The US Men’s Basketball Olympic Team will look decidedly different from the team that hoops fans are used to seeing wearing the stars and stripes in the Olympics. Kobe Bryant has retired. LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry won’t play due to either the Zika virus or actual injuries.
Does that mean that the U.S. Olympic Team is vulnerable in Brazil? Should Coach K worry about this group? And, if he is worrying, who are the best teams to take down the Stars and Stripes?
A Closer Look At My 2016 Men’s Basketball Olympic Gold Medal Pick
The Betting Odds-On Favorite To Win The Men’s Basketball Gold In Rio: United States 1/10
Even without King James, Russell and Steph, the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team is far and away the best unit at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Going to Rio will be Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Kyle Lowry, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes, DeAndre Jordan and DeMar DeRozan.
The United States has plenty of firepower to remain the world’s best basketball nation. Durant, Green, Anthony, Irving and Thompson alone will make life difficult for teams behind the three-point line while nobody can out rebound Jordan and Cousins. U.S.A. should roll at 1 to 10 odds.
The Smart Bet To Win The Men’s Basketball Gold In Rio: Spain 15/1
If any team can beat Team U.S.A., it’s probably Spain. Pau Gasol, Spain’s best player, will suit it up in Brazil after considering taking this one off due to the Zika virus. At 36 years of age, Gasol is still a mighty fine basketball player. He doesn’t necessarily have as much oomph in his step as he has in the past, though. That could be a problem. I like Gasol to take the Spaniards far in this tournament before U.S.A.’s incredible talent takes over.
The Longshot Bet To Win The Men’s Basketball Gold In Rio: Brazil 25/1
Strange things happen to the home team in major tournaments. Usually, the 2014 World Cup notwithstanding, the home team plays much better in tournaments on their home field or in this case, home court. Brazil has a shot, due to its rich basketball history (remember Oscar Schmidt?), to play very well on the hard court at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But that’s pretty much it. Tradition and home fans should take the Brazilians far. Who knows? A couple of key injuries, or even a few dropouts on the U.S. side and maybe Brazil pulls off a shocker.
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