United states basketball team caused a lot of criticism after they only won bronze at 2004 Olympics in Athens. Four years later, the so called “Redeem team” fought against those criticism and won the golden medal in Beijing, comfortably like never before. They fielded the NBA finest and leaded by LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade and many other great individuals comfortably won the golden medal, by beating Spain 118-107, which was labeled as one of the greatest victories for the US team. Beside players who deserve every credit for this achievement, we also need to look up the mastermind of the whole operation, coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K made the name for himself by guiding several University teams, most notably Duke University. Despite the fact that several players will miss the Summer Olympics 2012 due to injury, many believe that United States are still hot favorites for the upcoming tournament. They proved this once again, by demolishing Spain, their main rivals in London, 100-78 in an exhibition match played earlier this week. The events for the Olympic tournament will be played in Basketball Arena in Stanford, London.
United States announced its final 12 man squad on July 7th , but the squad was later revised as LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin pulled out of the team due to injury he received during the training with the US team. He was replaced by this year’s first pick in NBA draft Anthony Davis from New Orleans Hornets. 2008 stars LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams and Chris Paul return to the team and with some new young forces that won the 2010 World championship in Turkey, United States once again have a great chance to win the gold.
The players that will represent the young forces really look amazing and I can see them taking the baton of the US basketball in the future. Beside the mentioned players, US team. Oklahoma City Thunder duo James Harden and Russell Westbrook are the future of American basketball and many see them as a great replacement for Bryant at the guard position. Another player from the Thunders will play a big role at the upcoming tournament: we are talking of course about Kevin Durant, who is currently, beside James, probably the Unites States greatest asset. Andre Iguodala and Kevin Love round up the forward positions. What many see as the US woundable point is the position of the center, the so called “Four”. Not because Tyson Chandler looks unreliable, but simply because he is the only true center in the whole squad. Arguably one of the best centers in the world, will need plenty of help from Love and Westbrook in order to play the entire tournament. The positive thing is the fact that the aforementioned players have all participated at the last world championship in Turkey, so they are very well organized.
Although the team looks very comfortable individually, it is still questionable how will they fit in. The 2008 team and 2010 team were very different and this 2012 squad features the best available from both, so it is still unclear who will they cooperate in the tournament. The pre-tournament friendly matches gave them a lot of hope that they have a chance to defend the title this summer.
United States will face France in the first round on 29th of July. They expect the strongest challenge in the group stage to come from Argentina, the 2004 golden medal winners. However, their main contesters for the gold will definitely be Spain, led by the Gasol brothers. I am still confident that US will defend the title won four years ago in Beijing, because their team is simply: Dream team.