The USA Men's Basketball team is loaded with NBA superstars and primed to take home the gold in the 2012 London Olympics, but everyone in the international field is out to get them. Skilled teams like Argentina and Spain have more experience under international rules and have even managed to play as a unit for longer than the US squad, but nobody is looking for excuses on a team headlined by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Tyson Chandler.
Team USA has captured the gold medal in every Olympics since 1992 except for 2004 and they enter the tournament with the No. 1 world ranking according to FIBA, so Tom Ziller of SB Nation notes that people won't just be looking for another gold medal; anything less than complete domination will be considered a disappointment.
Here is a bit of what Ziller had to say:
Team USA cannot lose in basketball and be considered anything but an abject failure. That's a high standard to clear.
But to really be considered great in American lore, Team USA has to go further, has to obliterate everyone and everything. That could happen, too; Team USA was quite good in the friendly run despite looking as disjointed at times as you'd expect them to be. The second half against Spain, while a warm-up, was a bit shocking. Completely unstoppable guard play countered iffy interior help defense. Can this Team USA reach that standard and refuel the (generally annoying, pointless and irrelevant) debates about the Dream Team? We're about to find out!
For a complete preview of the Men's Basketball field, be sure to check out Ziller's team-by-team breakdown.
For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis. For comprehensive coverage of the 2012 London Games, visit SB Nation's Olympics news hub.