USA vs. Argentina: Why Sunday's Exhibition Will Be America's Most Impressive Yet

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2012

BEIJING - AUGUST 22:  LeBron James #6 of the United States shoots a jumper over Carlos Delfino #10 of Argentina during a men's semifinal baketball game at the Wukesong Indoor Stadium on Day 14 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 22, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Despite a close call against Brazil, Team USA has tepidly taken care of business in their first three pre-Olympic exhibitions. After a Sunday afternoon tilt with Argentina, however, the Americans will go from looking good to looking great.

The Argentinians are a talented bunch, probably the third best in the field, but they don't match up very well with the Americans. The whole situation creates one of those antithetical-to-the-transitive-property models.

That is, Argentina can beat Brazil, but Brazil has a better chance of beating the USA than Argentina does.

Why, you ask?


Size and Athleticism

Much ado has been made about Team USA's lack of size in the frontcourt, and for good reason. If any team beats America in London, it's gonna be a team with athletic, NBA-caliber bigs who can dominate the paint and protect the rim.

Argentina is not one of those teams.

The Argentinians have former and current NBA players down low, sure, but not the kind who can cause the USA problems like the Gasols, Serge Ibaka, Nene and Tiago Splitter can. 

Scola and Oberto play good, fundamental basketball, but they're ultimately useless when the American wings come flying through the lane.

If you need a graphic demonstration of what I'm talking about, I BEG YOU to watch the 0:30 mark of this clip:

I rest my case.



They might have been young, but Dwyane Wade and LeBron James were both a part of the disappointing 2004 Olympic team––the one that famously lost to Argentina in the semifinals.

Wade shot an unsightly 1-8 in the contest, while LeBron spent all but three minutes wasting away on the bench––a figure that, in hindsight, seems like grounds for arresting Larry Brown on treason charges.

The current iteration of Team USA may be swaggering around with a sense of invulnerability, but LeBron has his targets set on Argentina. He remembers how it felt to leave Athens in disgrace, and he will let his teammates know as well.



Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two teams' rosters, ages included:

USA Player Age Argentina Player Age
Carmelo Anthony 28 Facundo Campazzo 21
Kobe Bryant 33 Carlos Delfino 29
Tyson Chandler 29 Manu Ginobili 35
Anthony Davis 19 JP Gutierrez 28
Kevin Durant 23 Leonardo Gutierrez 34
James Harden 22 Hernan Jansen 34
Andre Iguodala 28 Frederico Kammerichs 32
LeBron James 27 Martin Leiva 32
Kevin Love 23 Marcos Mata 25
Chris Paul 27 Andres Nocioni 32
Russell Westbrook 23 Pablo Prigioni 35
Deron Williams 27 Luis Scola 32
AVERAGE: 25.75 AVERAGE: 30.75


Those are a long five years between roughly 26 and roughly 31.

Even if those age numbers were reversed (i.e. the USA was five years older than Argentina), the Americans would probably still be able to get up and down the court faster than Argentina. The way it stands now? You'll be able to hear Argentina's knees creaking from space.


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