As the exhibition games come to a close, USA still looks like the favorite to win the gold in the Rio Olympics Basketball 2016. After successfully winning the gold in 2008 and 2012, the Americans will look to assert their basketball dominance again. So far, Team USA has steamrolled through international competition during their exhibition games.
Just like the previous national teams, Team USA is a collection of the best and finest NBA stars. Led by Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, the star-studded cast was handpicked by Coach K and Jerry Colangelo. As always, the 2016 Olympics Team USA was constructed to destroy opposing teams by showcasing superior depth, athleticism and talent.
However, a possible basketball upset can take place in the Rio Olympics Basketball 2016. The international teams have been improving over the past years. During the annual NBA Draft, there was a steady increase in international players getting drafted. To top it off, outside of Durant and Anthony, no one else in Team USA has Olympic experience. Because of these reasons, we have ranked the international teams that can possibly unseat Team USA.
8. Australia. The Aussies are currently ranked as FIBA’s 11th best basketball team in the world. NBA champion Patty Mills will look to lead the Australian Boomers. Mills is just one of the seven NBA players in their roster. The Boomers also feature a lot of size with Andrew Bogut acting as their front-court anchor. NBA mainstays Matthew Dellavedova and Joe Ingles are also at their disposal. Despite the talent and size, none of these players are considered impact players in the NBA. Inexperience and lack of athleticism on the perimeter will definitely hurt the Aussies.
7. Brazil. Currently ranked as FIBA’s 9th best basketball team, the Brazilians feature a lot of speed in their roster. Leandro Barbosa, Marcelo Huertas, Raul Neto give the Brazilians three guards who can attack the basket. NBA veteran Nene will also lead their post-scoring as well. The scoring will come easy, but their efforts on the defensive side remains to be a question. The absence of scrappy centers Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter will hurt the Brazilians size and interior defense.
6. Croatia. Brooklyn Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic led the team in the Olympic qualifying tournament, besting the likes of Greece and Italy. Bogdanovic’s presence will definitely give the Croatians a lot of firepower on the wings. Mario Hezonja of the Orlando Magic also gives them a reliable scoring threat. Despite these two players, all eyes will be on NBA rookie Dario Saric. The emerging power forward will give the Croatians an excellent play-maker and three-point shooter. Despite their talented wings, Team USA should feast on the Croatians’ thinness at point guard and center positions.
5. Serbia. The Serbians also cruised during the Olympic qualifiers, beating the Czech Republic and Puerto Rico by a combined 55 points. The Serbians also love to shoot with three-point marksman Bogdan Bogdanovic taking the lead. Nikola Jokic was also one of the better rookies last year, so look for him to have a breakout Olympic competition. However, the Serbians are considerably missing size as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica decided not to suit up for the national team. The Serbians will be also missing former NBA big man Nenad Krstic. With the absence of these two, look for Team USA to pound on the Serbians.
4. Argentina. The Argentinians definitely feature one of the most stacked teams in the Rio Olympics Basketball 2016 Tournament. They have been outstanding in international competition, claiming multiple medals in numerous international basketball competitions. NBA legend Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs will give his team a championship mindset. Luis Scola, another NBA veteran, will also look to anchor the team’s low-post scoring. The Argentinian roster also feature former NBA players Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni. With how their roster is constructed, the team will heavily relies on it three-point shooting. And if their shots are not falling, the Argentinians will be in a lot of trouble.
3. Lithuania. The Lithuanian national basketball team is the 3rd ranked team in FIBA. A big part of their success comes from their unique combination of size and skill. Their wings are capable scorers who can all knock down the three ball. Meanwhile, their bigs are led by Jonas Valanciunas and upcoming rookie Domantas Sabonis. These two should dominate the boards against most opponents. With their size and skill, experts predict that they will put a good fight against Team USA. However, their lack of depth at the point guard position may end up being their Achilles’ Heel as the Americans are stacked with talented point guards.
2. France. After dominating the Olympic qualifiers held in the Philippines last month, the French national team will look to keep their momentum going. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw gives the team championship-level experience. All around player, Nicolas Batum also decided to suit up for the French. Together with Nando de Colo, Batum will create havoc to opposing teams. The French are also stacked in the middle with big-men Rudy Gobert and Joffrey Lauvergne. With these players in the starting five, look for France to give Team USA many problems.
1. Spain. They are the second best team in the world according to FIBA rankings. They have won the silver medal in the past two Olympics, losing to Team USA both times. However, they gave the Americans a scare by losing by just 11 and 7 points respectively. The roster is loaded and features a slew of NBA players, most notably Pau Gasol. However, he’ll be missing his brother Marc Gasol as the big-man is currently nursing injuries. Despite Marc Gasol’s absence, the Spaniards will continue on giving Team USA problems.
With the Rio Olympics Basketball 2016 tournament just a few days away, who do you think will give Team USA the most problems? Lets us know by commenting below!
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