Detroit Pistons: Jalen Duren should get a shot on Team USA
It’s funny how things have changed. Growing up, all I heard about European players was that they were too soft for the NBA. The big men were skilled but couldn’t bang in the post and they’d never be able to handle the physicality of American centers.
Now we just watched Team USA get pushed around by both Lithuania and Germany, who set hard screens, grabbed tough rebounds and were much more physical than the US, who didn’t even feature a real center.
The US got beaten by old-school basketball that has largely been abandoned in the NBA as centers have inched closer to the 3-point line and defense has gotten far less physical.
Steve Kerr has taken criticism for not using Walker Kessler more, especially against Germany, who grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and killed the US with second-chance points. The rebounding disparity was even worse in the loss to Lithuania, who outrebounded the US 43-27 as Kerr continued to play small ball and try to run teams off the court.
It’s clear Team USA will need more toughness and rebounding, more players who will commit to doing the dirty work and not worry about touches. Enter Jalen Duren of the Detroit Pistons.
Duren lives to rebound, and I dare say that if he had been in that game against Germany, the Germans wouldn’t have had such an edge in offensive rebounding.
Duren is perfect for a team like this, as he doesn’t need touches to be effective, and you don’t have to run plays for him, as he’ll get all of his points off putbacks and lobs.
Team USA out-shot the Germans from the field, three-point line and free-throw line, yet lost the game because they couldn’t get a stop or grab a rebound down the stretch. They were led by Anthony Edwards who had 8 boards.
The US needs more physical, athletic bigs who can crash the boards, which perfectly describes Jalen Duren. He’d be a great fit with Jaren Jackson Jr. at the four and allow Team USA to go big against the more physical teams, grab rebounds and protect the rim.