Get used to seeing Team USA win in this fashion. Defense. Defense. Defense.
Whether he knows it or not, this is the team that will tell us if Jerry Colangelo’s USA Basketball remake is successful.
This team is built upon the National Program mentality (sans leaving Carmelo Anthony off the roster) that Colangelo set out to create when he took over.
In the past, the big name defections would have meant Team USA would’ve been a team of the next best big names. Not so with this team. This is a team not a collection of talent.
Hence, head coach Gregg Popovich, has a team that will need to win with efficient defense especially in the half court.
Team USA displayed that in their 88-67 win over the Czech Republic. The Americans would hold their opponent to 40.6% shooting from the field. “For us, we’ve been talking a lot about defense, and I think that really showed up tonight for us,” said Harrison Barnes.
Team USA scored 22 points off 15 forced turnovers.
That’s something the fans will need to get used to. This isn’t an all-star team. There is no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant out there. How this team played in the first game is what we should see throughout the FIBA World Cup.
Turkey will present problems the Czech Republic didn’t. The Turkish team have a knockdown three point shooter in Ersan Ilyasova to play off fellow NBA player Cedi Osman.
Turkey shot 52.1% from the field including over 60% from 2-point range.
In their dominant 86-67 win over Japan, Turkey displayed a level perimeter athleticism that the Czech Republic different. That means players like Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown will be key on the defensive end of the floor.
It will also be worth watching how much a player like Joe Harris plays. Team USA will have to be just as good as they were today on offense while holding down a more offensively dangerous opponent.
- Team USA had four players score in double digits (Donovan Mitchell, Harrison Barnes, Kemba Walker, and Jayson Tatum).
- Chicago Bulls player, Tomas Satoransky, led the Czech Republic with 17 points and 5 assists.