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Wrapping up Klay and Team USA

You might remember that I said I was going to write a preview of the USA/Greece gold medal game before it tipped off late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. Well, I never really got a chance to write it, but I did spend a ridiculous amount of time Saturday morning compiling all kinds of stats on Team USA, Klay Thompson and Greece.

If you're interested in checking them out, you can view them here, published through Google Docs. There are multiple pages in the document, and the links for each different page are at the top of the screen. It's not formatted pretty because it wasn't really intended for anyone other than me, but you might find it interesting. (If you have no idea what those different stats are, read here.)

Quick things that jumped out at me:

  • This team just got better and better as the tournament went on. Their offensive numbers were great during the preliminary round (110.5 efficiency) but got even better during the medal round against much better competition -- 118.0 efficiency. Their defensive numbers got a little worse, but that's to be expected given the step up in opposition. Yet, they held the Greeks to just 95.1 efficiency after they had posted a 117.4 mark in the quarters and semis.
  • How did the Americans get better offensively? By changing their game. Early in the tournament, they bombed away early and often from long range. But as the tournament wore on, they started being more aggressive to the hoop, presumably taking advantage of both their opponents' scouting reports -- which undoubtedly told them to close out hard on shooters -- and their fresher legs. The Americans' free throw rate shot up from 25.1 in the prelims to 42.9 in the medal tournament. This team was filled with smart players who obviously were both savvy and receptive to coaching. Outstanding. I just wish I could have watched it.
  • Klay was awesome. His shooting was exceptional, which isn't wholly unexpected when you're a great shooter who gets lots of open looks thanks to penetration from talented teammates, but it's his reboudning that ought to have you excited. If his rebounding rate numbers come anywhere close this year to what he posted in this tournament, we are going to have a legitimate Pac-10 player of the year candidate on our hands.

I'm interested in your thoughts. Take a look and tell me what you see.