USA Basketball: Better Than 2008?

LAS VEGAS — Can this team be better than 2008?

The question will be asked a thousand times more between now and July 29 and likely a thousand time more after the U.S. team kicks off their quest for gold at the London Olympics.

So the players, coaches, support staff, family members and assorted friends and associated affiliated with USA Basketball should be prepared for the non-stop comparisons to the team that won gold in Beijing.

With six first-time Olympians on this roster, that sort of talk might seem like a bit much before anyone has ever seen this particular group in any real live (and not in a “friendly”) competition. That won’t stop the better than ’08 talk, though, and U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski knows as much.

Yet even with the injury absences to key players from that 2008 team — Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh — no one in this camp is backing away from sky-high expectations.

“I think, this team has the potential to be that (better), if we were to use our versatility,” Krzyzewski said. “This is a more versatile team than 2008, but does that translate into being better? LeBron [James] is a better player right now. He was a was real good then, but he’s a great player right now. Carmelo [Anthony] is a better player. Chris [Paul] and Deron [Williams] are better players. I think Kobe [Bryant] maintains his level of who he is. Although we don’t have the center, that team didn’t have [Kevin] Durant and [Russell] Westbrook. So it’s a different team and we’ll see if it becomes better. But it can be, it could be.”

Anthony made it clear that the first and only mission for this team is to bring home the gold medal. But if there are comparisons to be made, so be it.

“We want to be [better than 2008],” he said. “That’s our goal. We want to go over there and win every game. We were successful in 2008 it was doing what we do. and we want to carry that on in London and bring that gold home.”

The trade offs between 2008 and 2012 are as close to equal as you can get, the most dominant big man in basketball in Howard for the most dominant scorer in the game (Durant). The man known formerly known as “Flash” in Wade for the player who embodies the moniker more than anyone these days in Westbrook.

And while Kevin Love and Blake Griffin might not be the fit that Chris Bosh was on the 2008 team, their combined talents dwarf anything a wounded Bosh could have given them in London.

“You don’t have Bosh, Dwight and Dwyane, those three in particular,” Krzyzewski said. “But the people who come in there are Westbrook, who is going to be there his entire career, Durant is unbelievable and then you have young bigs in Love and Blake Griffin who, I’m not saying they are Dwight Howard or Chris Bosh, but they’re very good players.”

16 Comments

  1. tacook26 says:

    This team would be better with the inclusion of DeMarcus Cousins instead of Kevin Love or Blake Griffin. He would solve all of their big man problems.

  2. dexter reyes says:

    if the Dream Team is having some problems with size, there’s Andrew Bynum, Roy Hibbert & Lamarcus Aldridge who are very talented & could really help in terms of size factor. They’ve got a lot of scorers already, i think they should get bigger due to the physical play of the international basketball

  3. Rocabye says:

    The only loss this time suffered was Derrick Rose. Bosh isn’t missed when you got Kevin Love, jus sayin. Dwade has not been playing like the 2008 Dwade so he’s not missed either. Derrick Rose was the one big ouchy.

  4. InterestedBrit says:

    as an outsider looking in, i dont see how this team could lose: it has the four top scorers in the NBA last year and with all that athleticism, they could easily win evry game by 20 , 30 points, indeed , should do.

  5. Amitpal says:

    One thing I don’t get. How come amare wasn’t asked to tryout. I mean he was there last olymipics and I thought would be a good fit at center. He’s not a great rounder but he can block shots is 6″11 and can shoot the ball very well from midrange.

  6. Amitpal says:

    If this team was fully healthy there’s no doubt this team would have been better. It wouldn’t be as good as the dream team still but a lot better then the 2008 team. That team didn’t have Derrick rose, Kevin Durant, Westbrook, Kevin love. And I think even if chris bosh was healthy he still wouldn’t have made the team was Kevin love is better then chris bosh. He’s a better rebounder shooter and scorer. That team would have been: cp3, Derrick rose, deron Williams, russel Westbrook, Kobe, dwade, lebron, KD, melo, Kevin love, Dwight Howard, and I’d put Blake griffin a head of chris bosh, just cuz Blake changes it up from a shooting PF like Kevin to a more attacking and athletic PF. Chis kind of gives u the same as Kevin love. Plus Blake is a better rebounder and far more athletic.

    • Tre says:

      Umm Kevin Love And Chris Bosh Are Equally Good Scorers And Shooters But Bosh Is A Better Defender And Love Is A Better Rebounder In Conclusion Chris Bosh >Kevin Love

  7. Twenty Seven says:

    Oops, I’m wondering will we see Ibaka blocking Durant’s shooting exhibition :D

  8. GILTZ says:

    Go USA team..spain is their good match up but they cannot guard durant and james ..

  9. RM says:

    Not saying Westbrook is bad but comparing him to 2008 Wade must be a joke, D.Wade was killing it, he was the team top scorer shoting 75% while coming off the bench, wish i could see him playing like that again.

  10. AL Serdan says:

    yeah! I really believed on this team can do all positive expectations! Go USA

  11. Travis says:

    Griffin changes everything! He might not be the most talented player but the intimidation factor is now there with Griffin in the line up! When it’s all said and done we’ll see what kind of team this is. This team looks like an all star game!

  12. EAbjornEA says:

    USA for gold, even though I think they might have troubles with Spain, if you look at their team: Ibaka, Gasol, Fernandez, and they have some other decent players, plus they know how to play europian style..

  13. Bob says:

    I think the size issue isn’t an issue at all. Love, Griffin, Chandler, and Durant are all big players, plus the whole group can rebound and defend. This will be a great team. I just hope they clamp down a press and wear people out. This is truly a team that can “cut your heart out.” Go USA Basketball, don’t let the world breathe when they get on the court with you.

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