To get you ready for the Olympics, here is a small post about Team USA. A Beef Slider if you will.
With the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympic Games being held tonight, it is just mere hours until Team USA tips off to start their defense of the gold medal.
Much has been written about the perceived weakness, namely frontcourt size, that could be trouble when facing some of the taller teams in the Olympics. Those teams are Spain and Brazil. However, this incarnation of Team USA was built this way on purpose. Yes, several key big men, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh, opted out of the summer games because of injuries that needed to be tended to, but there are quite a number of big men that Jerry Colangelo and Coach K could have brought with them to London. The fact is they didn’t. They have opted for a different style of play.
Much like the Excelsior, this manifestation of Team USA is a great experiment. Yet, the two brains behind the current upsurge in U.S. basketball have experimented before. In 2010, the United States fielded a remarkably similar lineup, small that is, at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey. As is the case with the current Olympic roster, Tyson Chandler was the only true center in Turkey. All of this is by design.
Big equates to slow and lumbering in basketball terminology. Therefore, this team is versatile, lengthy, and quick. Very quick. In their five friendlies leading up to the start of the Olympics, Team USA used those qualities to harass the opposing ball handler the length of the court subsequently creating turnovers. In the open floor, offensively, is where this team shines.
In the half court the offense has stagnated at times against larger frontcourts as the paint has been walled off. If jumpshots aren’t falling then Team USA could be seen as struggling but they will recover. This is an incredibly deep team with superstars subbing in all over the place, Anthony Davis aside.
Buy into the the worries about size that some have put out there if you wish. It’s your right to doubt this team even if it is unfounded. The 2012 version of Team USA should win the gold medal. Will they blow out every team like the Dream Team did on their way to the gold? Probably not, international competition is vastly superior today than it was in 1992. That said, the U.S. should have convincing wins across the board as they step onto the highest podium. They are the best team in the world.
Here is a full schedule of all the basketball games in the Olympics.