On USA Basketball, Charles shares and trusts but retains an identity
Here’s a major disclaimer: the 2019 New York Liberty cannot be compared fairly to the USA Basketball squads. There is such a difference between the talent and experience of New York and USAB. But, the approach Charles takes when she’s playing for her country needs to transfer over to New York moving forward.
Charles scored eight total points against Belgium in the 2018 FIBA World Cup Semi-Final. But, she also racked up seven total boards and shot over 65 percent from the field. Belgium was competitive in the World Cup, with Emma Meesseman scoring 23 points.
Charles led in this contest — not necessarily through how many touches she received, but via her decision making and court vision. She set screens for Jewell Loyd that allowed for the guard to set up a wide-open Elena Delle Donne with ease.
USA was only up by two with less than five minutes left in the third and Charles, in typical fashion, jumped over two defenders to secure the defensive rebound and then threw a fastball of a pass to Loyd with arms in her face. With space, Loyd found Diana Taurasi who was able to make it to the line following a missed layup.
In the fourth quarter, Charles was able to flex, scoring six of her eight total points. She made Belgium’s defense work, drilling her own putback, firing her signature fadeaway from the right side over Meeseman and muscling a spin move and the two on the block.
In order to erase a bit of predictability, Charles ought to be a weapon while simultaneously allowing her team to grow. USAB does contain a more consistent and reliable group, but I wonder if the Liberty would adjust if her role altered as well.