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August 26, 2008
Olympic Recap
The Final Numbers

by Kevin Pelton

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With the action in Beijing complete, let's take one final look at the advanced team stats over the course of the Olympics. Even after a close game against Spain, the United States still finished with far and away the best offense and the best defense in the competition.

Team            Gr    Diff   ORating Rank   DRating Rank    Pace

United States    B    34.4    130.5    1      97.1    1     81.1
Argentina        A    10.2    118.1    4     108.9    3     70.9
Spain            B     9.5    114.6    6     106.8    2     73.4
Greece           B     9.2    120.1    3     109.3    5     68.9
Lithuania        A     5.8    116.3    5     109.2    4     73.5
Australia        A     4.7    121.5    2     116.7   10     74.4
Croatia          A     1.5    114.1    7     113.0    6     66.8
Russia           A    -5.4    109.3    8     115.6    8     70.5
China            B   -14.6    104.4    9     116.1    9     68.7
Germany          B   -17.5     96.7   10     113.4    7     68.5
Iran             A   -39.5     91.1   11     129.2   11     71.4
Angola           B   -44.1     89.9   12     136.1   12     70.8

Thanks to winning the bronze-medal game, Argentina ends up with the second-best differential over the course of the Olympics. Subjectively, I would say Spain was better, but while Spain gave the U.S. a tougher test in the medal rounds, Argentina had a much easier time with Lithuania. An argument could be made for either country.

Here are the Four Factors on offense and defense for each team.

                                OFFENSE                           DEFENSE
Team            Gr     eFG%    OR%   FTM/FGA   TO%       eFG%    DR%   FTM/FGA   TO%

Angola            B   0.451   0.213   0.174   0.204     0.631   0.627   0.277   0.139
Argentina         A   0.573   0.264   0.227   0.161     0.504   0.687   0.244   0.167
Australia         A   0.569   0.281   0.251   0.145     0.613   0.684   0.242   0.217
China             B   0.475   0.300   0.273   0.179     0.532   0.674   0.184   0.146
Croatia           A   0.539   0.346   0.239   0.177     0.543   0.708   0.223   0.167
Germany           B   0.463   0.274   0.193   0.192     0.500   0.697   0.234   0.128
Greece            B   0.573   0.332   0.239   0.167     0.534   0.730   0.181   0.172
Iran              A   0.464   0.307   0.194   0.229     0.609   0.654   0.144   0.128
Lithuania         A   0.566   0.299   0.294   0.187     0.493   0.693   0.360   0.175
Russia            A   0.526   0.276   0.220   0.168     0.548   0.677   0.354   0.192
Spain             B   0.507   0.387   0.290   0.165     0.546   0.753   0.261   0.204
United States     B   0.618   0.339   0.263   0.142     0.457   0.699   0.223   0.200

I've also calculated individual stats, allowing us to look at the top players in these Olympics in terms of Wins Above Replacement Player.

Player               Team    Win%    ORtg     DRtg  WARP

LeBron James          USA   0.818   114.0    102.4   1.7
Pau Gasol             ESP   0.746   114.8    106.3   1.6
Dwyane Wade           USA   0.888   120.0    103.5   1.5
Yao Ming              CHI   0.786   117.0    106.6   1.4
Carlos Delfino        ARG   0.675   111.8    106.1   1.2
Manu Ginobili         ARG   0.725   116.8    109.0   1.2
Chris Paul            USA   0.710   111.4    104.5   1.1
Ioannis Bourousis     GRE   0.869   120.2    105.0   1.0
Chris Bosh            USA   0.748   114.8    106.2   1.0
Dwight Howard         USA   0.768   114.7    105.3   1.0

Luis Scola            ARG   0.580   110.1    107.6   1.0
Andrei Kirilenko      RUS   0.650   108.4    103.7   1.0
Sarunas Jasikevicius  LIT   0.606   111.9    108.5   0.9
Antonis Fotsis        GRE   0.688   114.7    108.4   0.9
Rudy Fernandez        ESP   0.647   113.1    108.3   0.9
Pablo Prigioni        ARG   0.552   107.8    106.2   0.8
Linas Kleiza          LIT   0.640   111.4    106.9   0.8
Ksistof Lavrinovic    LIT   0.606   106.0    102.8   0.8
Andres Nocioni        ARG   0.543   107.2    105.9   0.7
Patrick Mills         AUS   0.616   111.5    107.8   0.7

While the numbers give LeBron James a slight nod over Dwyane Wade by virtue of his minutes played, I'm sticking with the Heat star as the unofficial MVP of the Olympics. Poster danielcz on the APBRmetrics message board has tracked the USA's Olympic plus-minus, which confirmed what our eyes told us about how much Wade changed games off the bench. Wade got a personal redemption all his own that has to excite Miami fans going into the NBA season.

Amongst the international players, the biggest surprise might be just how well Carlos Delfino played, especially in the medal rounds. Delfino and the rest of the Argentina players benefit significantly because they played so many minutes, which is why five of them rank in the top 20 Olympians, but Delfino ranked an impressive 12th on a per-minute basis amongst regulars. Along with Josh Childress, Delfino is one of the biggest losses of the NBA-to-Euroleague exodus in the wake of a nice season off the bench in Toronto.

Notables who just missed the list include Americans Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant, Australian Andrew Bogut and Spanish prodigy Ricky Rubio (statistically an off-the-charts defender). Greek guards Theo Papaloukas and Vasilis Spanoulis are a little lower and both played well, as did Iranian big man Hamed Hadadi. The disappointment in terms of the numbers is Dirk Nowitzki, as valuable to his team as anyone internationally. Alas, we can't entirely account for the constant double-teams Nowitzki faced. The big names amongst the least valuable in Beijing were veteran Chinese guard Liu Wei and Juan Carlos Navarro, despite the latter's strong game against the USA.

It seems strange to be mining the list of top performers for potential NBA players besides Patrick Mills, who is entering his sophomore season at St. Mary's. At this point, keeping the international players that are already here seems to be a bigger deal. Sarunas Jasikevicius and Antonis Fotsis have already tried the NBA and gone back to Europe; it's tough to see them giving it another shot. Pablo Prigioni, as well as he played in the Olympics, is 31 and a third-string point guard and hasn't really been on the NBA's radar.

That leaves Ioannis Bourousis, 24, and Ksistof Lavrinovic, 27, as two guys who could make the cross-Atlantic trip at some point. Both appear to be physically capable of holding their own in the paint in the NBA and offer skills on offense, in Bourousis' case rare touch around the basket, and Lavrinovic the ability to stretch the defense from the perimeter.

Kevin Pelton is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Kevin by clicking here or click here to see Kevin's other articles.

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