Is USA Basketball ready for the FIBA World Cup?
With close to a month of preparation under their belts, USA Basketball is gearing up for the FIBA World Cup, which tips off in Spain this weekend. The Americans have had five exhibition games and a handful of practices to tune themselves up prior to the tournament, but how ready are they?
“For the next game, but not for the medal round,” the Duke head coach told reporters following Tuesday’s exhibition match against Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain. “We have to get a lot better before the medal round and Barcelona.”
Where they currently lack cohesion is on offense. Team USA averaged a healthy 103.2 points per contest in four exhibitions against Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Slovenia. However, their assist-to-turnover ratio left much to be desired. They averaged 18.5 assists to 13.3 turnovers per contest in their international tune-up games.
Until they find chemistry on offense, Team USA will have to rely heavily on their effort on the defensive end as they tip off pool play on Saturday. Much like they did during their exhibition schedule, they’ll have to create scoring opportunities with their activity on defense. In four contests, the Americans forced opposing teams to commit an average of 18.3 turnovers per game.
“Until we get a rhythm, we have to play defense and make our defense produce points,” Sacramento Kings veteran Rudy Gay told reporters in Spain on Tuesday.
Quotes from USA Basketball were used to write this story.