By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
SHENZHEN – Despite a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds, USA did an excellent job against Giannis Antetokounmpo in the win against Greece.
The Greek Freak, however, didn’t register not even one assist. This was a result of his teammates’ poor shooting but also of the defense, which can be easier against him in FIBA competitions. With no illegal defense rule and no defensive three seconds violation, teams can have many bodies on the paint. When Giannis got the ball on his hands, he was facing a zone of two or three players who blocked his path and his passing lanes.
So is it easier to contain him with FIBA rules? “Yes, I would agree with that,” said coach Gregg Popovich in the press conference after the game, even if he didn’t want to elaborate on the subject of the rules. He did say earlier on Giannis: “Everything is always a compilation of experiences. Obviously, we’ve seen him play and [Giannis Antetokounmpo] is a great player. They shoot the ball well, and they penetrate and attack close-outs, and post-up well, and he’s obviously a force. It’s a little bit of everything. Overall, we did a good job being active and trying to be as active as we can defensively as we can, and I thought we did a great job”.
After all, speaking about the future of the sport and rules, Popovich once more expressed his disdain for three-point shooting. “Three-pointers are worthless, but people like them and in the end, this will end up being a circus, the rules will change, and we will have a four-pointer or a five-pointers, and unfortunately you have to join in”, he explained and added, “I think that this takes away from the purity of the game, the passing and the flow of it. You can easily find a guy who can drive with the ball and then kick it out, but ball movement is something different”.
Photo credit: FIBA.Basketball