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Team USA Basketball 2012: Americans Must Give Up 3-Point Plan and Attack Rim

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 12:  (L-R)  Carmelo Anthony #15,  Kobe Bryant #10, Kevin Durant #5, LeBron James #6, and Chris Paul #13 of the US Men's Senior National Team watch the action during a pre-Olympic exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at Thomas & Mack Center on July 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The United States won the game 113-59.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images
Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2012

With Team USA's basketball team loaded to the brim with a gaggle of the world's top basketball players, there should be a never-ending stream of offensive possibilities for the U.S. Olympians.

Unfortunately, one look at the American roster shows that's not the case.

With massive deficiencies in the middle, most of the team's points in the paint come in transition or from isolation drives.

Wiith inconsistent outside shooters other than Kevin Durant and Kevin Love, you would think the team would abandon the outside shot and focus on its biggest strength: attacking the rim.

Well, according to the boxscore from Team USA's first two games, you would be wrong.

So far, the U.S. national team has taken a whopping 50 three-point shots—over a third of its total team shots and two more than their opposition.

With France and Tunisia jacking up threes in a feeble attempt to get back into games, those numbers look a little less lopsided than they actually are.

Team USA falling in love with the three is understandable, though. FIBA's three-point line is just over 22-feet away from the basket, which is over a foot and a half shorter than the NBA's 23-foot, 9-inch measurement.

For those who have never played basketball, that difference may not seem like much. But for these NBA veterans, it feels like a world of difference.

Not that the shortened three has helped Team USA's percentage or anything. The team has hit just 36.0 percent of its three-pointers so far—a steep decline from their 60.8 dominance from inside 22 feet.

If Team USA wants to continue its string of 20-plus-point victories against elite competition, the team needs to stop gunning inefficient three-pointers and use those offensive opportunities to drive to the basket.

LeBron, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul are three of the five best isolation drivers in the world, and they would thrive when Team USA's offensive set breaks down.

Durant, the American's leading scorer so far, isn't on that trio's level in isolation. But his outside shooting prowess makes defenders close out too quickly, allowing Durant to blow past the opposition into the painted area.

If Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski makes those four players the focal point of the American attack and makes a consistent commitment to attacking the rim, not even Spain can hold a candle to the world's best team.

But if the coaching staff sits back while the U.S. roster continues to jack up ill-advised three pointers, the team could become vulnerable to a massive Olympic upset.

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