Team USA scrimmaged Friday night, when the Blue team squared off against the White team in a game that ended early due to a horrific injury to Indiana Pacers forward Paul George. Despite the large collection of talented players New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis was the main attraction for us here at Pelican Debrief during his minutes for the Blue team. Davis, with his new look body and ever improving game came ready to play. Below are some thoughts and observations on his play:
- Defensively, Davis showed promise moving around with his usual grace, and athleticism to navigate the floor. Despite his usual antics, and overall great play, Davis at a few points seemed unsure of where he should be on the floor. The most important thing for Davis to sure up on this stage is making the right decision, because we all know that he can make the plays athletically.
- One of Davis’ greatest strengths while on the court tonight was his offensive game in the pick-and-roll. Davis continuously set solid screens when the play called for it, and found the right lanes when cutting to the basket on the roll.
- Davis’ mid-range game on the offensive end of the floor struggled, missing both shots he took from 18-22 feet. While both shots appeared to have good form, Davis simply couldn’t find the touch to get his shots to fall.
- One area that Davis has been working on all summer has been his ball handling, and he showed the improvement multiple times. In the open court, Davis seemed to dribble relatively seamlessly; however, when dribbling through traffic, Davis seemed sloppy at times. Obviously Davis is still growing in this area of his game and he is still very young, so has much more time to improve his ball handling, even before the regular season of the NBA begins.
- The best part of the night for Davis overall, despite previous comments, was his decision-making. Whether it was in the pick-and-roll offense, pick-and-roll defense, shot selection, contesting shots, etc., Davis time and time again made the right play. If he can keep this aspect of his game in top shape and continue to improving as he has been, the sky is the limit for the Pelicans young superstar.
Team USA still has scrimmages against Brazil (August 16th), The Dominican Republic (August 20th), and Puerto Rico (August 22nd), before heading to Spain where they will have one more scrimmage against Slovenia (August 26th). FIBA World Cup play will start on Saturday, August 30th. To view Team USA’s whole schedule, click here.