US Men’s Olympic Basketball: NBA Foreigners Talk Dream Team Chances

Rodge CorreaSenior Analyst IAugust 5, 2008

Today concluded the final exhibition game for the US Men’s basketball squad. They faced Australia, contender to at least take the bronze in these Olympic Games, and proved their no nonsense basketball by almost ousting Argentina a couple days back.

Dwayne Wade led all scorers with 22 in the 87-76 win and, in my very honest opinion, it was a quite embarrassing one over the boys from down-under who played without their best player, Andrew Bogut.

However, foreigners that go by the name of Luis Scola and Dirk Nowitzki believe the US is ready to go and is the team that will most definitely achieve the gold in this year’s Olympic Games.

Here are the following statements from NBA players competing for their respective countries:


Linus Kleiza, Lithuania

"US is the best team in the world, there's no question about it—the talent they have and the way they play. But the one thing about it is, it's just one game; everybody's beatable on a given night.

"So you got great teams like Spain, Argentina, us, Russia—it's going to be very tough. Like I said, everybody's beatable on a given night; it's not a seven-game series. Nobody can beat the US in a seven-game series, but we can definitely like our chances beating them one game."


Luis Scola, Argentina

"They were dominating and they were playing great (last summer). They were playing solid. They got what they need to be Olympic champions. But I think playing in America is different than playing in the rest of the world because the American teams are pretty much NBA-oriented.

"They wanna to run, they gonna shoot, they don't want to play really, really solid defense. You got people who try to play this way. I think it's impossible to beat the NBA players that way because it's the way they're really the best.

"When you play these European teams it's different. They play much more like a block; it's really more difficult to get points, it's really difficult to get 100 points in a game. It's hard to run, they play extremely physical.

"So I think it's going to be a little bit different. Maybe (the US will) dominate because they can do it if they're open. But maybe they don't, like it's been happening at the last championships."


Carlos Delfino, Argentina

"After (the 1992 US Olympic team in) Barcelona, I think this is the best team ever for the US—many talented players in the group. You know that when you face them in a tournament, especially in a FIBA tournament. You try to go after their weaknesses, as there are different rules in international play.

"So hopefully for us, we can find some weaknesses in the great group they have."


Darius Songaila, Lithuania

"It's a lot more versatile. The European game has a lot more mid-range game with the three-point line being closer and the defensive mind and the three-second rule.

"So it's a lot more mid-range and I think that's what they got when they put the team together, starting with Carmelo and LeBron and Kobe and all those guys. I think they can be successful."


Dirk Nowitzki, Germany 

"They showed in Las Vegas during qualifications what they've got, with Kobe now and LeBron, and Carmelo and all those boys. Apparently, they looked pretty sharp in Vegas. That's what I heard, I didn't see any games. But I guess that's the team to beat.

"Other than that there's Argentina, and Spain looked pretty sharp at Eurobasket. There are a lot of talented teams, and it's going to be a fun Olympics."


Juan Carlos Navarro, Spain

"My impression is that the last four or five years, they don't make good work. Everybody expect this year they win Olympic Games. It's a great team with a lot of players and if they play together, it's going to be hard to win against them...Spain and Argentina (match up well); I think five teams are closing. But if (the Americans) are completely a team, it's difficult."


Andrew Bogut, Australia

"Obviously, the USA every year is going to be the clear-cut favorite. They have the best players in the world, it's a matter of if they come together and have the right group. But they'll definitely be the favorites...FIBA's much more team-orientated as opposed to one-on-one basketball.

"So I think when the Team USA has to kind of adjust to that different style, it takes them a couple games. And I think once they adjust they'll still be the favorites...I think USA might even have some cheers more over there as opposed to usually when the US plays in Europe, they get booed and they get a pretty hostile crowd that wants to beat them.

"I think the Chinese really appreciate seeing an NBA player so the fans there will be good to them."


Andrei Kirilenko, Russia

"I think definitely the American team is the favorite. They really have a great lineup, they really have great guys on the team and they're really motivated. They really, in my opinion, will be the team to win.

"But there's a few teams which will be very tough, which are hard to beat, like Argentina, like Spain, like Greece. Those teams really can be great mention because on a certain night, there’s certain factor, and those teams can beat the American team. But still the American team is the favorite."


Today's score against the Aussies proves the US squad, even with the NBA's best, have a long way to go. It takes discipline and team work, not constant fast-breaks and huge dunks.

Plus, shooting is huge in the Olympics and the only REAL shooter they have is Michael Redd who, let's face it, won't get major time.

Again, I need to see more and don't care if their enemies say they're a shoe in. I need to see it!

Tell me, if you think I'm wrong...