Team USA Missing Howard’s Presence?
Through their first three exhibitions, Team USA hasn’t been challenged. As a result, they haven’t had to look at their weaknesses. As a result, they haven’t had to look at the players missing due to injury. As a result, they havent realized how much they miss Dwight Howard.
Yes, even here in international competition he isn’t even playing in, Dwight Howard is the story. Tyson Chandler was huge for Team USA, as his defense at the rim allowed the perimeter defenders to extend further to defend Argentina’s endless barrage of threes. Chandler was +24 in just 13:25 of play.
But with Howard out after back surgery, Team USA is forced into playing small ball, and the dropoff defensively is obvious. They need another shot blocker, and with Anthony Davis not yet ready in Coach K’s mind, the U.S. is without options.
Howard’s style of play is often a bad fit for international competition, but his sheer size and mobility is of benefit against teams like Argentina who used the pick and roll to spring their shooters. Some of the shots Argentina hit were indefensible (NBA-er Carlos Delfino nailed several contested step-back threes, not much you can do on that end), but you’d rather live with those than allowing the offense to spring itself and get Team USA having to rotate constantly. The lack of a center beyond Chandler does that.