2008 Men's Olympic Basketball: The Awards Show

Michael WhittenbergSenior Writer IAugust 22, 2008

Team USA, or the "Redeem Team" if you will, is only one win away from taking back the gold medal. And although Team USA's dominance has been the main story in men's basketball, teams and players from other countries have caught my attention, too.

This leaves me no choice but to give recognition to players the best way I know how: by giving out awards.


Best Sixth Man: Dwyane Wade, United States

Wade's health was probably the biggest concern heading into the Olympics, but he has returned to the D-Wade of old. Not only has Wade been a scoring threat, but he has played exceptional defense as well. D-Wade is also the team's second leading scorer.

The good news for Team USA is that Wade has been their spark off the bench. The bad news is, they have to deal with him come October when the NBA season begins.

And if Wade returns to Miami playing the same way, the Eastern Conference will have a big problem once the season is underway.

Runner(s) Up: Linas Kleiza, Lithuania


Best Defensive Player: Kobe Bryant, United States

Wade has been a good defender for Team USA, but Kobe has been their best defensive stopper. Bryant has guarded the opposing team's best wing player, and helped contain Germany's Dirk Nowitzki to just 4-11 shooting earlier this week.

Runner(s) Up: Dwyane Wade, United States 


Best Team Other Than Team USA: Argentina

Argentina already have a number of NBA players, and counting out the United States, Argentina has clearly been the best team in Beijing. Led by San Antonio's Manu Ginobili and Houston's Luis Scola, Argentina went undefeated before losing to Team USA in the semifinals.

Unfortunately, their best player in Ginobili left the game against the United States. But apart from Manu and Scola, they also have Chicago's Andres Nocioni, former Piston Carlos Delfino, and San Antonio's Fabricio Oberto.

Runner(s) Up: Spain


Best Player: Manu Ginobili, Argentina

Because of his injury against Team USA Friday, Manu didn't have much time to put on a show. But if you've been keeping up with the entire men's basketball tournament, then you know how great Ginobili has been.

He has been the leading scorer throughout the entire tournament, and one of the more valuable players as well.

Runner(s) Up: Pau Gasol, Luis Scola, Yao Ming, and LeBron James


Most Inspirational Player: Yao Ming, China

Yao ended his NBA season with an unfortunate injury, and it was uncertain if he would be playing this summer. His determination to come back from injury early and play for his country in his country showed his loyalty to China.

And to add on, he played outstanding in the tournament, despite his team not having a great record.


The Indispensables

Kobe Bryant, United States

Yao Ming, China

Pau Gasol, Spain

Manu Ginobili, Argentina

Dwyane Wade, United States

Luis Scola, Argentina

LeBron James, United States


Most Exciting Moment: Linas Kleiza's Game Winner against Argentina

I won't say much about this one. Just see it for yourself here.


Michael Whittenberg is one of two NBA Community Leaders for bleacherreport.com