Facundo Campazzo | You Can't Guard Him!
TOKYO (Japan) - For anybody watching Argentina play at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, here is a tip: Don't take your eyes off Facundo Campazzo. Not only will you appreciate his hustle on defense as well as teardrops in the lane and knack for hitting long threes at the buzzer. But you will not want to miss his passing.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself saying, "Wait, how did he see that?" or "Did he really just make that pass?" When watching Campazzo do his thing, observers have been known to just drop their lower jaw in astonishment and can hardly wait for a break in the action for the replay of his pass.
This series is titled "You Can't Guard Him," but with Campazzo a defense really cannot worry just about guarding the Argentina playmaker as his greatest skill elevates the entire Argentine offense. Olympic teams must be aware of all four of Campazzo's teammates because he will find them.
Playing with Campazzo for the first time must be a strange sensation. Usually you move into open space and have to wave your arms for the ball-handler to spot you. With Campazzo, the ball is already there when you get into the free area around the basket - he leads his teammates into layups. And that is in any situation.
When Campazzo's pesky defense and quick and strong hands result in a steal, his eyes are immediately up and looking for a teammate running the floor as he himself takes off with the dribble. And if Campazzo is the lead man on the break, his trailing teammate should be ready for a through-the-legs back pass … as stated already: he will find them.
Do yourself a favor after reading this and just put Facundo Campazzo in YouTube and enjoy the hours of highlights while playing for Argentina, his current NBA team Denver and his past team Real Madrid. Be ready to be wowed by some of his behind-the-back passes.
While most might call him "El Mago" which is Spanish for "The Magician," Campazzo was given the nickname "Spider-Man" early on during his rookie season in the NBA by Nuggets teammate Jamal Murray. "Every pass he makes is a one-handed slinger," Murray mused.
Campazzo certainly spins a web around his defenders. Opposing teams already know they cannot help on Campazzo because he will get the ball to the open man. If there is a switch, a bigger defender - which is just about everybody compared to the well-built-but-gravity-challenged Campazzo - will just get beat on the dribble. Speaking of that, Campazzo is also masterful with the dribble. His low center of gravity and strong lower body allows him to shield off contact when he does drive to the basket.
The Argentine also understands angles and spins in order to avoid getting his shots blocked, also by going to the reverse on the other side of the basket.
Campazzo is not a real threat from the outside, but he is an adequate enough long-range shooter and cannot be left alone - also when the shot clock is winding down.
So, what can you do if you're playing defense against Facundo Campazzo? Really just hope his teammates might not be ready for his pass. Or hope that he tries to be flashy - though those passes that look like they could belong to the Showtime Lakers are just part of his arsenal.
Just realize you can't guard him. Your best bet is just to try to make the magician's life more difficult.