USA Basketball 97, Angola 76: Grading the Redeem Team

Tim CarySenior Analyst IAugust 12, 2008

The United States men's basketball team cruised to its second Olympic wins in as many tries with a 97-76 defeat of Angola on Tuesday. 

Here's an in-depth look at how each player for the red, white, and blue performed in the contest.


#5 JASON KIDD:             B

Kidd was on the floor for less than 15 minutes in the contest, and did not attempt a field goal for the second straight game. 

His job is to keep the starting unit clicking offensively, and the team's scoring consistency was not a problem.  Three assists is a little low, but Kidd was solid overall. 

He needs to be willing to take the open three to keep the defense honest— otherwise, they'll sag even farther off him and clog up valuable passing lanes.

#6 LEBRON JAMES:          A-

LeBron posted team-high five assists and three steals in today's game, and generally provided a lot of energy for the American squad.

His Achilles heel still is at the free throw line: the good news is he's consistently attacking the rim, but the bad news is his 38 percent shooting at the charity stripe when he gets there.

#10 KOBE BRYANT:           C

Kobe has embraced his role as the team's defensive stopper, but his offense has been anything but sparkling as a result.

The reigning NBA MVP shot a dismal 0-8 from the three-point line, making him 1-15 for the tournament so far.

Bryant is known as a volume shooter, and the style of the USA's half-court offense obviously doesn't lend itself to Kobe getting in a groove.

Bryant needs to do a better job selecting which shots to take in games like this one, with the understanding that at some point in the Games, he'll have the chance to bail out the team's stagnant offense against a tough opponent with more field goal attempts.

#11 DWIGHT HOWARD:         B+

Howard has been one of Team USA's most consistent scorers, mostly because all the talented guards are looking for him in the paint.

His field goal percentage is always through the roof, since nearly every shot attempt is a poster-worthy dunk.

Today's pleasant surprise was a legitimate post move and lay-up on the block— often, the Americans' post game is virtually non-existent because of the international trapezoid lane.

Howard's grade would be higher if he made more free throws and snared a few extra rebounds.  As the team's tallest member at 6'11”, he needs to average more than 2.5 boards a contest.

#15 CARMELO ANTHONY:         A-

Melo looked much more comfortable in Tuesday's outing than he has in weeks.

Anthony has been one of the Redeem Team's better international players over the past three years, so his poor showing against China was one of the few concerns for the Americans.

Today, Anthony hit open shots, and also led his undersized squad with six rebounds.


#4 CARLOS BOOZER:             C

Boozer got a few extra minutes in this game, but didn't make a lot of impact on the box score: two turnovers, two points.

His size is a great asset for a team that lacks frontcourt depth, and he was at least willing to throw his weight around.

#7 DERON WILLIAMS:            A-

D-Will actually led the team in minutes played against Angola, and rewarded Coach K with seven points and four assists.

The coaching staff has done a good job inserting young guards Paul and Williams off the bench when extra energy is needed, and the players have responded admirably.

#8 MICHAEL REDD:                C-

This one's simple: Redd's job for Team USA is to hit open three-pointers. He didn't. 

#9 DWYANE WADE:               A+

Wade had been the best player for the Americans off the bench in exhibition play, and he's carried it over to Beijing.

Flash led the team with 19 points and added five rebounds for good measure.

He's shot 13-15 from the floor in the tournament so far, and as a result, Team USA actually picks up a little scoring punch when they go to their bench.

Coach K may be faced with a decision of whether to keep his star sixth man a sixth man for the next few weeks.

#12 CHRIS BOSH:                  B+

Bosh has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Redeem Team so far, and when he comes in for Dwight Howard, he's providing exactly what he's supposed to.

You won't see Team USA play any twin-tower looks, but it's been hard to tell when Howard leaves and Bosh enters.

Chris Bosh has only missed one shot in the first two games, and he's lived up to his end of the other requirements for USA post players.

#13 CHRIS PAUL:                   A-

See "Williams, Deron.”

Going into the Games, it was clear that Kidd wouldn't be playing a ton of minutes, and the other two point guards have done their jobs well.

We're seeing more and more of a Paul/Williams combo, and Team USA has reaped the benefits.

Paul had six points, four rebounds, and along with D-Will, got into the lane whenever he wanted. 

Team USA has gotten great looks all tournament and the playmakers should get the credit.

#14 TAYSHAUN PRINCE:           B+

Prince is here for his defense and he's done a fine job.

He's probably the 12th man on the roster, and his playing time will reflect that, but he got 14 minutes today in a game where the USA wasn't really challenged, and he finished with seven points. 

Final Thoughts

Consistency is critical for the Redeem Team, and Coach K has done a good job keeping them focused so far.

As the TV commentators pointed out, this team hasn't worried about getting a knockout punch in early.

Top to bottom, their roster is better than the other teams in the field, and wearing opponents down with quarters like 29-18, 26-19, and 26-16 is just fine with the USA coaching staff.

It will be interesting to see if this team can maintain that focus through a long preliminary schedule and into the single-elimination tournament.


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