The 2012 U.S. Olympic Basketball team is clearly no 1992 Dream Team despite what Kobe yaps, but they’ll bring home gold nonetheless. This squad of American ballers might not be the best team ever assembled, but they’re certainly the best team the world has to offer in 2012.
Now, this doesn’t mean the U.S. team doesn’t have some weaknesses. The most obvious weakness is their lack of big-men. The U.S. team has absolutely zero offensive threat from the 5-slot on the floor. This is largely due to the lack of guys like Howard and Bynum on the team. They do have Tyson Chandler and Anthony Davis to defend the bigs of teams like Spain, but don’t look for any offensive production from the U.S. centers.
The reason this weakness is not that big of a deal is because the U.S. has good defenders of the 5-slot and because the U.S. guards are absurdly quick. Big-men don’t dribble the ball down the court. They have to receive the in-let pass from a guard or small forward and if that guard is afraid of turning the ball over because Westbrook and CP3 are all over them, they won’t be making those in-let passes the Gasol brothers love to receive.
Really, this whole discussion about Olympic basketball is moot. The American team is head-and-shoulders the best team in the world. They can be beat, just like Aretha Franklin could hit a wrong note, but it’s not likely. For the U.S. team to lose, a team would have to go bonkers from 3-point land, win the turnover battle, and pray to every deity in the heavens that Kobe, LeBron, and Durant all get ice-cold at the same time.
The greatest strength of the U.S. team is depth. Everyone on the squad is an All-Star. This is also a well-constructed team with a good balance of offense, defense, quickness, and outside shooting. Again, the only noticeable weakness is offensive production from the 5-slot, but this is no Achilles heel.
The toughest competition for the U.S. is likely going to be Spain or Brazil. Spain’s strength is their big-men. They’ve got Pau and Marc Gasol, as well as shot blocking guru Serge Ibaka. This 3-man combo can go a long way to slowing down the U.S. attack, but as we saw this week when the U.S. defeated Spain in a tune-up game, the U.S. simply have too many answers and quality shooters.
The only other team that stands a chance is Brazil with Anderson Varejao, Nene Hilario, and Tiago Splitter. They have some quality players with NBA experience, but they simply don’t have the shooters and lack the physical strength to compete.
The U.S. team is a lock for gold in London just as Kanye West is a lock to admire himself in the mirror for an hour a day. This won’t be 1992 domination, but it will still be gold.
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