USA’s men’s basketball team is on course for yet another Olympic gold medal. While the team may not be as unbeatable as the Dream Team, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James’s version of Team USA is no bunch of slouches either.
The star power of the American team is unmatched by any international competitor. Sure, some teams boast several NBA players and unknown but talented international players on their rosters. However, the individuals playing on Team USA make up the best that the world has to offer in the sport of basketball. Most of them have played together in the Summer Olympics.
Oh yeah, they’ve already won gold medals doing it.
Added to the mix are newcomers James Harden, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Andre Igoudala. They replace the departed Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Jason Kidd, Tayshaun Prince, Michael Redd and Dwayne Wade.
Not a bad substitution for Team USA. They’ve added suitable replacements and even upgrades at every position. A disappointment like 2004 is not soon forgotten.
America has dominated the sport since its Olympic inception in 1936, winning 13 of the 17 gold medals awarded. In the three of the four years they failed to attain the gold, USA won two bronze and one silver medal.
They have only failed at qualifying for a medal once.
The biggest challenge for Team USA in the 2012 Olympics will likely be in the gold medal game. Spain and Brazil both boast powerful front-courts that could challenge the weakest link in Team USA’s armor.
Spain’s powerful roster is anchored by big men Serge Ibaka and Marc and Pau Gasol. Their backcourt is also equipped with NBA talents Rudy Fernandez and Jose Calderon. Their experience against Team USA will also work heavily in their favor.
Brazil has a frontcourt just as impressive as Spain. NBA veterans Nene, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter could wreak havoc again down-low on Team USA. Recently, in a qualifying match, the trio pushed around Anthony Davis, Tyson Chandler and company and dominated on the glass. If Team USA is to win a 14th gold medal, they are going to have to do it in the paint with inferior talent.
While it is no longer a foregone conclusion that Team USA is going to walk all over the competition in Olympic basketball, it is still a strong likelihood they will come out on top due to the skill of the players alone. Their roster may not be ideally equipped with the right big men for the job, but they have plenty enough ammunition to score at will from the perimeter and create lanes from dribble penetrations.
Men's USA Basketball's road to the gold medal game:
|Sun., Jul. 29||USA vs. France||2:30 p.m.|
|Tues., Jul. 31||USA vs. Tunisia||10:15 p.m.|
|Thurs., Aug. 2||USA vs. Nigeria||10:15 p.m.|
|Sat., Aug. 4||USA vs. Lithuania|
|Mon., Aug. 6||USA vs. Argentina||10:15 p.m.|
|Weds., Aug. 8||TBD||TBD|
|Fri., Aug. 10||TBD||TBD|
|Sun., Aug. 12||TBD||TBD|
Source: USA Basketball
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