Two teams that will be the biggest competition for the star-studded USA men’s basketball team are Argentina and Spain.
Argentina: Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs) and Luis Scola (Phoenix Suns) lead the Argentines. Ginobili has played in two Olympics including the 2004 games when Argentina won the Gold Medal. Former NBA player Andres Nocioni is also on the Argentina squad. The ex-Chicago Bull currently plays in Spain. Argentina gave the USA a great fight in an exhibition game on Sunday in a six-point loss.
Spain: The Spanish have the best size in the Olympics with Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) and Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder). Ricky Rubio is out with an injury, which is a huge blow to Spain’s Gold Medal hopes. Spain lost their tune-up to the USA on Tuesday in Barcelona by the score of 100-78. Marc Gasol didn’t play because of injury.
How to beat the USA: Team USA is stacked, but they have some flaws. The low-post depth is a concern for the Americans. Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh are out injured, which leaves the USA thin on the frontline. Tyson Chandler will start at center. Kevin Love and Anthony Davis are the other natural power forwards on the roster, but lack experience. Spain can beat the USA if they dominate the paint and get Chandler into foul trouble. Another way to beat the USA is hope they struggle from behind the three-point arc. Long range shooting is vital in international basketball and the three-point line is closer than in the NBA. Besides Kevin Durant, there isn’t a great three-point shooter on the USA. If Durant struggles one game then the USA could be in trouble.
It will be a challenge for a team to win a Gold Medal over the USA, but it is certainly possible.
Story by HS News Sports Reporter: Nate Jacobson