Usman Garuba helps Spain defeat France in Eurobasket Final

Georgia v Spain: Group A - FIBA EuroBasket 2022
Georgia v Spain: Group A - FIBA EuroBasket 2022 / Nikola Krstic/MB Media/GettyImages

Spain secured a fourth Eurobasket title with their 88-76 victory over France. Juancho Hernangomez led the way for Spain with 27 points on seven of nine shooting from three, with his brother Willy Hernangomez capturing the Eurobasket MVP award.

Spain has reasserted itself as the best basketball team in Europe after finishing third in Eurobasket 2017. Since 2009, La Roja has won four of the past six Eurobaskets and is the most successful currently existing country in the tournament's history (the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have 14 and 8 titles).

While the Hernangomez brothers and Lorenzo Brown led the way for Spain, the Houston Rockets' Usman Garuba proved pivotal in their run to the championship with his playmaking and defense.

Usman Garuba was pivotal in the final for Spain

Usman Garuba's final stat line against France; 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, and 4 assists, doesn't jump off the screen, but the depth of his contributions were crucial for Spain. In only 16:25 minutes of action, Garuba was posted a +7 plus/minus, tied for third on Spain.

The best defensive play of the game was an impressive rejection courtesy of Garuba and showcased his immense defensive potential.

The bread and butter of NBA offense are 3-pointers and the pick-and-roll. For frontcourt players to cut it at the NBA level, they have to defend in space and at the rim. Garuba isn't directly involved in the pick-and-roll but shows impressive defensive mobility. He starts at the free throw line, beats the drive to the rim, forcing a tougher shot, and is still able to load up and block the shot.

Garuba's unwillingness to shoot remains a concern, it only gets tougher in the NBA, but as long as he stays active on the defensive end and keeps finding open teammates he'll be a valuable role player, much like he was for Spain on their run to the Eurobasket championship.

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