Olympic Basketball: 2-on-2 Streetball Tournament Favorites
The 2012 London Olympics just ended, but it's never too early to speculate on the next games in Rio de Janeiro. Fans always want to talk about which sport should be added to the Games and I see no reason why there shouldn't be more basketball.
In swimming, we have multiple events of varying lengths and team relays or individual races. The same is true in rowing and on the track. There are a myriad of events in gymnastics and athletics. And even for volleyball, there is beach and indoor.
We currently play an indoor basketball tournament, so why not add the outdoor version? Let's make it a good, old-fashioned streetball tournament.
And because we're dreaming, let's take a look at who would be the competitors and favorites.
No.8 Seed: Patty Mills/Joe Ingles
These two played well enough (combined for 45 points) against the USA in the quarterfinals that I would be intrigued by them as a scrappy eight seed.
Joe Ingles is a rangy 6-9 shooter who sets good picks and Patty Mills knows what it takes to dominate the ball. They are both athletic and love to play improvised basketball, which is what you need in a two-on-two tournament.
No. 7 Seed: Marc Gasol/Jose Calderon
Some would think the Gasol brothers need to play together, but it's just completely impractical to not have a point guard or ballhandler on a serious streetball team.
Marc should work with Jose quite well; both fit the theme of finesse guys, but Marc can bang down low if needed. Jose's wizardry with the ball and Marc's devastating picks could make for some sweet pick-and-roll music.
Their only problem is the fact that they wouldn't be able to guard anyone.
No. 6 Seed : Tony Parker/Boris Diaw
I put the French duo ahead of the previous two teams because Tony Parker has experience with streetball and totally lights it up when he's dominating the ball, something he'll do even more often in this format.
This team is dangerous because Boris Diaw always makes the right basketball plays and always seems to be in the right place, even if he isn't the most athletic player.
Streetball means possession basketball, and Tony Parker getting on a roll may mean the other team doesn't see the basketball for large portions of the game.
No.5: Manu Ginobili/Luis Scola
Like Parker, Ginobili and Scola are both players who can fill it up in a hurry.
Like Calderon and Marc Gasol, they would be a pretty bad defensive duo. But here are two guys who play the pick-and-pop game as well as any one and are both good shooters.
They get demerit points for being floppers, though.
No.4 Seed: Russell Westbrook/Kevin Love
They have to be teammates because they're both UCLA boys. They might even be able to get away with sporting a Bruins flag or warm-ups in addition to their normal USA uniform.
Westbrook would be the most dangerous slasher in the tournament and Love holds up his end of the bargain by getting every rebound in sight and being a good shooter to boot.
This team could unravel when Westbrook shoots too much and gambles too much for steals. Love isn't the rim protector Serge Ibaka is on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
No.3 Seed: Pau Gasol/Ricky Rubio
I know Ricky Rubio wasn't available in London, but this duo would be a legitimate favorite to take down the American teams.
Rubio would confuse any defender with his Pete Maravich-like moves and Gasol offers the whole package of shooting, pick-setting, rebounding and length to defend the rim.
Their chemistry would probably be the best of any team with a legitimate shot to win this tournament.
No. 2 Seed: Kevin Durant/James Harden
The other two Oklahoma City Thunder representatives. No point guard is needed because both can create their own shot so easily.
Their lack of post size and presence pretty much doesn't matter because when they score they'll get on such a huge roll that the other team won't get the ball back.
The amount of times we'd see Durant check it, grab it, swish a two-pointer and repeat it would be astonishing.
No.1 Seed: LeBron James/Carmelo Anthony
The most devastating pair in the tournament and the heavy favorites. Even Durant and Harden's shooting don't match up to the all-around skill and size these two members of the 2003 NBA Draft class have to offer.
LeBron does everything needed to make Carmelo as comfortable as possible so that he can focus on effortlessly scoring. Then, when he needs to, LeBron can dominate as well.