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Redemption Doesn't Come In Threes

The so-called Redeem Team has won its first two games by a combined 52 points, but the performances against China and Angola would've been more dominant if the Americans could've only figured out a way to solve that tricky international three-point line. The U.S. is shooting an abysmal 26.6 percent (12-for-45) from beyond the arc in the Olympics, missing 16 of 21 against Angola after missing 17 of 24 against China.

Angola played zone for most of the night, challenging the U.S. to beat it from deep - better yet, 20 feet, 6 inches, which is almost two feet closer than the NBA three-pointer. The Americans tried to step up to the challenge but repeatedly missed good looks.

Fortunately, they haven't found a team that can stop them in dribble penetration and their aggressive, trapping defense has created turnovers and led to easy fastbreak, slam dunk opportunities. But at some point, you have to assume that the U.S. will have to make a few more from long distance - especially if they want to keep taking them.


We missed another one. (REUTERS/Victor Fraile)

"All of these guy can hit shots. But, it's like a real good hitter in baseball, sometimes you don't get hits and all of a sudden, you break out," U.S. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "My feeling is as long as it doesn't interfere with how they are playing defense, their energy, they just have to keep shooting. I don't think we're taking bad shots. I think we're taking shots that these guys can hit, and we still score 100 points. But if we start hitting threes, we are going to be a lot better."

The U.S. has struggled from three-point range in its past three international competitions, primarily because those previous teams didn't have any designated jump shooters. This team has Michael Redd, who is expected to fill the role as this team's Chris Mullin, Reggie Miller or Ray Allen - the respective primary outside threats for the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic gold medal-winning teams.

So far, Redd just 3-for-9 from three-point range - and he leads the team in three-pointers made. He isn't close to being the leader in the attempts. That belongs to Kobe Bryant, who has taken 15 three pointers in the first two games. Guess how many he's made? One.


Keep talking about my three-point shooting, okay. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Maybe Bryant is just doing another Michael Jordan impersonation. Huh, you ask? I went back and looked at the three-point shooting for past Olympic teams and I wanted to see Jordan's three-point percentage. Believe it not, Jordan shot 21.1 percent (4 of 19). That means that Bryant would have to make three of his next four three-point attempts to tie Jordan.

(Another interesting side note about Jordan's performance in Barcelona in 1992. He took a team high 113 shot attempts - 30 more than Charles Barkley, who came in second - and shot 45.1 percent. That was the second-worst field goal percentage of any Dream Teamer. Who was worse? Who else? Christian Laettner, who shot 45 percent.)

Bryant has struggled from long distance since his first three-point attempt against China hit the side of the backboard. "It's been a struggle," Bryant said. "We have to adjust to being spot up shooters. All of us are not acclimated to being spot up shooters. That is something that we have to tweak a little bit and get used to. But when big games come around, they are going to fall."

The U.S. had better hope, especially with Greece on Thursday and Spain on Saturday.

By Michael Lee  |  August 13, 2008; 1:26 PM ET
 
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Comments

"Again? LMAO! I never once stated my displeasure with your "delivery". You must have me mistaken with someone else. No big deal. I have no problem with the way you deliver your reports and editorials.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 1:33 PM "

Yeah, I must have mistaken you for another anonymous person on this blog. You should complain that someone is posting things anonymously like you.


------------------------------------------
""Congrats DC Man, you've proven yourself an id!ot and should not be commenting, let alone opening your yap about players' bidness.

You know when you actually talk about basketball and aren't either attacking everyone on this board who doesn't agree with you or b!tch!ng about Gilbert, you actually have some quality points. But the way you present them makes everyone else not care what you have to say.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 10:47 AM"

If you don't like my delivery, that's your problem, not mine.

I can suggest plenty of bridges or buildings in this area that you could jump off of if it bothers you that much.

BTW, stop initiating/making personal attacks and stick to talking about basketball.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 13, 2008 10:53 AM "

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 13, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Did the US practice with olympics-style courts during their training camp?

Posted by: Bart | August 13, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Team USA won't win gold.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow anonymous....how insightful!

DC Man...is that, or is that not you?

And why is petty bickering brought to this post in the first place?

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | August 13, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Nah, complaining about small stuff like that is largely a waste of time. There's nothing stopping people from posting using my name on here. It doesn't bother me.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 3:45 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

That's a good question, Bart. But since the NBA 3 pt line is further away than the international one, I'm not sure it would have made a difference. In theory, practicing shots from further away than they'll actually have to shoot them in competition should actually help them.

Posted by: kalorama | August 13, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Kobe aint going 1 for his next 15, everyones shot will fall at some point. I dont know how close everyone else has been following Team USA, but Im pumped up for the game against Spain.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Go Wiz!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

It'll be interesting to see how JCN does against the US team, or will Coach K. send Kobe to lock him down like how Kobe locked down Sarunas J.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 13, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

So Bron-Bron will be working with Mo Williams (PG Bucks), by working a 3-team deal where they lose Joe Smith and Damon 'Chicken on a Platter' Jones, which helps their scoring. They've got 3 bigs (Z, Varejao, & Ben Wallace) to clog up the 4 & 5 spots, so they buffered themselves with the loss of Joe Smith. Gotta admit that this doesn't make their team worse, so it's a blow...

http://www.sportsline.com/nba/story/10930743

Posted by: CN | August 13, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Indeed. With JCN, "Ravishing" Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez and the Gasols it should make for a very interesting game.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

You'd think Coach K would be using more of Michael Redd, a prolific outside shooter based on his use of them at Duke. I guess Coach K just hasn't picked up on this, which is a shame, if they lose with few 3's made I'd blame him for not playing Redd enough

Posted by: JDP | August 13, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm expecting Greece, a team with taller and heavier players to really hamper USA's ability to get to the rim. Greece will get rebounds (our offensive/their defensive).
Spain also has tall players, but Gasol won't/can't manhandle our guys.
Greece will make use of every possible legal trick in the book to disrupt USA's fast play. Like substitutions & time outs.

I hope Coach K is not a one trick pony, and I understand he may not be showing all his plays yet. But I am getting nervous with all this "we're not worried, shots will start dropping" stuff. Maybe the team has been watching too much beach volleyball (women's) and getting worked up or playing too much golf and relaxing too much. Who knows :)?

Posted by: rgz | August 13, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The US team sure could use a guy who can drive at will and shoot threes. A PF who can shoot threes wouldn't hurt, either. Hey wait, they had those 2 guys and cut them. GA and AJ would fit in well with the international game.
If we lose, it won't be because our defense isn't stopping people. It will be because we can't score against a zone. No way we lose 100-95. 88-85? Doubtful but maybe.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

This post contains a factual error. Michael is wrong regarding the '02 world championships team when he writes this:

"The U.S. has struggled from three-point range in its past three international competitions, primarily because those previous teams didn't have any designated jump shooters"

The 2002 team had Paul Pierce, Reggie Miller, and Baron Davis. Those 3 guys made 210, 170, and 180 NBA three-pointers, respectively, in the '01-'02 regular season.

Regarding our current team, one thing I worry about is what happens when Dwight Howard gets in foul trouble. Will we be able to defend the post in that situation?

Posted by: Foo Bar | August 13, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

What really is the hype over Michael Redd?

Michael Redd puts up a lot of points, but he also puts up a lot of shots and plays a lot of minutes.

He's a volume guy, kind of like Gilby.

He's not a deadeye shooter...he's a scorer.

If you look at his percentages, they're not all that.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?playerId=692

If you're talking about "prolific" outside threats, you have to talk about somebody like Kapono and Nash before you talk about Redd.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?playerId=2010

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/stats?playerId=592

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 13, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

"The US team sure could use a guy who can drive at will and shoot threes. A PF who can shoot threes wouldn't hurt, either. Hey wait, they had those 2 guys and cut them. GA and AJ would fit in well with the international game.
If we lose, it won't be because our defense isn't stopping people. It will be because we can't score against a zone. No way we lose 100-95. 88-85? Doubtful but maybe.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 6:46 PM "

Huh?

The US Team's focus was to find team players, not a ballhog guard that will bog the team down or a diva that's going to throw a hissy fit for being called out as a ball hog. Nor were they looking for a defensive liability at the 4.

Posted by: DC Man88 | August 13, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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