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    Tokyo Olympics: FIBA basketballs impacting Team USA’s shooting? Why one ex-NBA player calls it a ‘huge deal’ – CBSSports.com

    Foreword All I’m going to say with an admission: I’m obsessed with the different feel of different basketballs. When lonzo ball college statistics revealed a decidedly different shooting percentage from one type of ball to another, some people dismissed the finding as random or the product of a relatively small sample size. I do not.

    After all, there’s a reason Tom Brady (supposedly) deflated his footballs and MLB pitchers are upset about the ban on sticky stuff. The importance of how a ball feels in an athlete’s hand cannot be underestimated. this is the instrument of the genius of him. If a world-class golfer were to start swinging with a heavier, or lighter, driver than he was used to, we would all accept, I hope, that significant adjustment, either mechanical or mental or both, would be required for that golfer. to rediscover the normal feel of him. and as with all adjustments, some will do better, and at a different rate, than others. consistency will be hard to come by.

    Reading: Fiba ball vs nba ball

    which brings me to the olympics and fiba basketball, which is very different from the nba ball that team usa players are used to. could this be a factor in team usa shooting fights? uu. both in exhibition and in the olympic game so far? absolutely. it seems impossible that it doesn’t have at least some kind of effect, frankly.

    is not the only factor, and probably not the most important. the way international games are officiated, allowing for more defensive contact, and the pressure of the Olympic stage can certainly throw a shooter off the scent. there is also a standard variation with shooters. They have bad nights, sometimes all at once, as happened against France when the Americans shot just 36 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3.

    but don’t rule out an unknown ball as at least part of the shooting equation. The FIBA ​​ball is the same size as an NBA ball (29.5-inch circumference), but some will swear it feels smaller and lighter. it has more seams and those seams are closer together, which is critical for shooters, who typically try to align their fingertips with a seam whenever possible and are used to being able to locate those seams in the dark. an nba ball has a harder, almost rocky feel and is known to get stickier as it gets wet with sweat, but the fiba ball is often described as spongy and more slippery, as deron williams told you to the star-ledger in 2012.

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    “It’s a big deal,” former NBA player Raja Bell said of the international ball in a text message with CBS Sports on Tuesday. “I’ve always said fiba balls tremendously affected my shot and the shots of other nba players. I hate that ball!

    “It’s lighter, it feels smaller, it has a different texture,” bell continued. “I mean, when the art of shooting is based on muscle memory and you change every factor except the size and height of the rim, it’s going to be tough.”

    In another exchange with a Western conference scout, the conclusion was similar.

    “[The ball is] definitely a factor,” the scout said. “I guess the magnitude of the factor depends on the particular player. but it’s an adjustment for everyone. some will make [the adjustment] easier than others.”

    And another quote from an Eastern Conference scout with international gaming experience: “It’s quite different, and takes some getting used to. It’s a lot softer than NBA or college basketballs.”

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    Not everyone agrees with this. In 2019, Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris told the Athletico that he “wouldn’t put anything on the ball” in terms of any shot variations that might show up in international play.

    “If I had to guess, you could probably talk to every member of the team and ask them how the ball feels in the game, and no one would comment on whether it’s that different, because you’re really without thinking or noticing,” he speculated harris.

    that’s easy for harris to say. he shot 50 percent on 3.3 3-point attempts per game at the 2019 fiba world cup, where the us. uu. he finished seventh. kemba walker shot 38 percent from 3. donovan mitchell shot 40 percent. Despite his poor performance against France, Kevin Durant has traditionally shot the fiba ball during his Olympic career: in the 2016 games, he shot 58 per cent on more than five 3-point attempts per game, backing up the 52 per cent he shooting at the 2012 olympics. damian lillard has shot 42 percent from beyond the arc (19-for-45) in the americans’ five olympic and exhibition games this summer.

    but there are others, like stephen curry, who shot just 40 per cent from the field at the 2014 world cup, who have never really felt capable of shooting a fiba ball. Klay Thompson shot 32 percent from 3 at the 2016 Olympics. Paul George shot 28 percent. Kyle Lowry shot 27 percent. Jayson Tatum shot 25 percent in the 2019 World Cup, and is just 3-for-18 from 3 with Team USA this year.

    again, it varies from player to player, and to reiterate, the ball is certainly not the only factor here. international tires are believed to be less forgiving. perhaps most importantly, Americans are still getting used to playing with each other. No one has ever looked so comfortable in terms of when and where to shoot, and even a split second of indecision can have a huge impact on results. variation is part of the deal. the United States. he could shoot the lights for the rest of the tournament. That doesn’t mean the ball hasn’t been a factor all along. it will only mean that an adjustment was made.

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