posted by Georges Eddy 04:15 pm
|Category: FIBA World Championship
It's easy to understand why interest is so low in the states for the FIBA World Championship because the games were on very late at night and media coverage in the US was minimal, for example, espn.com only covered the event in their insider pay portion of the site.
People don't realize that this was the basketball equivalent of soccer's world cup for the rest of the world!
Here's the analysis I would have given coach K after the tournament... if he asked for it!
Team USA needs: an experienced shooter playmaker like Billups, a true back to the bucket danger like Tim Duncan (who would much improve the defence too), a Rodman type defender-rebounder in the Ben Wallace vein, less small ball because without the defensive 3 second rule it's less efficient, and to overhaul defensive strategy adding a 3-2 and 2-3 zone while bagging the naive, plunging for steals, half-court pressure in favor of solidly defending the 3 pt. line and the paint!
There are too many pure scorers-like a football team full of running backs and no blockers-and adding Kobe won't help that logjam.
They do too much of a one on one, dribble and shoot style, as it is!
They need to learn to give up the rock and swing the ball.
For once, the 3 pt. shooters weren't the problem, with Hinrich, Battier and Melo doing the catch and shoot well but the team defence was a catastrophe, which is surprising for a Kryzsewski coached team.
Everyone needs to be a pro and learn the opponents names, prepare, by watching their games, and stay and watch the final like a dignified loser even if you are not in it - a lot can be learned!
USA Basketball must immediately create a US version of France's national basketball academy as David Stern suggested to get the cream of the teenage crop out of sometimes corrupt AAU tournaments and into international ones to learn FIBA ball each summer!
Concerning France, they had the best defence in Japan but I'd like to organize a plan where all the shooters (whose percentages were weak) would be followed during the season if they would agree to make 500 shots in their favorite spots while fatigued and in game rythmn after each practice.
If they fall into a shooting slump, you must consult with them and find simple technical sign posts to help them get their confidence back.
In general, this FIBA World Championship was marked by the wide use of the jump hook, the domination of teams whose players have played together for many years, improving African nations, a slight decline by Argentina (bad year for Manu in game deciding situations), and too many games like in the NBA, which led to Argentina, Greece and Gasol wearing down in the end.
Ironically, Gasol's injury turbo-charged Spain's motivation and torpedoed Greece's concentration in a surprising final!
It was a touching first title for a country that plays a fast exciting style-like the Suns-and represents the best organized pro league in Europe.
Apparently Greece played its final in the semis vs.USA and didn't have enough left to close it out.
I'll conclude by applauding nba.com and fiba.com for excellent and extensive coverage of the event which should help true american fans learn to appreciate international ball!