Final Report Card Grades for Every US Men's Basketball Player
The United States men completed the American dominance on the basketball court at the 2012 Summer Olympics with a 107-100 victory over Spain. While an undefeated tournament should lead to some very positive player grades, there are a few exceptions for Team USA.
Performance during pool play is important and was certainly weighed in the overall player grades. But the grades also recognize that players will let off some intensity when they are are beating their opponent 119-62.
But the medal round was the key for the U.S., and performances there contributed more toward the overall score.
Following are the final grades for the U.S. men's basketball team at the 2012 London Games.
Anthony Davis: Incomplete
Anthony Davis was a late addition to the U.S. team, and his minutes at the 2012 Olympics reflected that. He played for just 37 seconds in the gold-medal game and didn't take a shot in the 3 minutes and 28 seconds he played in the semifinals.
The youngster will likely have a more active presence on the 2016 Olympic team. But coming in to take a few victory laps between the baskets just wasn't enough to give him a fair grade.
Tyson Chandler: C
Tyson Chandler didn't have a lot of minutes for Team USA either, but that is partly his fault. He is a foul waiting to happen, and trouble led him back to the bench on too many occasions.
The U.S. needed Chandler's size and inside presence, but the 7'1" center just wasn't a consistent performer. He had his moments, against Argentina for example, but he couldn't find a balance between aggressive defense in the paint and committing too many fouls.
The lack of big men on the roster left a lot of pressure on Chandler, but he didn't rise to the occasion.
Andre Iguodala: C+
I can't help but wonder if I'm the only person who kept forgetting that Andre Iguodala was part of the U.S. team. I'd see him on the floor, and it would trigger that yes, he is there, but it was more from seeing his face than seeing him make plays.
It isn't that Iguodala didn't get time to make an impact. He did, playing over 11 minutes in the semifinal game against Argentina. There just wasn't anything memorable about his play.
To be fair, Iggy played well during pool play. But it was largely in garbage time with easy scoring opportunities leading to his 70-plus percent shooting. He wasn't the same player in the medal round.
James Harden: C+
When a player is getting limited time, he needs to make the most of it. James Harden didn't do that for the U.S., particularly in the gold-medal game.
Harden had a pair of trips to the free-throw line in the closing seconds of the final game. He had the opportunity to slam the door on Spain and struggled to do so, hitting just two of four attempts.
Harden was 1-of-3 shooting in the semifinals but did add a blocked shot and some decent defensive play.
Deron Williams: B-
Deron Williams' Olympics were mostly about passing the ball. He didn't take many scoring opportunities but was productive when he did in the medal round. He was 2-of-4 in the final game.
But pool play was less than impressive. He barely shot above 40 percent, including a 4-of-12 performance against Lithuania, and his defense didn't do anything to secure extra minutes in the medal round.
Kevin Love: B
Kevin Love led the Olympics with 61 rebounds. Granted, he had more games than most players to get those, but his 7.6 RPG average had him tied for sixth.
That might not seem that impressive, but he was playing about half as much as the top-four players.
The problem with Love was his defense. It was spotty for much of the tournament and MIA in the final.
Russell Westbrook: B
Russell Westbrook looked great during pool play. He was applying the defense he's known for and working the ball to the basket for highlight-reel dunks. His play took a dip in the medal round.
Westbrook had the opportunity to elevate his play and his final tournament grade, but he did just the opposite in the gold-medal game. He was ineffective in the first half and didn't get called upon to pick up the slack when foul trouble kept LeBron James off the floor in the second.
Westbrook was decent overall but didn't seize opportunities in the medal games.
Chris Paul: A-
Chris Paul didn't always get the attention a few other players on this team did, but he certainly stepped up when he was needed.
The U.S. came out a bit flat when it faced Argentina in the semifinals. Paul stepped up and scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first half.
Paul could be counted on to play good defense and score when needed in the Olympics. But he would also press a bit too much at times, including one attempt against Spain in the gold-medal game when he tried to finish off a fast break even though he was heavily guarded and didn't have help.
The miss led to a fast break for Spain and could have proven costly.
Carmelo Anthony: A-
Carmelo Anthony had moments where he wasn't contributing, but not many. He scored in bunches during the tournament and was absolutely huge against Lithuania.
The problem for Anthony was that he would disappear at times, with his worst stretch coming in the gold-medal game.
Part of that issue was foul trouble, but he was just 2-of-6 on three-point shots in the final.
Kobe Bryant: A-
Kobe Bryant didn't have the Olympic performance he likely imagined for himself. He struggled during pool play and seemed more interested in Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice and every other sport at the 2012 London Games than his own contests.
However, he found his focus when the medal round began and stepped up his play when his team needed him. This was particularly true in the final game against Spain.
Team USA needed Bryant when LeBron James got into foul trouble. He came through, despite a pair of turnovers, scoring 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
Bryant played well throughout the medal round, and these games are given a lot more weight than an 83-point victory. Perhaps he didn't quite look like the best version of the Black Mamba, but he was good enough.
Kevin Durant: A
When a player sets a scoring record for a single Olympics, it is hard to give him anything but the top grade. Kevin Durant passed Spencer Haywood with his 30 points in the gold-medal game.
But poor three-point shooting against Spain does take Durant down a notch. He actually had too many poor shots over the course of the tournament, and his bricks kept the final and the contest against Lithuania closer than they should have been.
Durant had the opportunity to use his athleticism to get into better shooting opportunities but opted for the long jumper too often. Look for a more disciplined performance in Rio.
LeBron James: A+
If all you saw of LeBron James in this tournament was his final quarter of play, you saw all you needed to see. James is simply dominant.
With the U.S. clinging to a slim lead in the final quarter and James in foul trouble, he came back into the game and took over play. He had a brilliant drive and finish followed by sinking a three-pointer and securing the win for the United States.
James was also big in the fourth quarter against Lithuania, and he scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from two-point range in the semifinal match.
There isn't a position on the floor he can't play, and he gave a little bit of everything in the Olympics and the gold-medal game.
Head Coach, Mike Krzyzewski: Z+
I'm not positive what comes before an "A" so I decided to go up to "Z."
The U.S. turned to Mike Krzyzewski following the humiliating experience in Athens, both on and off the court, to help revamp how the United States approaches international play.
This will sting Tar Heel fans and everyone else who hates Duke, but the same discipline and dynamic coaching that has made Duke a collegiate dynasty has been a major factor in the transformation of U.S. basketball.
He even showed spirit and excitement on the side of the court during the final game.
My only complaint is that he doesn't actually get a gold medal. This team had his print all over it, and it excelled because of his leadership.
Coach K announced that he won't be returning to coach the U.S. Team USA will need to find someone that can maintain the excellence he's required and received from the players if the United States is going to build on his 62-1 record as head coach. As John Calipari tweeted:
The job that Mike Krzyzewski has done for seven years is truly amazing.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 12, 2012
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