USA vs Great Britain: Team USA Must Avoid Slow Start Against Poor Competition

David DanielsSenior Writer IJuly 18, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16:  LeBron James #6 of the US Men's Senior National Team dribbles against Brazil during a pre-Olympic exhibition basketball game at the Verizon Center on July 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Prove that it was just a hiccup.

Team USA will look to bounce back vs. Great Britain on Thursday, July 19th at 2:00 p.m. ET following a disappointing performance against Brazil. After the Americans dominated the Dominican Republic by the score of 113-59, they only beat the Brazilians 80-69.

Sure, Brazil is deeper with NBA talent than the Dominicans, but there was more to the U.S.’s 11-point victory than meets the eye.

They were owned on the boards by the likes of Anderson Varejao, Tiago Splitter and Nene. If Mike Krzyzewski fails to adjust, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka will send Team USA home without a gold medal.

Now, Great Britain doesn’t possess the talent to test the Americans’ lack of length, but what it will do is provide a punching bag for the U.S. to take their anger out on.

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook must catch fire after a pitiful scoring effort on Monday. That quartet is supposed to be a scoring machine, but as a group, it went 10 for 34. If these four fail to improve against the lowly British, Team USA is screwed.

Great Britain has four players with NBA experience on its roster: Luol Deng, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Joel Freeland and Robert Archibald.

Mensah-Bonsu played in 61 games in the league over the course of six seasons, but he’s currently in Turkey. Freeland just signed with the Portland Trail Blazers last week. And Archibald was drafted 32nd overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002 before leaving in 2004.

First off, if that trio of big men—Mensah-Bonsu at 6’9”, Freeland at 6’10” and Archibald 6’11”—proves to be an issue for the Americans, their weakness is much greater than previously believed.

But assuming Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love and Anthony Davis (if Coach K actually plays him) are able to impose their will on the British, all that’s left for the U.S. to do is score at a merciless pace.

Kobe, KD, Melo and Westbrook can create their own shot. No one in the world can shut them down one-on-one. Team USA has no excuse not to rout Great Britain.

Expect a blowout. But if a blowout isn’t the result, feel free to press the panic button.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.