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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Carmelo Anthony Selected to All-World Championship Team

Spain's Pau Gasol has been selected as FIBA World Championship MVP despite suffering a broken left foot that forced him to miss Spain's 70-47 gold medal game victory over Greece. He is joined on the All-World Championship Team by Team USA's Carmelo Anthony, Spain's Jorge Garbajosa, Argentina's Manu Ginobili and Greece's Theo Papaloukas (known to Team USA as "#4"). The team was selected by a panel of 16 journalists consisting of one writer from each of the countries that made it to the eighth-finals round.

Anthony led Team USA in scoring (19.9 ppg), ranking sixth in the tournament and narrowly edging Dwyane Wade (19.3 ppg). The only American to average more points per game in World Championship play is Luther "Ticky" Burden (20.2 ppg in 1974). Anthony shot .504 from the field and .440 from three point range but inexplicably only connected at a .630 rate on his free throws.

Although Anthony made a substantial contribution offensively, I pointed out in my recap of Team USA's loss to Greece that his defense was less than stellar: "Also, this may sound like sacrilege considering all the points that he scored and the big shots that he made, but Carmelo Anthony gives up a lot at the other end of the court. Yes, he gets steals, but he also gets out of position often, leaving his man open, which leads to an eventual breakdown of the defense."

There is a lively discussion about Team USA going on at APBR Metrics. This is what Dan Rosenbaum wrote after watching Greece beat Team USA:

"The one player who I found myself most often rewinding and saying 'what the hell was he doing?' was Carmelo Anthony. Most of the time he was away from the play and managed to simultaneously not guard his man and not help either. I have not watched the other games this closely, but after watching this game I would have a very hard time making a case for Anthony being our MVP."

Anthony tied with Chris Paul for the team lead in steals (17 in nine games) but both players were also burned many times when their forays into the passing lanes came up empty, breaking down Team USA's defense. LeBron James edged Dwight Howard for the team lead in rebounds (4.8 rpg to 4.7 rpg) and finished second in assists (4.1 apg) to Paul (4.9 apg).

Team USA ranked first in scoring (103.6 ppg, exactly 15 ppg better than Spain), first in field goal percentage (.506), second in point differential (20.4 ppg compared to Spain's 22.0 ppg) but only 16th (out of 24 teams) in points allowed (83.1 ppg), 16th in defensive field goal percentage (.462) and 13th in three point field goal percentage allowed (.349)--take out the numbers from Team USA's blowout wins over Australia and Senegal and the resulting three point field goal percentage allowed goes up to .378, which would rank 21st. Many pundits will not allow these inconvenient numbers to get in the way of their version of events, which is that Team USA needs more shooters. No, what Team USA needs is better scouting of the opponents and more preparation time, which would enable the coaching staff to devise effective defensive game plans and give the players a chance to practice executing them.

The complete statistics for the FIBA World Championships can be found here. China's Yao Ming ranked first in scoring (25.3 ppg), Richard Lugo of Venezuela won the rebounding title 11.4 rpg) and Argentina's Juan Sanchez led the tournament in assists (5.8 apg).

posted by David Friedman @ 3:29 AM



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