Even without LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook, the USA men’s basketball team is still the most favorite team to win the gold in the upcoming Rio Olympics. Team USA has dominated almost every year from the time they allowed professional players to take part in 1992.
However, there are teams who are still posting a threat to stop the Team USA’s dominance. There are 12 teams who will be competing against each other for the Rio Olympics basketball tournament. These 12 teams are divided into two groups.
Group A: Australia, China, France, Serbia, USA, Venezuela
Group B: Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Lithuania, Nigeria, Spain
The Team USA suffered their most disappointing loss in 2004 Olympics where they only won the bronze medal. The team led by Allen Iverson had three losses mainly from Puerto Rico, Lithuania, and Argentina. Argentina and Italy won the gold and silver, respectively.
However, things have change and the Team USA makes sure that they are sending the best players in the Olympics as much as possible. Here are the 2016 USA men’s basketball roster:
Guards: Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson.
Forwards: Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George.
Centers: DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins.
Zach Harper of CBS Sports ranked the teams and came up with Spain and France as the top two teams who can be a potential headache to Team USA.
Team France is currently 5th in the FIBA ranking. They entered the Rio Olympics by winning the qualifying tournament this summer. The team is loaded with NBA talents led by the San Antonio Spurs superstar Tony Parker.
Guards: Tony Parker, Nando de Colo, Antoine Diot, Thomas Huertel.
Forwards: Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Mickael Gelabale, Florent Pietrus, Charles Lombahe-Kahudi.
Centers: Rudy Gobert, Joffrey Lauvergne, Kim Tillie.
Team Spain is currently 2nd in the FIBA ranking. Spain has always been the favorite team to rival the Team USA. The ‘Gasol Brothers’ led the team every Olympic games but they cannot hide the fact that both players are aging. Unfortunately, Marc Gasol will not be playing for Team Spain.
However, Team Spain is still loaded. Team USA should not take this team lightly since they are capable of upsetting them. The Team Spain has good outside shooters and can make strategic plays.
Guards: Ricky Rubio, Juan Carlos Navarro, Sergio Llull, Jose Calderon, Sergio Rodriguez.
Forwards: Rudy Fernandez, Nikola Mirotic, Victor Claver, Alex Abrines, Felipe Reyes.
Centers: Pau Gasol, Willy Hernangomez.
Team USA might be the favorite team to win the gold. However, most of the team they will be encountering will surely give their best for them to take the game seriously.
Photo courtesy: Christopher Johnson/Flickr.com