USA vs Argentina: Americans Who Must Step Up Their Game in Olympics Tuneup

Justin Welton@JustinWeltonAnalyst IIJuly 22, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Kobe Bryant #10 of the US Men's Senior National Team shoots during warm up before playing Brazil during a pre-Olympic exhibition basketball game at the Verizon Center on July 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. the US Senior Men's National Team won, 80-69. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) *** Kobe Bryant
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Let the Games begin! Well, almost.

United States will receive its toughest pre-Olympics challenge Sunday when they play Argentina in a great tuneup game.

This will be the test that tells what type of team fans can expect to see when the real games begin.

Here are four players who must step up their game in this showdown.


Tyson Chandler/Kevin Love

Luis Scola, Juan Gutierrez and Leo Gutierrez will provide Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler their toughest test in the Olympic Games tuneups. Each will be aggressive on offense, forcing the Americans to step up their post-defense.

Chandler will handle his own quite well, but keep an eye on Love. Guys like Scola are capable of doing damage to Love while in the post given their post moves on the block.

The Dream Team and others have always said that the biggest weakness is the Americans' depth and talent down low.

We'll find out if they are up to the task against one of the better front lines in the Olympics.


LeBron James

There is nobody in the world capable of slowing down LeBron James. They can't stop him, they can only hope to contain him. Most can't and won't be able to.

His ability to drive to the rim in this competition will be a glaring positive for the Americans. He can get to the rim when he wants, and he can do it over and over again.

If teams dare to double, James is capable of finding the open shooter.

James scored 16 points against Great Britain. The Americans provided great balance, but James will have to step up his aggressiveness when these games get close.

Argentina will provide the United States its biggest challenge thus far so expect James to rise to the occasion when the Americans need him most.


Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant appears to be the biggest star at the Olympics for the Americans. He has created headlines about David Stern, plays to the camera and plays to the media.

But the one thing he needs to focus on is playing basketball.

Bryant has struggled in the past two games, scoring only five points against Great Britain and eight against Brazil.

Did we really see Bryant score in single digits twice in a row? This is unacceptable from a player who said his team could defeat the Dream Team.

He must step up and have a good game before heading into Olympic play in London. The United States will need a much better Bryant in order to win another gold medal.

This one isn't cutting it.