Team USA is off to a fast and convincing 3-0 start to their FIBA World Cup. Beside one half of basketball against Turkey, the US has rarely shown lapses or weaknesses. Yesterday, the United States picked up another swift victory against New Zealand, 98-71. The game wasn’t much of a test for Team USA, and it was fairly evident that the team's maximum energy and focus were not exerted. But, it wasn’t needed, either. The World Cup upholds to the old cliché of it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Unfortunately, it isn’t all good news for Team USA because over the last two games Derrick Rose has shot 1-10 from the field. His shooting woes couldn’t of been more indicative than after he attempted a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter against New Zealand that went halfway down the basket, then proceeded to rim out. Sometimes, the shots just don’t fall, and they aren’t for Rose right now.
D-Rose has really struggled with his ability to finish around basket. Happened at start of last year. Happening now. 4/18 at World Cup.— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) September 2, 2014
But again, keep in mind that we’re examining Rose on a game-by-game basis, and the reaction is going to be overly reactionary for the good games and the bad games. The best news is probably that the team doesn’t need him to perform on offense, and that his defensive principles have been sharp.
While he’s struggled mightily to finish at the rim, and the jumper isn’t there for Rose, Team USA doesn’t run a standard NBA offense primarily utilizing pick-and-rolls. Rose’s biggest weapon on offense is working the pick-and-roll, and with that not available to him it’s been difficult for Rose to find comfort in attacking, or when to generate ball movement. Perhaps, Team USA assistant and head coach of the Chicago Bulls Tom Thibodeau said it best, “Derrick Rose has to work on his timing.”
This. RT @hoopshype: Thibs: "Derrick Rose has to work on his timing."— Bulls 101 (@Bulls_101) September 2, 2014
On defense however, although there’s been a few occasions where Rose has been beaten off the dribble and his feet have looked slow, his ability to fight over screens in pick-and-roll, and tailgate his man on down-screens and pin-downs have been terrific. A Tom Thibodeau coached player doesn’t lose those principles and technique no matter how much time they’ve missed.
For the remainder of group play, Rose will now face his biggest test, though. Yesterday was the first of back-to-back-to-back games for Team USA, and how Rose’s body holds up and handles that type of rigor and demand will be what we’re watching closely.
The game today is against the Dominican Republic at 2:30 p.m. Central Time on ESPN 2. Team USA faced the Dominican Republic on Aug. 20 in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden and won the contest 105-62.
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