Nobody is calling this the “Dream Team,” but the United States is still a heavy favorite to win gold in men’s basketball at next month’s Summer Olympics.
Reigning MVP Stephen Curry won’t be part of the team in Rio, and neither will many of the NBA’s brightest stars, such as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. They all elected to skip the Games because a combination of injury, a desire for rest, or even though none of them said it publicly, possible concerns about security or the Zika virus.
Even in their absence, Team USA boasts a lot of talent with considerable experience in international play. Carmelo Anthony is headed to his fourth Olympics, a record for an American men’s basketball player. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green give the U.S. plenty of star power on a deep roster than also includes Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, DeAndre Jordan and Kyle Lowry.
The Americans had their first Olympic tuneup Friday night in Las Vegas, destroying an experienced Argentina team, 111-74. Durant had 23 points to lead Team USA, while George chipped in 18 and Anthony added 17. Luis Scola, a veteran of the NBA and the Argentinian National Team, was impressed by what he saw.
“Obviously, they have the best talent and the best size in the world,” Scola said.
The U.S. team has captured the last two gold medals and hasn’t lost a game in 10 years. While it would be surprising to see anyone else win in Rio, there are several capable opponents with NBA-level talent. Spain is a traditional power, but will be missing Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Argentina was the last nation to win gold besides the United States, but its roster built around Scola, Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni and Carlos Delfino has gotten old. France, Serbia, Lithuania and the host nation of Brazil are all talented enough to present problems.
That brings us to our question for today: Which team has the best chance at upsetting Team USA in Rio? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.