While France has plenty of NBA caliber talent on their roster, the player every team will focus on, and rightly so, will be Tony Parker. That rings true even though Parker, who will don new goggles in London, has struggled immensely in exhibition play.
”What we’re trying to do is to contain … [Parker] … ” Mike D’Antoni said. “Don’t put him on the free throw line, don’t let him go fast … in transition. We know he will put up points, do his thing and lead his team. But don’t forget the other guys, and our players know them all. They are a dangerous team and Tony Parker is clearly the serpent’s head, so we must contain (him).”
Andre Iguodala has forged a successful career in harassing opposing playmakers, and without the burden of scoring, he’ll likely be asked to defend Parker on occasion. Their plan will be to dictate the pace of the game by playing aggressively. This attack, ideally, will prevent the French team from benefiting from Parker’s speed.
”We’ll play aggressive, sort of dictate the game and force them to react to our attack,” Iguodala said. “Tony is even more (aggressive) with France. He seeks to score more and … create … for his team. So our job is to stop (him), or at least slow him down.”
Chris Paul will be matched up with Parker for the beginning of the game. He said that the gameplan in each game has been to slow down the opposition’s best playmaker.
”To be honest, our priority for each match is to limit the impact of playmakers, for each match and each team,” Paul said. “It’s the serpent’s head. And it probably is (more important) for France more than other teams knowing how Tony can be dangerous. But when we played Spain, our game plan was Calderon. And when it was Argentina, it was Prigioni. What we want to do is slow down the game the one who puts his team in place.”
Though Nando De Colo said their first game will merely be a “launch” game, it will be an important opportunity for France to develop a rapport with Parker. He suffered a minor shoulder injury against Australia last week, though, which may make Team USA’s difficult job a lot easier.