Thursday, September 01, 2011

FIBA Analysis (8/31): Serbia-Italy, Brazil-Canada

Some observations of August 31st FIBA action.

(EuroBasket) SERBIA 80, ITALY 68:

- Recent Timberwolves draftee Milan Macvan made a killing (14 pts on 6-of-7 & 8 rebs) moving to the open spots. Made three short jumpers off of timely flash cuts just underneath the foul line. Filled the lane nicely for an easy transition score. How do you say "Johnny-on-the-spot" in Serbian? Macvan's b-ball IQ has always been his strength, helps him make up for poor physical tools.

- Milenko Tepic, not known as a scorer or shooter, came up big with 15 pts, and 3-of-4 on 3PA. Had four assists including a sweet slingshot bounce pass across lane to a cutting Macvan. Also got a dunk off a nice backdoor play.

- Milos Teodosic's playmaking brilliance helped Serbia grab control of the game early in the 4th after Italy closed the gap in the 3rd. Like he has for the last two years, generates so many points for Serbia (15 pts, 8 assts). Drilled his jumpers with his patented quick release, hit a few leaners, had a bucket off a nice baseline spin move on an extended post and found the open man. He's so good at waiting for better passing angles to develop. He will hold up his dribble or back his dribble out to wait for angles to develop.

- Serbia was switching everything and their bigs held up well on Italy's perimeter players. Nenad Krstic tends to be a solid all-around defender in FIBA ball.

- Andrea Bargnani didn't start the game for some reason, but did some nice things for Italy: 22 pts on 8-of-15. Made some scores out of extended post-ups. Made a nice move on a paint post-up where he shoulder-faked into a lay-in. Maybe most important of all, he grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots. Two things Italy desperately needs from him.

- Danilo Galinari helped Bargnani with 15 points off of jumpers and some attacks to the basket, though it looked like Gallo tweaked a knee or ankle. Tough to recover fully with the relentless FIBA schedule.

- Marco Belinelli (2-for-11 shooting) forced up multiple shots with hands in his face. Doubt that is terribly surprising to anyone reading this.

- Former USC PG Dan Hackett caused some problems with his penetration. Finished through contact well. Used a quick crossover to go opposite a ball screen and slashed to the rim. Driving and finishing is his strength. Think Italy needs to encourage Dan to penetrate more. Should try a little bit more drive-n-kick action with the shooters they have.

- Commend Italy on a solid effort on the defensive end. Don't have the most naturally gifted defenders, but Coach Pianigiani does get decent effort. His Siena teams are successful because of an active defense. You wish he had more big bodies at his disposal.

- Italy only shot 2-for-17 from long range. They're better than those numbers. Can't afford to shoot like that vs. Germany.

- Italy's zone was effective for stretches, especially the latter half of the 3rd which allowed Italy to get back into the game.

- Italy definitely should run some zone vs. Germany. Try to neutralize Germany's interior prowess and collapse around Dirk. However, have to be judicious with how often they run zone as Germany has multiple shooters.

- Italy didn't totally get owned on the boards (-5), which is encouraging. They're going to have to give the same effort vs. Germany to keep the rebounding battle in a reasonable margin. Germany has four 7-footers who all board well.

(FIBA Americas) BRAZIL 69, CANADA 57:

- Good lord, this game was tough to take in. The offensive play was brutal for most of the game. Thankfully, Brazil/FC Barcelona PG Marcelo Huertas provided some semblance of offensive creativity to the mix.

- Huertas (17 pts on 8-for-12, 6 assts & 5 rebs) saved the day for Brazil. It seemed Coach Magnano was trying to make things hard for his squad for most of the game, instead of making the easy decision to let Huertas control the ball.

Magnano finally put the ball back in Marcelo's hands in the 4th quarter. Huertas single-handedly sparked Brazil to a 14-0 run that sealed the game. In a five-minute stretch in the 4th, Huertas was responsible for all 14 points: he made four baskets for eight points and assisted on three 2pt. baskets. Huertas' probing led to buckets for his teammates or allowed him to unleash his trusty floater a few times.

Should be a steady diet of Huertas running pick-n-rolls, preferably with Splitter, from here on out for Brazil. Exhaust it. Huertas has taken his game to the next level over the last few years and he's one of the best points outside the NBA. We're big fans and believe he can be a quality rotation player in the NBA. He has the speed and size (6-3) to translate his game over.

- Tiago Splitter had a rough outing--had trouble converting from the field (2-of-9) and the FT line (1-of-5). His dodgy touch is the one thing that holds him back from being a truly special player. He should be Chip Engelland's number-one project.

- No surprise Canada's offense was inept. There has been no one on the roster since Steve Nash retired who can create offense. No one can dribble penetrate and the bigs have very limited post-up ability. No one needs to be double-teamed. So the defense doesn't get stretched apart. When you can't draw extra defensive help on any type of offensive action on the pro level, you are in trouble.

- I know there's not much Leo Rautins can do to coax scoring out of his team, but thought there was too much post-up action today. The one positive for the Canadian offense is guys who can hit perimeter jumpers. The point guards can't dribble-penetrate so drive-n-kick to set up spot-shooters is out of the question.

Canada needs to focus on setting up guys curling off screens. Andy Rautins and Carl English are good catching-n-shooting off screens. Milk this action. If the shooters get hot, an extra defender might have to jump the screens, opening up cutting angles.

Leo has added more off-ball screening over the last few years, knowing his team can't do much off of ball screens. Canada probably runs the least amount of pick-n-roll of any FIBA team. Leo needs to focus on getting his shooters free, instead of post-ups that likely won't go anywhere.

- Just hold on, Canadian fans, your offensive woes should be remedied in about 3-4 years. You've got some young studs in the pipeline (Tristan Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Myck Kabongo, Anthony Bennett, Khem Birch) who can lead you to the upper echelon of FIBA basketball.


At 8:35 AM, Anonymous jollyrogerwilco said...

Tiago has been at or near the top of Chip Engelland's to-do list ever since he finally made it to San Antonio. The problem is that Chip won't overhaul anyone's shot during the season and Tiago lost the last off-season with a leg injury, and this one to the lockout.

Watching Chip work with Splitter before every game was one of my favorite things to do at Spurs' home games last year, and it was obvious that Tiago was committed and paying attention, but retooling on the fly is difficult and I'm not optimistic about Splitter having a breakout season in Texas whenever the lockout finally does end.

At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Canada and a big fan of international basketball. Love the site.

At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man it is painful to wait for the crop of Canadian youngsters. The Canadian team has been awful to watch for years now. You are right about Wiggins, Bennett, Kabongo, Birch and TT. Their are a good number of other youngsters along with some solid NCAA'ers that will mature in the next couple years (Kyle Wiltjer, Dwight Powell, Kris Joseph, Andrew Nicholson, Rob Sacre). Most I hope will be in the NBA in the next couple years. Hopefully Basketball Canada gets rid of Leo Rautins (terribad choice) by next year finds a decent coach and we give the reigns to the kids.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Simeon K said...

canada should have just got kabongo on this national team. then he could have persuaded tristan thompson to play...and if those 3 were there maybe nash would help out some more

At 7:19 PM, Blogger jay aych said...

Great info, Jolly. Interesting Chip won't change shot during the season. Makes some sense--you could really mess with a guy's mind if he starts over-thinking his shot-mechanics.

The tough thing, Tiago is always playing for Brazil.

Andrew Wiggins can be special. Agree, Kabongo should have been on this team.

At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simeon - Kabongo was invited. Along with Sacre and TT. The guys entering freshmen year (like Kabongo) will never play for the Nat team. They need to take classes and start working with their NCAA team. The seniors who are likely to get drafted wont play cause they dont want to risk injury and realize their senior yet is pretty darn important. TT? Now he should be there.

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Simeon K said...

@anon I wish canadians would take on more of a euro mentality to their NT. There were a few incoming freshman who played in the U19 worlds who skipped summer classes/working with their ncaa team.

why did TT skip on out on this team? he definitely needs more experience to justify that lofty 4th pick status...

whats up with matt bonner not getting his citizenship on time? ibaka got it so quick with spain.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger john marzan said...

milan macvan looks like kevin love and probably as strong, but macvan has the better inside scoring game.

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