All the tuneups are done and the roster is set. There's nothing left for the Team USA basketball team to do now but head to Spain and win a gold medal. Only things aren't that simple for Americans anymore when it comes to international basketball competitions.
The days when every game was a 50-point blowout are long gone. The United States has to play smart, team basketball to win the FIBA World Cup. The health of Chicago Bulls' star Derrick Rose is one major concern and storyline. Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Cleveland Cavaliers' point guard Kyrie Irving discuss Rose and other topics in the video below.
Play officially begins August 30 and runs until September 14. Can this roster win it all?
|Team USA Roster|
For a look at all the rosters for every team, click here.
Group of Life
During the FIFA World Cup, there was a Group of Death. The United States' Group C certainly isn't the hoops equivalent. Here's a look at all of the teams in Group C.
Click here to see the other groups.
Of all the squads in its group, the United States' stiffest competition might come from the Dominican Republic. Led by NBA veteran Francisco Garcia, the Dominicans have the best shot to knock off Team USA in group play.
Quite honestly, that doesn't seem likely. The Americans already routed the Dominicans 105-62 in an exhibition game in Chicago on August 20. That should give you an idea of what to expect in the early action from the Americans.
While there doesn't figure to be a ton of stiff competition from teams in Group C, there are some potentially tough outs for Team USA later in the tournament—assuming they advance pass group play.
The American's top competition is without question Spain. Led by the Gasol brothers, Pau (Chicago Bulls) and Marc (Memphis Grizzlies) and Oklahoma City Thunder star Serge Ibaka, the Spaniards have a frontcourt that figures to give Team USA all it can handle.
The Spanish trio's presence likely had a lot to do with Team USA keeping both DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond on the team instead of more wings.
It's not just the Spanish bigs that are impressive. The team also features the Minnesota Timberwolves' Ricky Rubio, the New York Knicks' Jose Calderon and others who are currently in the NBA, or have at least spent time there.
Aside from the United States, Spain is the only undefeated team in preliminary play. Because of that, most expect an epic gold-medal game between the two teams.
While its frontcourt isn't quite as good as Spain's, Jonas Valanciunas is clearly demonstrating why the Toronto Raptors are so high on their 22-year-old big man.
He's definitely one of the top-five big men scheduled to play at the World Cup, and he presents another matchup in the paint that the U.S. will have trouble winning.
The Houston Rockets' Donatas Motiejunas is another weapon the Lithuanians have at their disposal. The versatile big man is 6'11", but he proved he had excellent range during the NBA Summer League. He knocked down 40 percent of his shots from behind the three-point line.
The U.S. should have an edge in experience and overall athleticism, but Lithuania could still be a tough game if the two teams meet.