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The USA men’s basketball team is going to be a shitload of fun to watch this summer in the Olympics.
(Kobe, LeBron, D-Will and KD)
Seriously – regardless of your hatred for LeBron or Kobe or ‘Melo or anyone else on the star-studded squad, you cannot deny the fact that they can run at every position. They are much more athletic than every other Olympic team they are going to compete against, but what they have in athleticism they lack in size.
Here is the final 2012 USA Men’s Basketball Roster:
Kobe Bryant (Guard, Lakers)
James Harden (Guard, Thunder)
Chris Paul (Guard, Clippers)
Russell Westbrook (Guard, Thunder)
Deron Williams (Guard, Nets)
Carmelo Anthony (Forward, Knicks)
Kevin Durant (Forward, Thunder)
Blake Griffin (Forward, Clippers)
Andre Iguodala (Forward, 76ers)
LeBron James (Forward, Heat)
Kevin Love (Forward, Timberwolves)
Tyson Chandler (Center, Knicks)
(Team USA. They look very happy.)
The team has only one center on its roster in Tyson Chandler, along with only two true power forwards in Kevin Love and Blake Griffin. They all have separate skills – Chandler’s a defensive presence, Griffin’s an offensive freak of nature and Love is Mr. Intangible – but only three big men on the squad makes it a bit slim, especially if someone gets hurt.
The USA has more offensive ability at the small forward position than any other country with LeBron, Durant, and ‘Melo. Scoring is not going to be a problem with this team. They even have an extra defensive stopper at this position in Andre Iguodala.
At shooting guard, I can bet Kobe’s going to see the majority of the minutes seeing as how Coach K loves him and he’s been around Olympic ball since 2000. He’s a solidified overseas veteran who'll be teaching a lot to his back-up James Harden.
At the point guard position, we have two great distributors in Chris Paul and Deron Williams so getting the ball to our scorers won’t be a problem. The real wild card for team USA lies in its third PG, Russell Westbrook, who was a defensive stopper for the 2012 World Championship team and is absolutely fearless and relentless with the ball in his hands. I imagine that when Westbrook is playing point, the team will play much more up-tempo basketball than when he isn’t.
(USA point guard Russell Westbrook)
Team USA’s biggest strength may lie in its coaching, with the legendary Mike Krzyzewski from Duke as the head coach alongside assistants Jim Boeheim (Syracuse University coach), Nate McMillan (former Trail Blazers coach) and Mike D’Antoni (former Knicks/Suns coach).
Here’s the schedule for Team USA (all times eastern):
July 12th – USA vs. Dominican Republic (3:00 p.m.) *Exhibition game
July 16th – USA vs. Brazil (8:00 p.m.) *Exhibition game
July 19th – USA vs. Great Britain (2:10 p.m.) *Exhibition game
July 22nd – USA vs. Argentina (3:30 p.m.) *Exhibition game
July 24th – USA vs. Spain (4:30 p.m.) *Exhibition game
July 29th – USA vs. France (9:30 a.m.) *Preliminary game
July 31st – USA vs. Tunisia (5:15 p.m.) *Preliminary game
August 2nd – USA vs. Nigeria (5:15 p.m.) *Preliminary game
August 4th – USA vs. Lithuania (2:30 p.m.) *Preliminary game
August 6th – USA vs. Argentina (5:15 p.m.) *Preliminary game
The four teams with the best records from each of the two preliminary rounds moves onto the quarterfinals on August 8th. The semifinals are on August 10th and the medal games are on August 12th.
The biggest competitors to the United States are Argentina and Spain, ranked two and three in the world. Argentina is lead by Olympic veteran Manu Ginóbli (Spurs) and big man Luis Scola (Rockets). Spain has Serge Ibaka (Thunder), Pau Gasol (Lakers) and his brother Marc (Grizzlies) along with former NBA player Rudy Fernandez leading their run for the gold. Both teams are proven in Olympic play.
(Argentina forward Luis Scola)
Great Britain has Luol Deng (Bulls) and could pose a threat to the United States as well. Brazil is also a scrappy team with Anderson Varejao (Cavaliers), Nené (Nuggets) and Leandro Barbosa (Raptors).
However, France is the probably most NBA-ready team to play the USA, as they have Tony Parker (Spurs), Nicholas Batum (Blazers), Boris Diaw (Spurs) and Ronny Turiaf (Heat). Throw another couple of random sharpshooters into that mix and they could surely compete with us on their best day.
I know I’ll be watching this electric USA basketball team every chance. It is a delicious treat to be able to see these guys play together, as it only happens once every four years, and I know I’ll be rooting for our country.
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
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