Basketball Olympics Who Will Take Home the Gold?
Heading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, basketball has been looked at as one of the most intriguing sports this year due to all the change there has been since the 2016 season. Below are my top 3 countries I picked to take home the gold.
Like every other Olympics, it is not surprising that Team USA are the favorites to win it all. After all, they have guys like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, etc. On paper, they have the most talent just like they do every time the Olympics roll around.
Some things this year however are different than they were before. Longtime coach Mike Krzyzewski retired, with longtime San Antonio Spurs coach, Gregg Popovich, taking over.
Coach K and Popovich are known to be the best coaches in all of basketball. Thus, I am not expecting a drop-off per se. Nonetheless, it is a change that the players are not accustomed to.
A few curveballs as well have also come Team USA’s way less than a week away before they head to Tokyo. Washington Wizards guard, Bradley Beal, was forced to withdraw from the team due to health and safety protocols while Cavs forward, Kevin Love, withdrew due to injury recovery. To make matters worse, there have been rumors that Zach LaVine’s status with the team is also up in the air.
Not to mention three guys on the team in Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are all playing in The NBA Finals currently. It is tough to imagine how physically and mentally exhausted they must be after such a long season.
In their first few exhibition games, Team USA stumbled and lost games to Nigeria and Australia. Yes, they are exhibition games which is why I do not want to read much into it. With that being said, Team USA cannot expect to just show up and play nonchalantly in Japan.
I am still picking Team USA to take home the gold, but it is definitely not a shoo-in like it has been in past years.
The biggest threat to Team USA could be Australia. After all, they did beat them not too long ago in the exhibition games. Headlining their team includes Chris Golding, Jock Landale, Jazz’s guard Joe Ingles, and Raptors big man Aaron Baynes.
Australia is a team that plays great fundamental basketball. They obviously do not have the best talent in the world, but they do play the game the right way led by Head Coach Brian Goorjian.
Look for Australia to control the pace and take care of the basketball as much as they can, especially if they face Team USA again.
The key to beating Team USA is indeed limiting their transition play and keeping the pace slow. If Team Australia can do that, they will have a puncher’s chance to pull off the upset and take home the gold this year.
Spain is a country that is known for producing decent NBA players. After all, they are responsible for the Gasol brothers, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Juancho Hernangomez, Willy Hernanmogez, etc.
Because Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez are pretty long in the tooth, they will have to rely on guys like Ricky Rubio, Sergio Llull, Victor Claver, etc. to pick up the slack.
Spain has always been known to be well-coached and play the game the right way fundamentally. At the end of the day, however, they are going to have to hope to get hot from the perimeter and come up with plays defensively if they are going to stand a chance against the premier teams.