Some time ago, before WC, I had discussion, when I thought, that team USA gonna face some serious problems in WC and may even be left out from final game. I got angry response, that NBA is the strongest league in the world, coach K is best coach in the world, US post players are very physical as NBA is most physical league in the world etc.
I consider myself a huge fan of United States basketball, especially NCAA, although I am a european. Now we have seen some games. And here´s what I think:
1. As I (and many others) thought - US has serious trouble inside against better and taller teams - both on defensive and offensive side. Actually defensively everything is logical - Some of the teams have much taller frontline - and they benefit from it really well. Tiago Splitter was real pain in the Lamar´s arse, as he shot easily over his hands. That requires a need to play more physically, and that will fulfill e personal fouls line. That has beed considered and so far there is no problem with that, as Chandler and Love have´nt got to play because of foul trouble, not because coach sends them on the court
But real problem lies in the offencive side. US Does not get sufficient amount of points from the paint, and guards even does´nt feed frontline very much anymore. Good teams pack up the paint really well and US post players dont have a space.
That makes a game A) slower, at a halfcourt offence, which is exactly, what US does not want. B) Guards somewhat does not have a main idea, what to do. Simply moving the ball and run off the screens is not enough, because european man-to-man helping defence works well, paint remains packed, even if screens cause positional mismatches. That cuts out the possibilites to dribble in and also causes a turnovers from post players, when they do not succeed not score. Moving the ball without clear idea lets opponents rest and US players athtleticism does not gve them an edge. Also that will limit an edge of the deeper bench, US has.
In my mind, coach K was overcoached first time against Brazil. Then the lack of clear and simple game plan at the offence appeared. I´m afraid, that strongest teams made their conclusions and that may very well be an issue again - against Greece, Serbia, Spain, Turkey. But these teams have even better discipline than Brazil. What will be the offensive move from coach K to get solid amount open looks from where they want, nt from where opponents want - behind the 3 point line and over the defenders hands or off the dribble.
The main plan - defend aggressively the ball and point guards especially, to force opponent guards make mistakes, get many fast breaks, cut down the passes to the paint and simply shut them down when they become tired, has worked only partly. US has been able to defend the ball, so opponents back guard does not have opportunities to score. US has got pretty good amount of fast breaks. But US has not been able to cut down the passes to the paint, also the amount of opponent turnovers is not so high, that u can count on it as a offencive game plan - opponent guards have been able to bring the ball to the offensive side quit well and have not been turn the ball over too much.
It becomes clear, that to win ths championship, team USA has to have a better plan on the offensive side. Or should I say, a plan. If they get there, they gonna win. If they don´t, they gonna loose
My mistake, watched the schedule - all strong european teams are in other half of the table. So team USA probably going to meet Russia after Angola, which should be two easy wins. Then Argentina or Lithuania or Brazil, all of them should be beatable - so US will make the finals 95%