Blogtable: Can any team challenge the USA in Rio in 2016?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

 


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VIDEO: USA Basketball Showcase

>Qualifying for the Rio Summer Olympics continues this month with FIBA Americas and EuroBasket. Is there anybody out there who can truly challenge the USA in 2016?”

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com “Truly” challenge, as in stand toe-to-toe and slug it out with Team USA? No, I don’t think so. But as a squad capable of pulling off an upset, I wouldn’t want to sleep on Canada. The group of north-of-the-border NBA players is young – Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Cory Joseph, Andrew Nicholson – so 2020 might be a year in which Canada makes real Olympic noise, but even one year out is going to make a difference for a tight and budding squad.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.com:  With a full complement of elite players the United States is easily the class of the field. But a key to the success that Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski have brought back to the USA Basketball is having respect for the field. You wouldn’t want to sleep on a Spanish team with Pau and Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez or France with Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum and Rudy Gobert.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com:  Sure the U.S. can be challenged. The Olympics become a single-elimination tournament at some point, so anything is possible. And the rosters that have been together for years and play team ball are still dangerous. Spain is at the top of that list, while also noting that I like France’s possibilities as well. But it’s still Team USA’s gold to lose. The favorites before will be the favorites again.

Shaun Powell, NBA.comThe short answer is no. Under Jerry Colangelo and Coach K, the USA has shaped up and restored order in the basketball world. That said, in the future I’d keep a watch out on Canada and Australia.The Canadians under Steve Nash and with Andrew Wiggins and Co. are building something special. And Down Under, gaining steam is a growing generation of teens who are the children of American professional players.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: In no particular order, the next three best teams are France, Serbia and Spain. The U.S. has a huge advantage in regard to talent and depth, and they put Serbia away early in the gold medal game of last year’s World Cup. But both France and Spain – with more size, experience and athleticism – are better equipped to knock them off should they cross paths. The U.S. will be the heavy favorite in Rio next year, but a gold medal is never a given when it’s a single-elimination format with 40-minute games.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com:  With all due respect to the competition, they all know they are going to Rio to fight for second place. That’s not American arrogance on display, it’s just reality. Even if there is a team capable of challenging the U.S. for a quarter or two, the group Jerry Colangelo and Coach K have assembled (whatever the 12-man roster) should prove too strong and too deep for Spain, France, Canada or any other crew eager to play hero. A true challenger is not on the radar right now and perhaps not anytime soon, provided the USA Basketball machine remains dialed in and well stocked.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com The old contenders – Spain, France and Argentina – could still be hanging on, but the team to watch (pending its qualification for Rio) is going to be Canada. By 2020 the Canadians will be the main challengers to the US – and they may emerge as early as next summer.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: At the risk of sounding overconfident, when Team USA is at their full-strength, I don’t think anyone can challenge them. A lineup of Steph Curry, James Harden, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant would be dynamic and destructive, and that doesn’t even factor in a bench (Westbrook! CP3! Blake!) that could provide Coach K all sorts of mix and match options. Oh, and sure, Kobe we could use you, too. I assume the USA will meet stiff opposition along the way, perhaps from teams such as France or Spain or a younger team like Canada. But if Team USA is playing at their full potential, I think it will be a dream in Rio.

18 Comments

  1. DeandreSzz says:

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  2. nik says:

    lebron carmelo cp3 dwight wade bosh were all in the 2006 team that lost to Greece and if you can name 1 greek player from 2006 i d be very impressed.just because a national team doesnt have well marketed players like their counterparts doesnt mean they cant challenge the US .Greeks played smart and won.The high pick n roll was the genius strategy employed then.so apart from players, strategy and plays are key to beating the US team.Any of those teams can do it Spain (came very close) France Greece Serbia Croatia Lithuania etc. Noone in sports is unbeatable

  3. Badasi12b says:

    LOL team Canada is the Cleveland Cavaliers before Lebron made them trade for Kevin Love.

  4. DJC says:

    The USA will forever be favourites until basketball becomes a far bigger sport across the world domestically, its as simple s that. Sure, you will have good teams elsewhere, but nations such as Spain, Australia et al do not have the plethora of talent to pick from such as the US. Nor will international basketball be any fun to watch until it catches up with other world sports. I mean,the highest international accolade for basketball (and for ice hockey) is the Olympics…the Olympics??!! It doesn’t even have its own designated tournament!

  5. DAN says:

    serbia????? hello?????

  6. 1987Wue says:

    @NYK

    So you think that Croatia has better team then Serbia?Very interesting..let see that in next few weeks.

  7. I was on with Sekou & Lang to talk 2014 World Cup – http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/08/22/hang-time-podcast-episode-172-featuring-john-dimopoulos/ – Now for 2015 Eurobasket – I put my Top 10 teams List up – Greece Last to beat USA in 2006 – This 2015 Greek squad number 2 on my Eurobasket List – http://www.eurojohnbball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1910&Itemid=1

  8. Brandon Cho says:

    Regardless, Team USA cant be overshadowed. After those 3 guys off the bench you still have guys like John Wall, D.Lillard, Boogie Cousins, and klay thompson to show you how deep team USA really is. No one can stop them but themselves.

  9. Steve (Aussie by the way) says:

    USA by a mile or 20……

  10. mitch shine says:

    I think Australia will be putting up a fight in the future with the likes of exum and a new teenager by the name of thon maker!

  11. Dabomb says:

    In 2016 Russian and Lithuanian national teams will shine.
    They won’t win but will top USA at least once.

  12. Wes says:

    Philippines Got This!

  13. houstoncolby says:

    whatever rockets got ty lawson when he learns how to be in a cup we will be golden if the Clippers
    wouldnt have got lance stephenson and paul pierce and josh smith plus there three that they already had before.

  14. NYK says:

    The 2016 Olympics will be a chance for international teams with young players to put their talents on display, and get used to competing on a bigger stage, especially against the United States. Although the United States has the star power, several teams who will most likely be at the Olympics have bolstered their rosters since the last World Cup. Notably, Croatia is a team that has a slew of young players who may end up becoming stars in the NBA, including Mario Hezonja and Dario Saric. France has a chance of taking home the gold, as does Spain. Serbia should not have made it to the final of the World Cup in the first place, so I don’t think they’ll be able to reach the finals again. Neither Canada nor Australia is anywhere near capable of beating the U.S. now, but possibly in the future could take them down. My favorites are the United States, France, Spain, Croatia, and Brazil if they’re healthy

  15. harriethehawk says:

    Of course not. USA is the best in the whole wide world!

  16. epatour says:

    The last team that won USA was Greece so i will stay with them, Especially if Giannis keep growing and getting better.