Predictions for Team USA vs. Lithuania

Ethan Sherwood Strauss@SherwoodStraussNBA Lead WriterAugust 2, 2012

Lithuania has some NBA-caliber talent in center Jonas Valančiūnas, wing Linas Kleiza and steady point guard Šarūnas Jasikevičius. 

Valančiūnas is the most touted NBA talent, but he will see the least action among the big three. This is because Jonas is a young 20 years old and has yet to master defense at the pro level. When he races out to cover a pick-and-roll, it often ends in a foul. On a pick-and-roll involving LeBron James and Kevin Durant, poor Jonas might be in trouble. 

Šarūnas Jasikevičius is the guy who paces Lithuania's offense. The 35-year-old point guard played decent pro ball for the Indiana Pacers, but he shines brighter at the FIBA level. He will have a tough challenge against opposing athletic points like Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul.

But the biggest challenge of all goes to Linas Kleiza. Lithuania has a nasty habit of dumping the ball to Linas when they can't create anything else. The poor guy will have to make something happen, end of shot clock, with LeBron breathing down his neck. Despite being as experienced and savvy as they are, this should be an incredibly tough task for the Lithuanians. 

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