Thursday , Jul , 26 , 2012 Matt Formica

Team USA Will Win Gold Despite Tougher Competition

Team USA Will Win Gold Despite Tougher Competition

With a 100-78 victory over Spain yesterday, the USA Men’s basketball team capped off a perfect 5-0 in their exhibition schedule.

Hoopsvibe’s Quick, and Fairly Obvious Call:  Team USA will win gold in London.

After trailing by a double-digit deficit at one point in the first quarter, Team USA stepped on the gas and never looked back, defeating Spain in their final exhibition game by 22.  Spain, led by brothers Gasol, became the 5th victim of Team USA this exhibition season.  Team USA had previously beaten the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Great Britain and Argentina before their win over the Spaniards, maintaining a 26.6 average margin of victory over their competition.

Lebron James and Kevin Durant led the scoring charge this exhibition season, with Lebron averaging 18.6 and Durant 17.6 points per game respectively.  Durant led the team in rebounds per game with 5 with Lebron right behind him at 4.8.  Lebron, Deron Williams and Chris Paul were all tied for most assists per game with 4.

Note:  After coming off one of the most impressive individual performances in NBA postseason history, Lebron James continues to dominate the stat sheet and be the best all around player for Team USA.  And my guess is, he will help lead his team to the gold medal just as he led the Miami Heat to the NBA championship this year.  I digress…

But even though I think Team USA will be donning gold once again, I don’t think it will be as easy of a road as it was for the Dream Team of ’92.  Here are the two reasons why:

First off, with the exception of Isaiah Thomas, every major superstar in the league was on the team for the ’92 Olympics and in the peak of their careers.  Jordan, Bird, Magic, Ewing, Pippen, Drexler, Malone, Barkley, Robinson, to name a few.  While this year’s team is still full of the league’s best talent, they are playing without Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard; all of whom are out with injuries.

The second reason, in my opinion, is more significant.  With the NBA continuing to grow exponentially on a global scale, there are more international stars in the league today than there were in 1992.  For example, let’s take a look at France, Team USA’s first 2012 Olympic opponent.  (USA will begin their Olympic quest against France this Sunday).  In 1992, not one (I repeat, NOT ONE) player on the French national team had any NBA experience.  The 2012 French team, on the other hand, consists of Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Ronny Turiaf, Kevin Seraphin and Nicolas Batum; all of whom have played and competed in the NBA against the likes of Team USA. 

Argentina, the team who gave the Americans their most competitive exhibition game (only losing by 6 points), are led by Manu Ginobli, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni and Carlos Delfino.  Again, all guys with NBA experience. 

The Dream Team did not face as much international NBA competition.  It’s just a fact.

I don’t think anyone disagrees that the 2012 Team USA is destined for gold.  They are a damn good team and clearly the best team in the field.  But the reality is, the growing interest in the NBA on an international scale is making the Olympic game more competitive.  Plain and simple. 

And while the ’92 Dream Team may have been the "best team ever assembled," I think we will all look back one day and realize that their road to gold was much more nicely paved.

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Image source:  WENN images.