The first Sunday of the Olympic Games in Tokyo features, among other attractions, the start of the men’s basketball tournament. As usual, the North American team is the overwhelming favorite for the competition. Even without the likes of Lebron James and Kawhi Leonard, the team is packed with NBA stars.
Among the key players are three athletes who are in contention for the NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks. However, they are not the only big names in this group, including the highlights of teams like the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and Portland Trail Blazers.
The squad for the US national team
The roster of the United States team for the Olympics is full of stars. The top two are Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. The duo is expected to lead Gregg Popovich’s team inside the courts in Tokyo. However, they will have plenty of company.
Among the finalists in the NBA, which is currently being contested, three names will be at the Olympics. Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns and the duo Khris Middleton and the Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks are among those. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors are also noteworthy.
The first-round line-up puts heavyweights in the way
Right from the group stage of the Olympics, the United States will have some significant challenges. The main one will be in their opening game against France. The French team is one of the favorites to win the gold medal and has the likes of Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and Nicolas Batum of the Los Angeles Clippers in their ranks.
In addition to France, another European team stands in the way of the Americans. The Czech Republic qualified for the Pre-Olympics and will hope Chicago Bulls forward Tomas Satoransky can lead them into the quarter-finals. Closing out the group, the USA will also face Iran, which should not be too much trouble.
Who could stand in the way of the USA’s bid for gold?
There are at least four teams in contention to stand in the way of the USA’s bid for gold. The main one is Spain, which has already come close in 2008 and 2012, and now wants to climb to the highest place on the podium. Names like Marc Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers and Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves promise to lead the team in this mission.
It is impossible not to highlight Argentina, which also counts on Luis Scola, as well as Facundo Campazzo, of the Denver Nuggets, to surprise. Finally, Australia, which has several NBA players, such as Joe Ingles of the Utah Jazz, also enters this fight. As already mentioned, France is another team that can upset the American plans.