight lay-ups and a wide open 3. We could have been in a bigger hole and in a bunch of trouble had they pushed that lead to 10-14 but we made a few and then it was pretty even until we pulled away at the end.

K said in the post game, and based on what I have seen, I agree, that Australia may be the second best team in the whole tournament. We are their only loss and, in the other group the two unbeatens LTU and ARG will play tonight to see who stays undefeated, but we know ARG isn't great, and we'll see what LTU does tonight. Everyone else is beating each other up. All that is to say this Aussie team is on a mission to earn its first men's basketball medal ever and they look mighty tough.

Because of the turnover in players from tournament to tournament, Team USA is never going to run a Princeton-style continuity offense like other teams. We don't have enough continuity for that. We'll always rely on some screening action to get the mismatch we want and then, hopefully, that player makes a quick decision rather than pound the ball. Kyrie's decisive 3 at the end was kind of classic Team USA/NBA and echoed the shot he hit to seal the NBA title....I am yelling, "Move the ball, stop pounding it......wow".

I will take these kind of games over 30 point blowouts, at least the narrative changes to "why don't the best players come" instead of "Olympic basketball is a joke"...because those are the only two storylines.

Ima Facultiwyfe
08-11-2016, 10:03 AM
It is nice when you can shoot just 17-48 on 2pt shots and still get a double-digit win. What an awful game of basketball.

Definitely kudos to Australia for playing about as well as they could possibly play for the first 20 minutes. The second half was more what we should have expected from the US for 40 minutes (we won the second half 49-34).

Couldn't have played a ton worse. Lazy defense, poor offense. And cold shooting from our stars. Thankfully Anthony was terrific and offset Mills, and thankfully Irving woke up from an awful game in the 4th. If only Thompson and Durant showed up (6-24 combined).

I didn't see many organized plays. It just seemed like every man for himself running around and taking shots. Maybe a screen once every blue moon. Maybe K thinks he doesn't need a game plan, bless his heart. I'm just somebody's grandmother so what do I know, but it sure looked like a Chinese fire drill to me. Just sayin'.

Love, Ima

Troublemaker
08-11-2016, 10:26 AM
Isn't that how Bogut always plays? In the NBA, he is always getting into dust-ups because he plays the way that this whole Australian team plays - you can call it dirty or you can call it tough, but I felt like their aggression in this manner was the key to the whole game. They were nailing us left and right with a ton of cheap stuff that always gets called in the NBA...throwing the hip check on a screen, using the near arm to throw a chest shiver when contesting a shot or drive, really aggressive hard fouls on drives, lots of extra cheap shots off the ball and on rebounds, hooking the man they screened on pick and rolls to prevent fighting over the pick, and the Bogut running to the sideline and basically goal-line-standing Kyrie in front of the US bench.

<snip>

We had so many dubiously classic FIBA foul and no foul calls go against us in the first half that we didn't know what to do. Our defense was also sloppy, but we also got called for a lot of ticky tack stuff while they were clobbering us. I don't think the officiating favored them, but it was classic FIBA and, this being the first good team we faced, it added a lot of game pressure. As far as Aussie's shooting, I agree they started lights out. The first break we caught was the start of the second half when Aussie missed 2 straight lay-ups and a wide open 3. We could have been in a bigger hole and in a bunch of trouble had they pushed that lead to 10-14 but we made a few and then it was pretty even until we pulled away at the end.

Some excerpts from Coach K's presser (http://www.usab.com/news-events/news/2016/08/moly-vs-aus-quotes.aspx) that can serve as companions to your post above:


For us, for this group, that’s the first real, real international game we’ve had. The experience of playing in that. The exhibitions were played in America. The first two games we were significantly better than those teams. This is the real world now. That was good for us.


There are nuances about the game that I’ve learned a lot from but my players have not experienced it. So at a timeout you have to explain this is what just happened. It wouldn’t have happened in an NBA game but it happened now and it’s right. It’s not wrong; it’s right. Things like that. We don’t have much time to prepare our team so to try to do things in a simple way where we can let them be instinctive. I thought today in the first half, they execute so well that their offense is just ahead of our defense. You have to talk quicker, more decisive and all that. It’s like being on a highway and you’re driving 55 and you’re in the right lane … today’s game was in the left lane with no speed limit. So your reaction there and how you learn to drive in that. We try to help them; we’ll try to help them tomorrow understand that. We’ve had close games. We almost lost to Lithuania in London, it was 99-94. We’ve had tough obviously gold medal games so this is not unusual because there are a lot of good teams and we recognize that.


All in all, no need for anyone to panic, not that anyone is. Typically USA improves as these competitions proceed, and we needed to play a good team in order to identify problem areas.

One thing I'd like to see the USA arrange for summers when we have these competitions is a home-and-home set of friendlies with Canada. Say, in Vegas and Vancouver (which is a 2.5-hr flight from Vegas). If we can get other good teams to come here for exhibitions in addition to Canada, then that would be the cherry on top, but we'll know that we'll always have at least the two games against a talented Canada team.

Troublemaker
08-11-2016, 12:08 PM
Real quick, today's games (Group B):

Brazil (1-1) -4 vs Croatia (1-1): A matchup of two teams that upset Spain. Brazil has played very well since trailing 58-29 at halftime of their first game against Lithuania. They've played excellent defense EXCEPT for fouling way too much; in fact, they probably shouldn't have needed a tip-in to beat Spain if they had controlled their fouls better.

Spain (0-2) -18 vs Nigeria (0-2): The Spaniards should get healthy here. Nigeria seems to like to run and gun, and Spain will love that after getting bogged down by their previous two opponents.

Lithuania (2-0) -3 vs Argentina (2-0): A huge test for Argentina, literally. They play small a lot, and one thing Lithuania has is plenty of size. Can they hold their own on the boards and not get worn down by the end of the game? The crowds for Argentina have been just as raucous as the crowds for Brazil so far.

Duke05
08-11-2016, 01:49 PM
Interesting take on world talent from FiveThirtyEight: "Team USA Isnít Getting Better ó World Basketball Is Getting Worse"
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/team-usa-isnt-getting-better-world-basketball-is-getting-worse/

CDu
08-11-2016, 02:42 PM
Interesting take on world talent from FiveThirtyEight: "Team USA Isn’t Getting Better — World Basketball Is Getting Worse"
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/team-usa-isnt-getting-better-world-basketball-is-getting-worse/

It is almost unequivocally correct that the top-tier quality of foreign teams has declined. But I'm not sure it is true in the middle. Argentina and Spain were certainly MUCH better teams in 2004 than they are today, as their golden generations have gotten old and they haven't been able to get that next wave. However, I think other countries (like France, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and others) are better now than they were 12 years ago. It's just that those countries were starting from a much bigger talent gap to make up. And countries like Lithuania and Croatia have stagnated. Countries like Italy and China have also clearly fallen off.

On aggregate? I'm not sure that the overall quality of the competition has necessarily fallen off too much from 2004. I think it is a bit silly to make the argument based on margin of victory (even adjusted margin of victory) after just 3 tournament games. Especially when two of those have come against bottom feeder teams and the other wound up being pretty close, and compare it to the margins of victory for completed tournaments (which included games against all the strongest teams in group as well as the knockout stages). But in terms of threats to us winning the title? Yeah, things were definitely tougher back in 2004 and 2008.

MChambers
08-11-2016, 02:43 PM
Interesting take on world talent from FiveThirtyEight: "Team USA Isnít Getting Better ó World Basketball Is Getting Worse"
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/team-usa-isnt-getting-better-world-basketball-is-getting-worse/

Seems to statistically support what folks have been saying: the other teams just don't have as much talent as they did in the past.

Thanks for sharing this.

Billy Dat
08-11-2016, 02:57 PM
Watching the final 5 minutes of a close Croatia v Brazil game, I observe the following:

-Croatia's Bogdanovich, who I have watched for a few years on the Nets, may be having the best tournament this side of Melo. The dude is tough.

-I am really enjoying the lack of end game timeouts. I really wish both the NBA and College Hoops would go to this model, it makes the end of close games much more enjoyable.

-I think most of these teams do a really poor job of defensive execution in tight games, specifically in shutting down the hot hand. Melo continued to get wide open shots last night, even when it was clear that he was in the zone. Watching this game, Brazil continues to lose Bogdanovich and Saric, these guys have gotten wide open looks. Once the US got its act together last night, they were swarming Patty Mills. At least we recognized who was hurting us.

SCMatt33
08-11-2016, 04:20 PM
So I've been looking at the standings, and I think Spain is in more trouble that I realized. If they win out and go 3-2, there's obviously no issues, but given who their losses are to, 2-3 might not be enough. Presumably, Nigeria won't get more than one win and will likely finish winless. Brazil will lose any two way tiebreaker with Brazil or Croatia on head to head, so they would need either hope that Brazil loses out (including and upset to Nigeria) so that 2-3 finishes solo 4th or that Argentina or Lithuania loses out to force a 3 way tie that would go to point difference (since both already beat Brazil, but would necessarily lose to Spain). Given how close Spain's two losses are, I can't really see them finishing third in a three way tie, so they're probably in in that case. Those scenarios are of course contingent on a Spain win today, but Spain is in real trouble if they don't win out.

phaedrus
08-11-2016, 04:25 PM
-I think most of these teams do a really poor job of defensive execution in tight games, specifically in shutting down the hot hand. Melo continued to get wide open shots last night, even when it was clear that he was in the zone. Watching this game, Brazil continues to lose Bogdanovich and Saric, these guys have gotten wide open looks. Once the US got its act together last night, they were swarming Patty Mills. At least we recognized who was hurting us.

Australia rejects the "hot hand" theory.

kAzE
08-11-2016, 06:08 PM
It would be entertaining for sure, and I would love to watch that Cleveland/Golden State finals for a few years. Wonder if a Love trade could get it done. Love would fit nicely beside Porzingis. Not sure if Melo's wife would approve the move though.

I'm sick and tired of hearing "Lala won't do this, Lala won't do that" . . . Lala doesn't have 4-5 years left in her career of choice to do something special for her legacy. Melo is American basketball royalty. Get that man on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

#FreeMelo

CDu
08-11-2016, 06:27 PM
I'm sick and tired of hearing "Lala won't do this, Lala won't do that" . . . Lala doesn't have 4-5 years left in her career of choice to do something special for her legacy. Melo is American basketball royalty. Get that man on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

#FreeMelo

All this is true. But if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Melo has pretty clearly let Lala dictate his basketball decisions in the past. Maybe he puts his foot down this time. That remains to be seen.

pfrduke
08-11-2016, 07:43 PM
All this is true. But if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Melo has pretty clearly let Lala dictate his basketball decisions in the past. Maybe he puts his foot down this time. That remains to be seen.

They don't need to move to Cleveland for him to play for Cleveland. Keep the place in NY, get an apartment in Cleveland, and commute when necessary. They can afford the plane tickets (heck, the Cavs would probably agree to make it part of his contract).

CDu
08-11-2016, 07:58 PM
They don't need to move to Cleveland for him to play for Cleveland. Keep the place in NY, get an apartment in Cleveland, and commute when necessary. They can afford the plane tickets (heck, the Cavs would probably agree to make it part of his contract).

Again, all this is true. And yet when Melo had the option to sign elsewhere with a contender as a free agent, he stayed in NY because Lala wanted to be there.

gurufrisbee
08-11-2016, 08:13 PM
Unless the Cavs are playing to win a gold medal, there is no reason to want to add Melo.

gurufrisbee
08-11-2016, 08:19 PM
It is almost unequivocally correct that the top-tier quality of foreign teams has declined. But I'm not sure it is true in the middle. Argentina and Spain were certainly MUCH better teams in 2004 than they are today, as their golden generations have gotten old and they haven't been able to get that next wave. However, I think other countries (like France, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and others) are better now than they were 12 years ago. It's just that those countries were starting from a much bigger talent gap to make up. And countries like Lithuania and Croatia have stagnated. Countries like Italy and China have also clearly fallen off.

On aggregate? I'm not sure that the overall quality of the competition has necessarily fallen off too much from 2004. I think it is a bit silly to make the argument based on margin of victory (even adjusted margin of victory) after just 3 tournament games. Especially when two of those have come against bottom feeder teams and the other wound up being pretty close, and compare it to the margins of victory for completed tournaments (which included games against all the strongest teams in group as well as the knockout stages). But in terms of threats to us winning the title? Yeah, things were definitely tougher back in 2004 and 2008.

I agree. The top teams aren't quite at the level Spain was at the last two olympics, but world wide the amount of talent and depth of it continues to get better and better. It's also good to remember how back in 1992 there were like two NBA players total for the rest of the world and now you have multiple teams in Rio that can start an entire line up of NBA players (like Australia).

cato
08-11-2016, 09:01 PM
Unless the Cavs are playing to win a gold medal, there is no reason to want to add Melo.

K clearly trusts Melo, and Melo has repaid that trust. Based on that alone, I wouldn't dismiss his value that easily.

Whether he would fit on the Cavs, whether they could make contracts work, I have no idea.

duke74
08-11-2016, 09:26 PM
Again, all this is true. And yet when Melo had the option to sign elsewhere with a contender as a free agent, he stayed in NY because Lala wanted to be there.

And I think the money was much greater to stay, right? If he wanted to be a winner, he would have left...

NSDukeFan
08-12-2016, 05:18 AM
And I think the money was much greater to stay, right? If he wanted to be a winner, he would have left...

Or played on the Olympic team and become the team's all-time leading scorer?

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
08-12-2016, 07:01 AM
Or played on the Olympic team and become the team's all-time leading scorer?

Shush - you are ruining the narrative.

:)

JasonEvans
08-12-2016, 08:29 AM
And I think the money was much greater to stay, right? If he wanted to be a winner, he would have left...

Didn't Melo sign after Phil Jackson came on board at the Knicks (or at approx. the same time)? It is possible Melo saw hope that the Knicks would build a winner around him with one of the great basketball minds running the show. Sure, he could have taken the easier path by signing elsewhere with an already established team, but I don't think he willfully sacrificed winning to money by signing with the Knicks. Plus, it is clear that the Knicks have gotten better with Jackson at the helm. They may not be a championship contender yet, but they appear to be ready for the playoffs at this point.

-Jason "it is more than a little hypocritical for fans to dislike Melo and Durant's decisions isn't it?" Evans

Troublemaker
08-12-2016, 08:39 AM
-Jason "it is more than a little hypocritical for fans to dislike Melo and Durant's decisions isn't it?" Evans

It does seem as if the NBA star can't make a good decision. Stay, and you're greedy and like money over winning. Leave, and you're a coward.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
08-12-2016, 08:43 AM
It does seem as if the NBA star can't make a good decision. Stay, and you're greedy and like money over winning. Leave, and you're a coward.

The only good reason for an NBA star to leave Their Team is to join My Team.

Billy Dat
08-12-2016, 09:01 AM
RE: Melo
Having watched his Knicks tenure up close, it's hard to argue that winning was his #1 priority. Money was #1, and once those contracts were finished, I do think he likes living in NY, and LaLa definitely has something to say about it, which is fine.

Back to the games, the Spain v Nigeria game was a shocker, that was as close as USA v Australia. It'll be interesting to see if Spain can win out and qualify for medals, and if they can make any noise once they get there. They have Lithuania tomorrow and Argentina on Monday....good luck with all that. Group B is tough.

I caught the 4th quarter of Argentina v Lithuania. LTU is tough, they are very much like Australia in their brawn and execution but their guards are not as flashy/skilled as Mills and Delly.

I am psyched to watch USA vs Serbia tonight, Teodosic gets another shot to show the NBA what they are missing.

Troublemaker
08-12-2016, 10:11 AM
Today's games (Group A):

Australia (2-1) -26 vs China (0-3): Hey, the biggest favorite today isn't USA! As everyone has probably figured out, the Aussies are pretty much locked into becoming Group A's two-seed, with only China and Venezuela remaining on their schedule, as long as USA finishes 5-0*. Which Group B team would Australia least like to encounter in the quarterfinals as Group B's 3-seed? They might not even care since they're playing very well and Group B has a lot of parity, but if you consider Australia's glaring weakness to be the lack of a PF, it's possible they wouldn't want to see a resurgent Spain, coming off 3 wins in a row and throwing Mirotic at Baynes. Croatia's Saric would be a difficult cover for Baynes as well.

USA (3-0) -23.5 vs Serbia (1-2): I think USA bounces back in a big way today. I think they made a lot of defensive mistakes (e.g. blowing switches) against Australia because, to use Coach K's analogy, they had been driving in the right lane and weren't used to the speed of the left lane and the physicality of a good FIBA opponent. They have a feel for it now and will largely clean up the mistakes. The Serbians also haven't been playing well, and their coach has unusual rotations that probably underutilize their best talents. We'll probably see two of Jokic, Teodosic, Raduljica, and Bogdanovic come off the bench, for example.

France (2-1) -18.5 vs Venezuela (1-2): Venezuela did end up squeaking by China to avoid being labeled as the worst team in the Olympics. France, a team that can be sloppy and turnover-prone (23 against China) on offense, actually can make use of this game because the Venezuelans try hard and are decent on defense. Play a clean offensive game here to show that you're maybe rounding into shape for the knockout rounds.


* If France beats USA and both join the Aussies at 4-1, Australia would actually win the 3-way tiebreaker and be the 1-seed. The 3 teams would be 1-1 against each other, but Australia would have the best margin of victory in the games between each other (as opposed to margin of victory in ALL games, which would likely favor USA). See 2004 Olympics Group B (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball_at_the_2004_Summer_Olympics#Group_B) for an example of how the 3-way tiebreaker works. (fyi, I think USA finishes 5-0 easily. I looked up the tiebreaker because of Group B.)

kAzE
08-12-2016, 10:12 AM
Unless the Cavs are playing to win a gold medal, there is no reason to want to add Melo.

Here's my theory: Melo is an awesome player, but he's not the ideal guy to have as your #1 option. While he can create shots for himself, he's much more effective at catching and finishing. So when he's playing on team USA with guys who can handle the ball at a higher level and find him for wide open shots, he becomes a dominant scorer. Melo has never played with a really good point guard. The best he's had is a past-his-prime Chauncey Billups.

The USA teams with LeBron and Melo were some of the best teams we've had. Both of them can play the 3 or 4, and LeBron is the perfect guy to get in the paint and set up Melo for wide open jumpers. He and Kyrie have shown some good chemistry in this tournament so far as well. If Melo were somehow able to replace Love on that team, it would be a huge upgrade, and the Cavs would become a much more imposing threat to Golden State. It actually helps the Knicks, too, since Love is still young, while Melo is getting close to the finish line.

I think we all know it's unlikely to happen, but it would be a really good fit in my opinion.

Troublemaker
08-12-2016, 10:35 AM
Here's my theory: Melo is an awesome player, but he's not the ideal guy to have as your #1 option. While he can create shots for himself, he's much more effective at catching and finishing. So when he's playing on team USA with guys who can handle the ball at a higher level and find him for wide open shots, he becomes a dominant scorer. Melo has never played with a really good point guard. The best he's had is a past-his-prime Chauncey Billups.

The USA teams with LeBron and Melo were some of the best teams we've had. Both of them can play the 3 or 4, and LeBron is the perfect guy to get in the paint and set up Melo for wide open jumpers. He and Kyrie have shown some good chemistry in this tournament so far as well. If Melo were somehow able to replace Love on that team, it would be a huge upgrade, and the Cavs would become a much more imposing threat to Golden State. It actually helps the Knicks, too, since Love is still young, while Melo is getting close to the finish line.

I think we all know it's unlikely to happen, but it would be a really good fit in my opinion.

I also think, for whatever reason, Melo seems to only be a decent shooter at 23'-9" distance but is amazing from 22'-2" distance.

That, and the age difference (Love is 27, Melo 32) are reasons why the Cavs shouldn't do the trade. Love will almost certainly be more valuable over the next 5 years. I do think Cleveland should look into trading Love to improve the team and open up more PF minutes for Lebron, but they should be trying to receive in a return a young Richard Jefferson, not an aging scorer.

gurufrisbee
08-12-2016, 10:50 AM
Yes, excellent points about Melo needing a great point guard type to set him up for open jumpers (if they ever made the super team with Paul and Lebron, Melo might average 40 a night) and benefiting from not having the best defenders guarding him about the change in distance of the three point line. All of this is spot on and exactly why he is much better in the Olympics than he is in the NBA right now.

Trading Love for him wouldn't work well either because you aren't improving defensively at all (which is almost hard to fathom but true) and you lose a lot in rebounding and as Lebron keeps getting older the next three years it seems unlikely he is going to be interested in playing the 4 and banging inside as much.

All that said, glad he is doing so well for Coach K right now.

pfrduke
08-12-2016, 11:19 AM
Today's games (Group A):

Australia (2-1) -26 vs China (0-3): Hey, the biggest favorite today isn't USA! As everyone has probably figured out, the Aussies are pretty much locked into becoming Group A's two-seed, with only China and Venezuela remaining on their schedule, as long as USA finishes 5-0*. Which Group B team would Australia least like to encounter in the quarterfinals as Group B's 3-seed? They might not even care since they're playing very well and Group B has a lot of parity, but if you consider Australia's glaring weakness to be the lack of a PF, it's possible they wouldn't want to see a resurgent Spain, coming off 3 wins in a row and throwing Mirotic at Baynes. Croatia's Saric would be a difficult cover for Baynes as well.

USA (3-0) -23.5 vs Serbia (1-2): I think USA bounces back in a big way today. I think they made a lot of defensive mistakes (e.g. blowing switches) against Australia because, to use Coach K's analogy, they had been driving in the right lane and weren't used to the speed of the left lane and the physicality of a good FIBA opponent. They have a feel for it now and will largely clean up the mistakes. The Serbians also haven't been playing well, and their coach has unusual rotations that probably underutilize their best talents. We'll probably see two of Jokic, Teodosic, Raduljica, and Bogdanovic come off the bench, for example.

France (2-1) -18.5 vs Venezuela (1-2): Venezuela did end up squeaking by China to avoid being labeled as the worst team in the Olympics. France, a team that can be sloppy and turnover-prone (23 against China) on offense, actually can make use of this game because the Venezuelans try hard and are decent on defense. Play a clean offensive game here to show that you're maybe rounding into shape for the knockout rounds.


* If France beats USA and both join the Aussies at 4-1, Australia would actually win the 3-way tiebreaker and be the 1-seed. The 3 teams would be 1-1 against each other, but Australia would have the best margin of victory in the games between each other (as opposed to margin of victory in ALL games, which would likely favor USA). See 2004 Olympics Group B (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basketball_at_the_2004_Summer_Olympics#Group_B) for an example of how the 3-way tiebreaker works. (fyi, I think USA finishes 5-0 easily. I looked up the tiebreaker because of Group B.)

This should be a big game for our guards. Teodosic can't guard a paper bag and gets totally lost on ball screens. Serbia is going to have to do a lot of scoring to keep up - I think this could be a came where our offense gets back on track after looking a little lackluster against Australia.

CDu
08-12-2016, 11:43 AM
Here's my theory: Melo is an awesome player, but he's not the ideal guy to have as your #1 option. While he can create shots for himself, he's much more effective at catching and finishing. So when he's playing on team USA with guys who can handle the ball at a higher level and find him for wide open shots, he becomes a dominant scorer. Melo has never played with a really good point guard. The best he's had is a past-his-prime Chauncey Billups.

The USA teams with LeBron and Melo were some of the best teams we've had. Both of them can play the 3 or 4, and LeBron is the perfect guy to get in the paint and set up Melo for wide open jumpers. He and Kyrie have shown some good chemistry in this tournament so far as well. If Melo were somehow able to replace Love on that team, it would be a huge upgrade, and the Cavs would become a much more imposing threat to Golden State. It actually helps the Knicks, too, since Love is still young, while Melo is getting close to the finish line.

I think we all know it's unlikely to happen, but it would be a really good fit in my opinion.

Yeah, I don't think it is so much that he needs a great PG to succeed as a scorer. Heck, he doesn't really have a great PG (in the classical "set your teammats up" sense) on this team. Irving is a great scorer and lead guard, but he isn't a great PG in that he doesn't really set other guys up so well. And to that end, Anthony wasn't really scoring off of key setups by his PG against Australia. He was scoring primarily in isolation plays against Baynes and Andersen.

Heck, it is not like Anthony is a scrub in the NBA in terms of scoring. He's averaged 25 ppg and scored over 22,000 points in a Hall of Fame career despite not ever having a great PG.

I think instead there are three things that make Anthony great in international play compared to the US:
1. Shorter 3pt line: Anthony seems to be very good from the international line, but adding 2 feet to the shot brings his percentage way down
2. Playing PF: Anthony at PF is such a matchup nightmare. If you play a big PF, he faces up and can blow by his man. Play an undersized PF and he can post up.
3. The quality of competition is way lower: this is perhaps the single biggest reason (along with the shorter 3pt line) why Anthony is such a nightmare in international play. He's an elite offensive talent against NBA SFs and PFs. But but the international game has a HUUUUUUUUGE dropoff in talent at SF and PF compared with the NBA. There are good PGs, SGs, and Cs, but most other countries just don't have great options at SF and PF. We saw this in spades with Australia, who tried unsuccessfully to defend Anthony with Baynes and Andersen. For a very skilled player who doesn't rely on elite athleticism, when you take away the athleticism of the US players at the PF and SF spots and replace it with less athletic guys, Anthony is like a shark smelling blood in the water.

duke74
08-12-2016, 12:01 PM
RE: Melo
Having watched his Knicks tenure up close, it's hard to argue that winning was his #1 priority. Money was #1, and once those contracts were finished, I do think he likes living in NY, and LaLa definitely has something to say about it, which is fine.

As another Knicks fan, I completely agree with Billy's comment. His decision was mostly based on the money difference (with spousal considerations no doubt). But if he wanted to win (purely), then the Bulls were the answer.

A few other comments in responses to other post, in no particular order. (Billy, correct me if I am wrong)

1. Melo has played quite a bit at power forward for the Knicks. The match ups have, as noted, favored him.

2. While a catch and shoot guy at times, he's been mostly in iso mode. Much to the frustration of many of us as time is winding down on the shot clock and/or he misses a clutch shot when needed.

3. Will be interesting to see how he and Rose click. Rose is not a classic PG (to me). If he is well, perhaps his drive and kick outs will work in the same way for Melo.

kAzE
08-12-2016, 12:06 PM
Yeah, I don't think it is so much that he needs a great PG to succeed as a scorer. Heck, he doesn't really have a great PG (in the classical "set your teammats up" sense) on this team. Irving is a great scorer and lead guard, but he isn't a great PG in that he doesn't really set other guys up so well. And to that end, Anthony wasn't really scoring off of key setups by his PG against Australia. He was scoring primarily in isolation plays against Baynes and Andersen.

Heck, it is not like Anthony is a scrub in the NBA in terms of scoring. He's averaged 25 ppg and scored over 22,000 points in a Hall of Fame career despite not ever having a great PG.

I think instead there are three things that make Anthony great in international play compared to the US:
1. Shorter 3pt line: Anthony seems to be very good from the international line, but adding 2 feet to the shot brings his percentage way down
2. Playing PF: Anthony at PF is such a matchup nightmare. If you play a big PF, he faces up and can blow by his man. Play an undersized PF and he can post up.
3. The quality of competition is way lower: this is perhaps the single biggest reason (along with the shorter 3pt line) why Anthony is such a nightmare in international play. He's an elite offensive talent against NBA SFs and PFs. But but the international game has a HUUUUUUUUGE dropoff in talent at SF and PF compared with the NBA. There are good PGs, SGs, and Cs, but most other countries just don't have great options at SF and PF. We saw this in spades with Australia, who tried unsuccessfully to defend Anthony with Baynes and Andersen. For a very skilled player who doesn't rely on elite athleticism, when you take away the athleticism of the US players at the PF and SF spots and replace it with less athletic guys, Anthony is like a shark smelling blood in the water.

Yeah, I don't disagree with any of that, but I still think replacing Love with Melo is a huge upgrade for many reasons.

First, it's just the way the NBA is going. The more skilled and versatile players you have on the court who can handle, shoot, and pass, the more successful you will be offensively. I think some people haven't noticed that Melo has quietly become a pretty damn good play maker in his own right. He's become a more willing passer, and averaged a career high 4.2 assists last season.

When you have 3 guys who can create shots for themselves AND others (especially if some of those guys are front court players), it becomes exponentially more difficult to guard. Remember how dominant the Cavs looked when JR Smith was getting in the paint? That would be every game if Melo were on the team. This is also why the Warriors are so good at getting great shots. They always have 2-3 (and sometimes even 4) play makers on the floor at all times. They could even get to 5 next year, with a lineup of Steph, Livingston, Klay, KD, and Draymond.

Melo & LeBron can matchup with KD and Draymond. Love & LeBron cannot do that. Melo gets flak for his defense, and rightly so, but it's not from lack of ability. Melo can defend when he's motivated. Kyrie can defend when motivated. LeBron and NBA Finals pressure turned out to be pretty good motivators.

Melo is 32, he's not dead. He has a game that projects to age well. I think he can be a very high level scorer for at least 4 more years. LeBron is 31, so giving up a younger player in Love who doesn't totally fit isn't that big of a deal. You want to maximize LeBron's best years, so getting the best possible roster for the next 3-4 years should be the priority, and making sure you have the best possible chance to beat Golden State has to be the most important consideration for them.

I just found this. It's an article talking about how Melo is a much better player when he defers, and I have to agree 100%: http://bballbreakdown.com/2016/01/27/carmelo-anthony-less-is-more/

Melo has always been the best player on his team, except for when he plays on Team USA. That's why he will be the most decorated international player in Team USA history.

CDu
08-12-2016, 01:10 PM
Yeah, I don't disagree with any of that, but I still think replacing Love with Melo is a huge upgrade for many reasons.

First, it's just the way the NBA is going. The more skilled and versatile players you have on the court who can handle, shoot, and pass, the more successful you will be offensively. I think some people haven't noticed that Melo has quietly become a pretty damn good play maker in his own right. He's become a more willing passer, and averaged a career high 4.2 assists last season.

When you have 3 guys who can create shots for themselves AND others (especially if some of those guys are front court players), it becomes exponentially more difficult to guard. Remember how dominant the Cavs looked when JR Smith was getting in the paint? That would be every game if Melo were on the team. This is also why the Warriors are so good at getting great shots. They always have 2-3 (and sometimes even 4) play makers on the floor at all times. They could even get to 5 next year, with a lineup of Steph, Livingston, Klay, KD, and Draymond.

Melo & LeBron can matchup with KD and Draymond. Love & LeBron cannot do that. Melo gets flak for his defense, and rightly so, but it's not from lack of ability. Melo can defend when he's motivated. Kyrie can defend when motivated. LeBron and NBA Finals pressure turned out to be pretty good motivators.

Melo is 32, he's not dead. He has a game that projects to age well. I think he can be a very high level scorer for at least 4 more years. LeBron is 31, so giving up a younger player in Love who doesn't totally fit isn't that big of a deal. You want to maximize LeBron's best years, so getting the best possible roster for the next 3-4 years should be the priority, and making sure you have the best possible chance to beat Golden State has to be the most important consideration for them.

I just found this. It's an article talking about how Melo is a much better player when he defers, and I have to agree 100%: http://bballbreakdown.com/2016/01/27/carmelo-anthony-less-is-more/

Melo has always been the best player on his team, except for when he plays on Team USA. That's why he will be the most decorated international player in Team USA history.

Oh I definitely definitely agree and think Melo would give them more than Love, if for no other reason than he gives another shot creator and allows less burden on LeBron. For whatever reason Love just hasn't fully clicked with LeBron.

The other big plus is that Melo - while not a good defender - is more versatile than Love. He can play the 3 or 4 interchangeably with LeBron, and creates a huge headache for the opposition trying to match up.

gurufrisbee
08-12-2016, 03:48 PM
Man, just think how unstoppable the Cavs would be if they got PATTY MILLS!!


Wait, am I doing this 'overreacting to one game in the Olympics' thing wrong?

flyingdutchdevil
08-12-2016, 03:59 PM
Man, just think how unstoppable the Cavs would be if they got PATTY MILLS!!


Wait, am I doing this 'overreacting to one game in the Olympics' thing wrong?

No. Patty Mills is a badass.

superdave
08-12-2016, 04:03 PM
K clearly trusts Melo, and Melo has repaid that trust. Based on that alone, I wouldn't dismiss his value that easily.

Whether he would fit on the Cavs, whether they could make contracts work, I have no idea.

Melo would be a great third option on the Cavs. He can help spread the floor, is tough in big moments and could carry a second unit while Lebron and Kyrie rest. I am not sure he's a great first option anymore, but I'd love to see him on the Cavs so they can take down GSW.

I bet he's loving these Olympics too. Glad to see him play so well.

Olympic Fan
08-12-2016, 05:08 PM
I was just looking at Troublemaker's list of "close games" that the USA has had under Coach K.

After Wednesday's game with Australia, that's six close games --- in a streak of 70 straight internationl wins for Team USA.

And is it really six?

Three games on the list were decided by 11, 10 and 10 points (including Wednesday's game).

Now, I'm not sure I'd call a double figure win a "close" game ... a competitive game, yes, but close?

That leaves a seven point, a five point and a two point win -- three relative close games in a 70-game winning streak. The two closest games were in the Group stage, when a single loss wouldn't hurt. The only "close" game that mattered was the seven-point 2012 Gold Medal win.

Pretty impressive.

CDu
08-12-2016, 05:19 PM
I was just looking at Troublemaker's list of "close games" that the USA has had under Coach K.

After Wednesday's game with Australia, that's six close games --- in a streak of 70 straight internationl wins for Team USA.

And is it really six?

Three games on the list were decided by 11, 10 and 10 points (including Wednesday's game).

Now, I'm not sure I'd call a double figure win a "close" game ... a competitive game, yes, but close?

That leaves a seven point, a five point and a two point win -- three relative close games in a 70-game winning streak. The two closest games were in the Group stage, when a single loss wouldn't hurt. The only "close" game that mattered was the seven-point 2012 Gold Medal win.

Pretty impressive.

Final scores can be deceiving. The Australia game was close: 4 point game with under a minute. We just hit free throws late and Australia missed. The 10 point spread was very much not how that game went until it was at the end.

MChambers
08-12-2016, 05:44 PM
Final scores can be deceiving. The Australia game was close: 4 point game with under a minute. We just hit free throws late and Australia missed. The 10 point spread was very much not how that game went until it was at the end.

That was about as close as a 10 point game can be.

pfrduke
08-12-2016, 06:29 PM
Better first quarter - the starters finally came out on - before some technicals stole a little bit of the momentum there at the end.

TKG
08-12-2016, 06:42 PM
For the second game in a row we have a number of players who act spoiled and entitled. Our defense is atrocious for the second consecutive game - we act like we do not care and expect games to be handed to us just for showing up. End of rant.

duke4ever19
08-12-2016, 07:09 PM
For the second game in a row we have a number of players who act spoiled and entitled. Our defense is atrocious for the second consecutive game - we act like we do not care and expect games to be handed to us just for showing up. End of rant.

I know Cousins always whines, but DeAndre Jordan had a legit beef with the ref. This is a significant step down in ref quality from the NBA IMO.

CDu
08-12-2016, 07:36 PM
I know Cousins always whines, but DeAndre Jordan had a legit beef with the ref. This is a significant step down in ref quality from the NBA IMO.

The international officiating is generally abysmal.

duke4ever19
08-12-2016, 08:01 PM
This is some gross basketball. Blech

Doug Collins is also hard to listen to.

jipops
08-12-2016, 08:02 PM
I'm starting to have a hard time seeing this team win gold this time around. We have a lot of difficulty defending this kind of ball movement. And it affects our offense. The collective inexperience in international play is showing.

TKG
08-12-2016, 08:02 PM
If this team doesn't start playing with more passion they can be had.....

Olympic Fan
08-12-2016, 08:07 PM
Final scores can be deceiving. The Australia game was close: 4 point game with under a minute. We just hit free throws late and Australia missed. The 10 point spread was very much not how that game went until it was at the end.

I saw the game ... and just a small quibble, it was never four points in the final minute. The last time it was four was with 5:57 left to play.

It was competitive toward the end. Australia did get it to five at 93-88 with a shot at closing to within three -- but Ingles missed a tough turnaround at 0:27 and the US hit five of six free throws to close it out, while the Aussies were heaving (and missing) some wild 3s.

Was that a close game?

Well, the US led all the way down the stretch and never in the last six minutes did the Aussies have the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead.

It was a competitive game. But if that's what you count as a close game, then so be it.

Olympic Fan
08-12-2016, 08:24 PM
Now, today's 94-91 win over Serbia -- with the Serbs missing a 3 at the buzzer -- THAT is my definition of a close game (even if the US did lead all the way).

CDu
08-12-2016, 08:28 PM
I saw the game ... and just a small quibble, it was never four points in the final minute. The last time it was four was with 5:57 left to play.

It was competitive toward the end. Australia did get it to five at 93-88 with a shot at closing to within three -- but Ingles missed a tough turnaround at 0:27 and the US hit five of six free throws to close it out, while the Aussies were heaving (and missing) some wild 3s.

Was that a close game?

Well, the US led all the way down the stretch and never in the last six minutes did the Aussies have the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead.

It was a competitive game. But if that's what you count as a close game, then so be it.

Minor quibble to your minor quibble: it was 90-86 with 1:59 to go. So I was only off by 59 seconds. And it was a two-possession game from 1:27 to 0:17, with the Aussies missing two shots in those final minutes to cut it to one possession. So, yeah, I would call that close.

Yes, we had the lead for the last ~8 minutes. But comfortable? Not for me. That game was close. Not quite as close as today, but definitely close. If your definition of close is only if the team had a chance to tie at the end, then you have better nerves. Than I do.

kAzE
08-12-2016, 08:30 PM
Didn't get to see the game, but I was shocked when I saw the score. Looks like Jokic finally went off . . . against the best big men in the entire field? What the hell?

Cousins with 5 points 3 boards and 5 turnovers in 21 minutes??

Klay Thompson with yet another no-show??

What the hell happened?

Troublemaker
08-12-2016, 08:31 PM
For the second game in a row we have a number of players who act spoiled and entitled. Our defense is atrocious for the second consecutive game - we act like we do not care and expect games to be handed to us just for showing up. End of rant.

Yeah, disappointed we couldn't improve on the Aussie performance. I thought we were on our way at first. For most of the first quarter, it looked like we were going to blow Serbia out in epic fashion. But then our guys gave them some cheap points on a couple of technicals, which seemed to settle down the Serbians who then proceeded to play their best game of this competition so far. Their coach trusted Jokic in this game, and he responded with 25 points. Teodosic is a wonderful passer, and they have a few other guards who can make plays and dish to their two talented big men as well.

So, another close game for USA, and again it's high-scoring.

Troublemaker
08-12-2016, 08:34 PM
I saw the game ... and just a small quibble, it was never four points in the final minute. The last time it was four was with 5:57 left to play.

It was competitive toward the end. Australia did get it to five at 93-88 with a shot at closing to within three -- but Ingles missed a tough turnaround at 0:27 and the US hit five of six free throws to close it out, while the Aussies were heaving (and missing) some wild 3s.

Was that a close game?

Well, the US led all the way down the stretch and never in the last six minutes did the Aussies have the ball and a chance to tie or take the lead.

It was a competitive game. But if that's what you count as a close game, then so be it.

I'd estimate 95% of Americans would call the Australia game a close game, especially since the context is USA men's basketball.

However, I can't say you're wrong. The 5% are allowed to define "close" however you want, and we'll agree to disagree.

NashvilleDevil
08-12-2016, 08:35 PM
Yeah, disappointed we couldn't improve on the Aussie performance. I thought we were on our way at first. For most of the first quarter, it looked like we were going to blow Serbia out in epic fashion. But then our guys gave them some cheap points on a couple of technicals, which seemed to settle down the Serbians who then proceeded to play their best game of this competition so far. Their coach trusted Jokic in this game, and he responded with 25 points. Teodosic is a wonderful passer, and they have a few other guards who can make plays and dish to their two talented big men as well.

So, another close game for USA, and again it's high-scoring.

It's like the Jabari year right now.

CDu
08-12-2016, 08:37 PM
Today's game on the heels of our shaky game against Australia illustrate to me the counterpoint to that fivethirtyeight article. We have now played to tough games against countries that were not previously among the royalty of international ball. So I think the depth of international ball has improved. It is just that we now have a bunch of countries that would have to play at their best to beat us, but no huge threats. Whereas in the past few tourneys there was only maybe one or two teams that could realistically threaten us.

I don't think Serbia or Australia are anywhere near US level. But both played over their heads and got help from us. We won both, but in yucky fashion. I still feel like this team has another gear. But I think any team we face the rest of the way will be able to threaten us like these last two did unless we really step up.

dukelifer
08-12-2016, 08:41 PM
Didn't get to see the game, but I was shocked when I saw the score. Looks like Jokic finally went off . . . against the best big men in the entire field? What the hell?

Cousins with 5 points 3 boards and 5 turnovers in 21 minutes??

Klay Thompson with yet another no-show??

What the hell happened?

Klay Thompson is a big issue. Without a consistent 3 point shooter- this team is very beatable. Klay was supposed to be that guy but 4 games in a row shows me that he is either having problems with the ball or has some mental block. He is the reigning NBA 3 point shooting contest winner and has been one of the best shooters in the NBA for the last two years. Without a shooter to punish teams - the team has to figure out how to get some movement. Kyrie is not the kind of guard that controls the flow of the game. This hurts ball movement. This team is vulnerable and will need to minimize mistakes to win.

TKG
08-12-2016, 08:43 PM
Klay Thompson with yet another no-show???

I do not think Klay played at all in the second half. KD was MIA for the second straight game as well; particularly on D.

Billy Dat
08-12-2016, 09:15 PM
This was the first game where it felt like the weight of being Team USA and facing the pressure to win and the hunger of other teams to stick it to us is starting to collectively weigh on these guys. It's not overt, but I did get a little of that sense of annoyance from our squad, like, "Why is this so hard?" Now that two teams have pushed us to the limit, they can expect more.

We aren't good on either side of the ball. We haven't adjusted to the physical nature of screen and roll FIBA offense and give up lots of open looks vs these continuity offenses. Our offense is bad. Paul George gave a really good interview right after the game, saying our offense needs some more tweaks and that we are letting other teams dictate the style. Doug Collins said we don't practice - it looks like we don't practice.

Credit Serbia with mucking up the game with fouls. They set the tone and we let the disrupted flow put us into second gear.

KD has been a disappointment so far. He was such a precocious leader in 2010, it feels like he has regressed in that role. He hasn't played well. He was engaged on the bench but something is off.

I think the spotlight now falls to K. How do we adjust, how does he breath some pep into this team? He can handle it, intereted to see what he does.

I actually don't expect as tough a game from France. I think with their medal round secured they will go into tank mode.

CDu
08-12-2016, 10:01 PM
At the moment, this tourney has a bit of a 2004 feel to it. I think this team is a lot better than that one (it has several of the top 25 players in the world after all). But it just doesn't seem like this team is dialed in. I can't help but wonder about including all three of Butler, George, and DeRozan, as well as the wasted spot taken by Barnes. The first three are just to similar in style, so maybe only Butler and George were needed. And Barnes' spot could have been used for a specialist.

But even still, the team is too talented to have played this poorly in the past two games. Yes, Serbia and Australia have some talent. Yes, we still won. But man, they have looked lethargic out there on defense, and they have lacked any cohesion on offense. It definitely hasn't been a glowing coaching job. We look like an All Star team (just a jumble of talented players that maybe don't work together) and not a team.

Hopefully the team pulls it together. I would feel better if we had had a true bounceback performance. But instead we threw up another clunky win.

Olympic Fan
08-12-2016, 10:21 PM
At the moment, this tourney has a bit of a 2004 feel to it. I think this team is a lot better than that one (it has several of the top 25 players in the world after all). But it just doesn't seem like this team is dialed in. I can't help but wonder about including all three of Butler, George, and DeRozan, as well as the wasted spot taken by Barnes. The first three are just to similar in style, so maybe only Butler and George were needed. And Barnes' spot could have been used for a specialist.

But even still, the team is too talented to have played this poorly in the past two games. Yes, Serbia and Australia have some talent. Yes, we still won. But man, they have looked lethargic out there on defense, and they have lacked any cohesion on offense. It definitely hasn't been a glowing coaching job. We look like an All Star team (just a jumble of talented players that maybe don't work together) and not a team.

Hopefully the team pulls it together. I would feel better if we had had a true bounceback performance. But instead we threw up another clunky win.

I think that's a little strong ... the 2004 team lost its opener in group play by 19 points to Puerto Rico, then lost to Lithuania to finish group play 3-2. They edged Spain in the first elimination round, then lost to Argentina in the semifinals before beating Lithuania in a rematch for the bronze.

I know the US has not looked sharp in the last two games, but at this point in 2004, the US had a 2-2 record and had been outscored by their opponents.

I don't think that's a fair comparison.

I will be interested to see what happens Sunday. The US has clinched itself a berth in the medal wound, so they don't have to win. But I hope they play like they do -- then they have two days off before the elimination round starts Wednesday.

Pghdukie
08-12-2016, 10:21 PM
JJ throwing up 3's might have helped. All kidding aside, team needs to pick up the intensity. This isn't just a walk in the park. USA is going to take everyone's best shot.

Saratoga2
08-12-2016, 10:21 PM
At the moment, this tourney has a bit of a 2004 feel to it. I think this team is a lot better than that one (it has several of the top 25 players in the world after all). But it just doesn't seem like this team is dialed in. I can't help but wonder about including all three of Butler, George, and DeRozan, as well as the wasted spot taken by Barnes. The first three are just to similar in style, so maybe only Butler and George were needed. And Barnes' spot could have been used for a specialist.

But even still, the team is too talented to have played this poorly in the past two games. Yes, Serbia and Australia have some talent. Yes, we still won. But man, they have looked lethargic out there on defense, and they have lacked any cohesion on offense. It definitely hasn't been a glowing coaching job. We look like an All Star team (just a jumble of talented players that maybe don't work together) and not a team.

Hopefully the team pulls it together. I would feel better if we had had a true bounce back performance. But instead we threw up another clunky win.

I noted a lack of discipline or knowledge of the rules. To give up points on a technical foul for contesting a call. To go one on one and not use the clock when ahead in the final seconds. They don't play like a team at times and I suppose that they really haven't been together long as players so there is some expectation that they will have to overcome their lack of cohesion through athletic ability and sheer basketball talent. They could be beaten along the way but probably will get better the more games they play together.

gep
08-12-2016, 10:26 PM
At the moment, this tourney has a bit of a 2004 feel to it. I think this team is a lot better than that one (it has several of the top 25 players in the world after all). But it just doesn't seem like this team is dialed in. I can't help but wonder about including all three of Butler, George, and DeRozan, as well as the wasted spot taken by Barnes. The first three are just to similar in style, so maybe only Butler and George were needed. And Barnes' spot could have been used for a specialist.

But even still, the team is too talented to have played this poorly in the past two games. Yes, Serbia and Australia have some talent. Yes, we still won. But man, they have looked lethargic out there on defense, and they have lacked any cohesion on offense. It definitely hasn't been a glowing coaching job. We look like an All Star team (just a jumble of talented players that maybe don't work together) and not a team.

Hopefully the team pulls it together. I would feel better if we had had a true bounceback performance. But instead we threw up another clunky win.

I had the same thought throughout the game (except for most of the 1st quarter). It's like they lose interest, lose focus... and definitely bothered by the close, quick, physical defense from their opponents. And KD is clearly not the same as he was in 2010. Melo and Kyrie are doing their best, I think...

jipops
08-12-2016, 10:45 PM
At the moment, this tourney has a bit of a 2004 feel to it. I think this team is a lot better than that one (it has several of the top 25 players in the world after all). But it just doesn't seem like this team is dialed in. I can't help but wonder about including all three of Butler, George, and DeRozan, as well as the wasted spot taken by Barnes. The first three are just to similar in style, so maybe only Butler and George were needed. And Barnes' spot could have been used for a specialist.

But even still, the team is too talented to have played this poorly in the past two games. Yes, Serbia and Australia have some talent. Yes, we still won. But man, they have looked lethargic out there on defense, and they have lacked any cohesion on offense. It definitely hasn't been a glowing coaching job. We look like an All Star team (just a jumble of talented players that maybe don't work together) and not a team.

Hopefully the team pulls it together. I would feel better if we had had a true bounceback performance. But instead we threw up another clunky win.

I also continue to be baffled by the choice to pick up Barnes. Maybe because he was previously on a Select team? But other than that it's even more odd than picking up Mason a few years ago. Seems like this last spot would have been much better served by a pure shooting guard, in the Michael Redd type of mold. A guy like CJ McCollum would have certainly been a nice fit here. And at the risk of coming across as a homer, there is some guy named JJ that can shoot.

BD80
08-12-2016, 11:12 PM
So far, Barnes has played as well as KD. Did Golden State make the right choice?

Actually, all 4 of the Warriors (including Barnes) have played like caca.

The offense has been abysmal, no flow, no passing, no picks. Nada.

Billy Dat
08-12-2016, 11:13 PM
And at the risk of coming across as a homer, there is some guy named JJ that can shoot.

It was either on one of his recent podcasts, or when he was on someone else's podcast, JJ said he got a call from K to feel him out about playing this summer. He told him honestly that a lot of guys would have to drop out for it to happen but that it was within the realm of possibilty. They clearly went for guys who coild guard multiple positions thus Barnes, etc.

g-money
08-13-2016, 02:03 AM
Has there ever been a stronger validation to the adage that 'great teams are much better than the sum of their parts' than what we've witnessed the last two games? It's amazing how close these games have been despite the apparent talent gap. As much as I'd love to see team USA crush everyone, it's impressive to see how effectively a cohesive unit can challenge a team of all-stars.

I think one specific issue for team USA is the lack of a true distributor. No JKidd, no CP3, no Lebron. Kyrie's trying but he's not that type of player. This leads to a lot of stagnation on offense.

Also, the defensive breakdowns have been painful to watch. Many of our defensive sets resemble Georgetown vs. Princeton, 1989.

Coach K has his work cut out for him, but I take comfort in the fact that he's the GOAT. I am optimistic that we will become more cohesive (on both ends) and finish strong as we proceed into the medal round.

Troublemaker
08-13-2016, 02:27 AM
Today's Games (Group B):

Argentina (2-1) -2 vs Brazil (1-2): This game between these two rivals could be AMAZING. Hopefully well-played, but it will definitely be passionate. Argentine fans have traveled well all week in Rio across many events, and so I would expect the arena to be 30-40% pro-Argentina and 60-70% pro-Brazil. That atmosphere of boisterous chanting and counter-chanting will be awesome. And the stakes are high. With Argentina playing Spain next, and Brazil playing Nigeria, it's possible this game will decide who advances or is eliminated in group play between these two teams. For the record, I expect Brazil to pull off a mini-upset here. I think as this competition progresses, Argentina's small and old men will have a tougher and tougher time recovering from playing every other day. Brazil should own them on the boards, and Huertas and Barbosa will make enough plays to win.

Spain (1-2) -3 vs Lithuania (3-0): So, it's clear that the oddsmakers will not over-react to three games. Spain will continue to be favored in every game they play unless they run into USA, I imagine. Purely from a seeding standpoint, Lithuania doesn't have much to play for here. They could lose this game and beat Croatia in their final game and get the 1-seed; ALSO, beating Spain doesn't secure the 1-seed if Lithuania then loses to Croatia. Some European coaches would take this game off and prepare for Croatia, but I don't think Lithuania will do that. I think they relish a chance to put it to their long-time tormentors Spain, including most recently a loss to the Spaniards in the Final of EuroBasket 2015. Lithuania wants to win because that would go a long way towards eliminating Spain or perhaps placing them in the 4 seed to meet USA. I'm going to love watching this game as Spain fights for their lives.

Croatia (2-1) -11 vs Nigeria (0-3): I love the way this Croatian team has been playing; they're well-coached, tough, and together. Right now, they're my pick to finish 1st in Group B, on the strength of their wings. BojBogdanovic, Hezonja, and Saric are very impressive as the 2/3/4, and they have depth there with Babic and Simon as well. Nigeria gave both Spain and Lithuania a game, so Croatia needs to keep their focus here. Shouldn't be a problem, imo -- as I said, well-coached, tough, and together.

gep
08-13-2016, 02:33 AM
Has there ever been a stronger validation to the adage that 'great teams are much better than the sum of their parts' than what we've witnessed the last two games? It's amazing how close these games have been despite the apparent talent gap. As much as I'd love to see team USA crush everyone, it's impressive to see how effectively a cohesive unit can challenge a team of all-stars.

I think one specific issue for team USA is the lack of a true distributor. No JKidd, no CP3, no Lebron. Kyrie's trying but he's not that type of player. This leads to a lot of stagnation on offense.

Also, the defensive breakdowns have been painful to watch. Many of our defensive sets resemble Georgetown vs. Princeton, 1989.

Coach K has his work cut out for him, but I take comfort in the fact that he's the GOAT. I am optimistic that we will become more cohesive (on both ends) and finish strong as we proceed into the medal round.

Unfortunately, the talent gap is only on the offensive side. Defense? Equal or worse... it takes a community (team)

CDu
08-13-2016, 07:19 AM
The weird thing is how poorly we are playing the pick and roll defensively. I get the idea that it is tough to prepare for sophisticated offenses, but the pick and roll is basic. We simply look like a team that isn't well-coached/organized/prepared so far. This is perhaps simply a matter of having less practice time together than other countries (this team has a ton of roster turnover compared with the rest of the world), but it is striking. The coaching will be put to the test over the remainder of the tourney.

subzero02
08-13-2016, 07:56 AM
The weird thing is how poorly we are playing the pick and roll defensively. I get the idea that it is tough to prepare for sophisticated offenses, but the pick and roll is basic. We simply look like a team that isn't well-coached/organized/prepared so far. This is perhaps simply a matter of having less practice time together than other countries (this team has a ton of roster turnover compared with the rest of the world), but it is striking. The coaching will be put to the test over the remainder of the tourney.

We couldn't handle the pick and roll in 2006 against Greece either.

Indoor66
08-13-2016, 08:27 AM
I blame Zika!:mad::p:o:cool:

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
08-13-2016, 09:24 AM
I blame Zika!:mad::p:o:cool:

I blame Zima!

Oh wait, wrong thread.

BD80
08-13-2016, 09:28 AM
I blame Zima!

Oh wait, wrong thread.

Zima can be properly blamed in any thread.

For anything.

Indoor66
08-13-2016, 09:52 AM
Zima can be properly blamed in any thread.

For anything.

What is Zima?

gurufrisbee
08-13-2016, 10:35 AM
I missed the game and had to watch the replay late last night. Serbia moved the ball incredibly well and after the first quarter we played no defense at all - a bad combination since good ball movement will always find the gaps and exploit bad defense.

But the real noticeable problem in last night's game was the complete lack of leadership from any player on the USA. Not just the technicals (but that was a definite big part of it), but the lack of focus and attention and rallying together and stepping up to face the challenge. As a coach for a long time, you have to have players on the court who can do that for your team when adversity hits.

Lebron would never have let that happen. Nor would Kobe. And as much as I hate him and all his overratedness, Jordan never would have either. Heck, Barkley and Pippen would have never. Or Grant Hill or Wade or Chris Paul. I mean Quinn Cook wouldn't let that happen. But this squad has no leaders among it's players. Not even close.

If we don't win the gold that's going to be your #1 reason. When the stuff hit the fan it's going to be five guys looking around for someone to pick them up and kick their butt into action and there isn't anyone there doing it.

devildeac
08-13-2016, 10:40 AM
What is Zima?

I'll leave that one for mattman91 to 'splain...

DukieInBrasil
08-13-2016, 11:41 AM
What is Zima?

Zima is the devil's juice. No, wait, that's overrating it. More like the devil's fermented perspiration?

mattman91
08-13-2016, 12:20 PM
I'll leave that one for mattman91 to 'splain...

I'm not entirely sure what it is, but Weezie has started stockpiling them for my graduation.

devildeac
08-13-2016, 12:33 PM
What is Zima?

Here ya go:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zima_(drink)

I think I had a taste of this many, many years ago :o. Pretty vile stuff from what (little) I remember.

devildeac
08-13-2016, 12:34 PM
I'm not entirely sure what it is, but Weezie has started stockpiling them for my graduation.

I'll speak to weezie about that. She can do better :rolleyes: .

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
08-13-2016, 12:47 PM
I'm not entirely sure what it is, but Weezie has started stockpiling them for my graduation.

A good friend of mine in college drank exclusively Zima. (mumbling) years later, he has a good refined Asheville beer palate and would blush to be recognized for such shenanigans.

Back on topic - is team USA in for nothing but dog fights from here on out, now that they've shown some vulnerabilities and people sense blood in the water?

weezie
08-13-2016, 12:51 PM
I blame Zima!.

Zima is the answer, not the problem.




DinB has unlocked the secret. Don't the smartest and best looking Blue Devil fans hang out here?

[QUOTE=mattman91;904813]I'm not entirely sure what it is, but Weezie has started stockpiling them for my graduation.

Which is your incentive, right?!


JJ throwing up 3's might have helped. All kidding aside, team needs to pick up the intensity. This isn't just a walk in the park. USA is going to take everyone's best shot.

You and Bill Simmons and I agree on this. Plus K would have had a Duke seasoned, true believer on the team.