As the Opening Ceremonies will welcome the 2012 summer Olympics, the U.S. Olympic team is only days away from competing for a gold medal. Lets take a look at the players, coaches, competition and the path the U.S. will have to navigate to bring home another gold.
Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
This will be Krzyzewki’s fourth Olympics, but his second as head coach of the team. He was an assistant on the 1984 and 1992 “Dream Team” under the late Chuck Daly and he was the head coach of the 2008 “Redeem Team”. Coach K, currently the head coach at Duke University, got his 903rd victory this season making him the winningest coach in NCAA history.
The Starters: PG – Chris Paul, SG – Kobe Bryant, SF – LeBron James, PF – Kevin Durant, C – Tyson Chandler
The starting lineup will feature 4 of the best players in the NBA and 2012 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant form a lethal backcourt, with Paul’s court vision and Bryant’s ability to get to the basket they will be tough to defend. LeBron has the size to play the 4 in international play, but will play small forward and spread the court with his outside shooting. Kevin Durant will make it tough to guard him because he has more range and quickness than a typical big man. Chandler is not needed to do much on the offensive end but the hope is for him to be a shot blocking monster in the middle.
Bench: Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, James Harden, Deron Williams, Anthony Davis, Andre Iguodala, Russell Westbrook
There are three very important players on this bench that could really help the U.S. in the long run. Carmelo Anthony’s sensational three-point ability will add another dimension off the bench and something the other team will need to pay attention to. Russell Westbrook’s energy and athleticism will be needed in games where the offense is a bit stagnant and there is not much energy on the floor. Love will bring superb rebounding ability and above average defense to give big man fits inside. Williams will be a nice backup to Paul because both have amazing court vision and passing ability.
Competition: Spain and Argentina
The Spaniards will be the country that will stand in the way of another gold medal for the U.S. With 5 or 6 NBA players on their roster, they match up the best with the Americans. They have a veteran point guard in Jose Calderon and the Gasol brothers to pound in the paint. The U.S. will not see Spain until the gold medal game. Argentina will be the last game the Americans will play in the preliminary round. With an inside game of Luis Scola and the driving ability and peskiness of Manu Ginobili they will cause some problems as well.