Team USA Basketball 2012: Americans Aren't Gold-Medal Locks

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 03:  Tyson Chandler #6 of the New York Knicks reacts in the first half against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 3, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

With the roster set for Team USA as the 2012 London Games near, many expect that Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and the rest of the Americans will once again bring home the gold.

That certainly may be the case, but this time around, it may not be as easy as many believe. Team USA isn't a lock to win it all.

While they certainly have the best talent in the world in the likes of Kobe, LBJ, Kevin Durant and more, there are other talented teams that could expose the Americans' weaknesses.

Already facing injuries to the likes of Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Derrick Rose, Team USA still has outstanding talent, but it is a lot thinner, especially down low.

The problem the Americans could face is that Tyson Chandler is the only real center on the team. Out of a group of post players that includes Chandler, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and even James in the mix, Chandler is the only capable defender of the group.

The Defensive Player of the Year is prone to fouls. Against a team such as Spain, which features Serge Ibaka and both Marc and Pau Gasol, without Chandler on the floor, it could be very tough to defend.

That goes for any team that can pound the ball down low.

If an opponent can successfully get Chandler into foul trouble, Team USA should be fairly easy to score against in the paint.

Of course, the American's have a huge edge in backcourt play, and there are very few teams that can match the likes of Kobe, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The depth on the wing—which includes LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Durant and Andre Iguodala—is also impossible for any other team to match.

Yet the American's can be exposed in the paint, and all it takes is for one team to be able to match guard play with them. One night where the ball isn't falling, and Team USA could be in trouble.

That's what happens when you are primarily a perimeter team.

There are other concerns, including injuries, after a long, shortened season that hasn't provided much recovery time. But almost every other team in the Olympics have NBA players facing the same situation, so that's not as concerning. Not as much as not having a legitimate post presence or being able to defend the paint consistently.

Entering the Olympics, Team USA is without a doubt the favorite. But other teams have the talent to beat them, and the lack of play inside could turn into a much bigger concern than most people would originally think.