Coach K and Team USA Are Underutilizing Anthony Davis

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 7, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Marcos Mata (L) of  Argentina and Anthony Davis of the United States go to the basket during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match between Argentina and USA on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on August 6, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Mark Ralston - IOPP Pool /Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

If you've watched the end of one of Team USA's Olympic blowouts, then you've seen Anthony Davis come into the game and finish an alley-oop or two before the final buzzer sounds. 

You've probably also wondered why Mike Krzyzewski is underutilizing the big man with the unibrow. 

Ever since he took the college basketball world by storm at Kentucky and secured his spot at the top of the NBA draft, Davis has been compared to a number of NBA players. 

His length and shot-blocking ability have reminded players of Marcus Camby and Kevin Garnett, but his NBA comparison is by no means limited to those two standouts. 

During the Olympics, Davis' comparison seems to be Brian Scalabrine. 

He hasn't entered the game during meaningful situations and has been limited to sparse minutes at the end of games in which the margin is so large that nothing can possibly change it. 

The Unibrow should be playing significantly more than that though for three main reasons. 


Tyson Chandler Hasn't Been Particularly Impressive

The starting center for the Olympic team has been Tyson Chandler, the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year for the New York Knicks. 

However, Chandler hasn't been too impressive, and Krzyzewski has adjusted the lineup accordingly. Choosing to play small-ball more often than not, Team USA has only afforded Chandler 12 minutes of action per game. 

While the team's only true center has been effective on defense in limited doses and has been a great rebounder, averaging 5.2 boards per game, which extrapolates to 15.6 per 36 minutes, his offense has been anything but solid. 

Additionally, his lack of elite mobility has brought the American's athleticism advantage down a few notches on both ends of the court. 

Chandler is a great NBA defender and a valuable stopper in the paint, but he hasn't been very valuable in international competition. 

If he's not going to earn major minutes, some of them should be going to Davis. 


More Defense is Necessary

If there's one area in which the United States has struggled lately, it's defense. 

While the pressure on the opposing guards has been devastating to the opposing team, bad things have happened once the ball has advanced into the interior of the defense. 

Team USA isn't rotating well, penetration is happening with far too much ease, help defense isn't being utilized effectively and more. The opponents' field goal percentages are consistently high and the point totals are as well. 

After allowing 94 points in a nail-biter against Lithuania, the Americans allowed another 97 to Argentina in the final game of the group stage. 

That's why—as good as Kevin Love has been at spreading the court on offense—it's necessary for The Unibrow to get a few more minutes in crucial situations. 

Despite his inexperience, Davis instinctively understands defensive positioning. He may be caught in the wrong spot a few times per game, but everyone else has as well. It's not like that would be a change for the worse. 

Davis brings so much to the table on the defensive end of the court. His unfairly long arms allow him to recover and either block shots or intimidate other players into missing their shots. 

The incoming rookie for the New Orleans Hornets will make up for any negative plays with positive ones. He just needs the opportunity to do so. 


Davis Has Been Effective

The last reason that Davis should be utilized a bit more during the medal round is the obvious one. 

When he's been on the court, the big man has actually been pretty effective. 

Davis is a constant threat to compete an alley-oop or finish a missed shot with a breathtaking follow-up dunk. He's a threat on both boards, whether offensive or defensive, and his defense is more than solid at his young age. 

He's appeared in four of the team's first five games and is averaging 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game in his 11.3 minutes per contest. If we turn those into per-36 minute numbers, he'd have 20.7 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.

That's pretty effective in my book.

Now we just need to see if he could keep up the pace with more action.  


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