Breaking Down Team USA's Gaudy Production

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Breaking Down Team USA's Gaudy Production
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The beauty of Team USA is a tremendous depth that borders on excess. Each and every player on the roster would be a crucial contributor for any other national team in the field, and yet Mike Krzyzewski has the luxury of picking and choosing between stars to create some incredible combinations and overwhelm opponents with wave after wave of elite-level play.

The basketball balance may not always be perfect, but the balance in production has certainly been thus far. Even if the statistical sum totals aren't always as impressive as the numbers we've come to expect from seeing such elite players operate on their respective NBA teams, the confluence of talent in London hasn't been as disruptive to overall productivity as a glance at the box score may have you believe.

The mitigating factor—far more so than deference or over-passing—is playing time. Once we account for that aspect of Team USA's performance, the impressive stat lines that are a staple of NBA play begin to take shape, and the contextual output of the world's finest comes into view.

 

The Jacks of All Trades

LeBron James: 18.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 2.6 steals per 36 minutes

James has played a fairly subdued role for much of the Olympic tournament thus far, but consistent playmaking, strong perimeter defense and bursts of scoring give him one of the most balanced (and efficient) statistical profiles on Team USA.

 

Kevin Durant: 28.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.7 steals per 36 minutes

Much was made of the idea that KD was the designated scorer for Team USA, but he's done a tremendous job of making the extra pass, hitting the glass consistently and pouring in points whenever possible. I shudder to imagine what he'd be capable of if Team USA were to steady its offensive flow.

 

Andre Iguodala: 14.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.4 steals per 36 minutes

Iguodala has been one of the best all-around players for Team USA thus far, largely due to his defense and hustle rebounding. Having a wing player chase down out-of-position boards is a huge help on a team that so often elects to go small, making it no surprise that the Americans have been tremendously effective whenever Iguodala happens to be on the floor.

He creates turnovers, navigates chaotic situations to be the first to the ball and facilitates the flow of the offense in both half-court and open-court situations.

 

The Scorers

Carmelo Anthony: 39.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per 36 minutes

Anthony's ridiculous efficiency in the preliminary game against Nigeria inflates his scoring average a bit, but he's nonetheless been one of Team USA's more committed point-scorers.

The rebounding, too, is a nice touch. Anthony averaged 3.7 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes in group play by staying active after his own misses down low, and he did some nice work boxing out his man and drawing over-the-back fouls on the defensive end.

 

Kobe Bryant: 23.2 points and 2.0 steals per 36 minutes

It says quite a bit about Team USA's awesome efficiency that Bryant has been among the team's worst players and still scored at a rate of over 23 points per 36. The fact that he's only converted 38.9 percent of his field goals (and averaged 2.5 turnovers per 36) to date is a pretty substantial blemish (particularly relative to how well virtually every other Team USA player has shot from the field thus far), but Bryant's role and Team USA's pace have facilitated in boosting his scoring total—even if he hasn't done all that much good for the team's margin.

 

Russell Westbrook: 23.1 points, 5.3 assists and 2.7 steals per 36 minutes

Westbrook has come on strong over the final half of Team USA's group play schedule and finally found a comfortable zone as both scorer and playmaker.

He's definitely more commonly used as a slashing threat on this particular roster, and rightfully so. Chris Paul and Deron Williams can set up Westbrook for quick bursts to the basket without forcing him to push his luck by orchestrating the entire offense, thereby enabling Westbrook to be a pretty tremendous weapon.

 

James Harden: 18.3 points, 2.9 assists and 1.7 steals per 36 minutes

Harden has underwhelmed in the Olympics to date, largely because he's being used as a spot-up shooter and converting just 28.6 percent of his looks from beyond the arc.

Perhaps the shorter three-point line has thrown Harden off of his standstill rhythm, but we may never know—Harden has played the third-fewest minutes of all the players on Team USA's roster, and with elimination games forthcoming, there may be even fewer opportunities for Harden to get some burn and work out the kinks in his jumper.

 

The Distributors

Deron Williams: 16.4 points and 11.0 assists per 36 minutes

Williams hasn't played very well overall (he's converted just 41.7 percent of his shot attempts from the field, many of which have come on difficult two-point tries), but he is Team USA's most statistically accomplished playmaker in Olympic play thus far.

Some of that comes by virtue of the fact that Williams enters the game when opponents are already worn down a bit and forced to rely on less capable reserve defenders, but Williams has done a good job of being aggressive off the bounce and looking to create through dribble-penetration.

 

Chris Paul: 11.4 points, 8.7 assists and 3.3 steals per 36 minutes

It'd be great if Paul—a jaw-dropping shot creator—were looking to score a bit more, but some shooting passivity was to be expected from the best point guard on the planet. Paul has looked to establish Team USA's offense first and foremost, and though the Americans haven't found many half-court play actions that click consistently, Paul has nonetheless been able to find shooters and orchestrate fast breaks with particular efficiency.

 

The Bigs

Kevin Love: 28.5 points and 14.0 rebounds per 36 minutes

It would honestly be difficult for Love to be any more effective an offensive player than he has been. Krzyzewski seems oddly reluctant to play Love for all that many minutes, but the first big off the bench has drained 47 percent of his three-point attempts while working the boards aggressively and doing a perfectly serviceable job as a post defender.

Love can't match some of his teammates in terms of raw star power, but he's surpassed many of them in Olympic effectiveness during Team USA's preliminary run.

 

Tyson Chandler: 12.0 points, 15.6 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.8 steals per 36 minutes

It's a similar story—it's hard to say why Chandler doesn't get more minutes than he does, particularly considering how glaring the plus/minus figures are on the issue of keeping one big on the floor. Chandler and Love have been tremendous assets for Team USA, but meager minute totals have kept both players' statistical production well in check.

A look at Chandler's showing on a per-36-minute basis does well to demonstrate just how effective he's been, though it doesn't negate the fact that foul trouble has been a huge concern for Chandler over the last five games.

 

Anthony Davis: 20.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes

Lobs and garbage time go a long way in putting up these kinds of numbers. It'd be great if we could evaluate Davis based on any workable evidence or data, but he's only seeing the floor when a victory is in hand, making it tricky to understand just how effective he is in a competitive context. This is great fodder for Davis zealots, but otherwise it doesn't do us much good.

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