Two summers ago in London, the United States men’s basketball team ran away from the field on its way to an Olympic gold medal, winning each of its eight games by an average of 32.1 points per game. A key statistical factor in the international showcase was the U.S. team’s ability to punish opposing defenses from long range.
As Olympic head coach Mike Krzyzewski pointed out Monday morning on a teleconference, his team attempted more 3-pointers, made more 3-pointers and boasted the highest shooting percentage from distance — by a wide margin (44 percent) — than any other country in the competition. That will be the same philosophy for Krzyzewski and Team USA as it heads into its Las Vegas training camp to begin the preparation process for the 2014 World Cup being held in Spain.
"(The 3-point shot) is incorporated even more than it would be incorporated in the NBA," Krzyzewski said of international basketball, where the 3-point line is located a shorter distance from the basket. "And in the NBA, it’s incorporated quite a bit."
Krzyzewski and national team managing director Jerry Colangelo included plenty of shooting talent when the 19-man roster was announced back in January, including Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver. The Hawks’ 6-foot-7 sharpshooter will be competing with the likes of the other NBA shooting standouts like Bradley Beal (Wizards), Chandler Parsons (Rockets), Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (Warriors).
Colangelo said the roster might not be narrowed down to 12 players until the team departs for Spain after completing its exhibition schedule in Chicago and New York City.
In discussing Korver, Krzyzewski likened him to Michael Redd, who filled a 3-point specialist role for Team USA during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"Kyle, first all, is a veteran team player and he is a specialist in being one of the outstanding shooters in the NBA. He will be looked at in that role," Krzyzewski said. " … He is a really good player and an outstanding shooter so we’ll look at him in that regard."
In one of his best professional seasons, Korver flourished in coach Mike Budenholzer’s offense, averaging 12 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 47.2 percent from 3-point range, the best mark in the league. The 32-year-old also accounted for 5.9 win shares, the third-best mark of his NBA career.