Why Team USA will be just fine
And: free agency and contenders for the 2022 title
BY DAVID THORPE
Team USA plays Spain just after midnight tonight—so technically Tuesday—at 12:40 a.m. Eastern Time, in the knockout round of the Olympics. The U.S. beat Spain a few weeks ago in a warm up game in Las Vegas.
It’s a little hard to know what to make of this American team. They stumbled out of the gate with a loss to France, but dominated against Iran and the Czech Republic, and are now the betting favorites to win gold.
After watching every second of their Olympic play, I think this team is excellent, and they can get even better.
What went wrong?
Against France, two bad things happened together:
1. The team shot poorly, making just 15 of their 37 shots inside the 3-point line and 10 of 32 outside of it. We can credit Rudy Gobert’s presence for some of those missed shots in the paint, but not those 3s.
2. The USA isn’t nearly as big or physical as the French team, and stuck with a defensive strategy of switching screens. France made 21 of 35 shots, many right around the rim, …