The U.S. men's national team will be more talented than any country it will face in the upcoming Olympics. But its athletic advantage doesn't always translate into success on offense.
"We are learning how to play with one another," U.S. center Tyson Chandler said after Monday's 80-69 win over Brazil at Verizon Center. "We have some guys passing up shots when they would normally take them. We are over-rotating. We are doing a lot of things now that we will iron out before the Olympics start."
The U.S. shot just 40.8 percent from the floor, including going 6-for-24 (25 percent) from 3-point range, against Brazil.
"We will do a much better job on our shots," U.S. guard Kobe Bryant said. "Our legs were a little heavy and our shots were a little short, but we will get better at it."
The Americans are already in Europe and have three more exhibition games -- including against Great Britain on Thursday in Manchester, England -- to find their touch.
But this roster is not made up of shooters. This is a team compiled of the best isolation players in the world.
One-on-one basketball dominates the NBA game. The NBA Finals showcased the Miami Heat, who often resort to isolating LeBron James or Dwyane Wade in end-of-game situations, and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who averaged the fewest assists per game last season.
During the Olympics, every matchup will be a favorable one for the Americans. But just because they can take their opponent doesn't mean it's in the best interest of Team USA to do so. Monday's 40 percent shooting night shows that being more talented doesn't mean being more effective.
- Jeffrey Tomik