This Olympics offered everyone the chance to see Michael Phelps’s last swim, Usain Bolt’s last run and Simone Biles take the spotlight. If you’re a basketball junkie then, more importantly, this was the last time we were able to see Pau Gasol compete for the Spanish team and Manu Ginobili compete for the Argentinian team. Two of the greatest international basketball players gave us more moments to enjoy. In Pau’s last game he dominated the physical and pesky Australian team with a strong 31 points and 11 rebounds. Manu left the court wearing the blue and white for the last time after running out of gas to the overpowering USA team.
Everything ended as it should. USA took gold, Serbia silver and Spain bronze. However, the high level of coaching displayed must be documented. In pool play USA was getting embarrassed defensively by the wonderful sets the opposing teams were running. Studying the film, I was drooling from the back cuts, Iverson cuts, elevator screens, brush screens and ball movement. The American game was been heavily reliant on athleticism and talent over the years but the international game is catching up. How? By executing consistently moving and intrinsic plays to counter the athletic style the USA brings.
Using post players that can shoot from distance and pass the ball as well as guard it allows the floor to open up. The post players were incredible at setting screen after screen after screen. They effortlessly fade, roll or pop to the open areas of the floor. The beauty behind these post players is that they are also very physical in the post. When you combine high IQ, skill and physicality in a post player, you end up with very talented post player. Lets not forget the great passing ability of the guards and understanding of spacing that allows them to drag the defense to create open gaps. Australia bothered USA in pool play by spacing the floor and consistently running defenders through screens.
The Olympic basketball tournament was a friendly reminder that the ball moves faster than anything else on the court.
Below are PDFs of plays run during the games: