Leandro Barbosa was scoring at will on the FIBA Americas tournament with lesser resistance. He average about 27 points per game until Kobe came and eat Leandro alive with his suffocating defense. Barbosa scored a measly 4 points that night and Kobe with his entire offensive and defensive prowess is now the designated stopper on team USA.
Team USA mightily struggled to obtain the no.1 status in world basketball for two Olympics now. They have succumbed to Spain’s supremacy and are trying to get back to where they really started… on top.
So how would USA match-up against the growing number of talents around the world? Will Kobe, Lebron, Anthony and coach K finally went back to their glory days?
USA is on bracket B on the summer Olympics and could easily breeze their way against China (8/10/08) and Angola (8/12/08) but could very well feel the competition against Greece (8/14/08), Spain (8/16/08) and Germany (8/18/08).
Kobe will have his hands full against top scorers on their respective teams. The talent level on international competitions is getting higher. So how will Team USA handle the fight?
China– China’s twin towers Yao Ming and Ji Lian Yi will give team USA some problems and as the host team millions will be cheering and a hostile and boisterous crowd will be in full support to the highest level. Team USA’s composure will surely be tested.
Angola– This time Team USA would handle Angola easily though talent wise Angola has got what it takes to be on top but being in a soccer world country basketball might not be part of their country’s sports development. A raw and inexperience Angola team is no match for team USA.
Greece– We all remembered how Greece got a win against team USA some Olympics ago. The precise passing and team offense surely made team USA push the panic button. Although Greece this time will parade some new faces but their roster is still intact. Team USA whipped Greece on their exhibition match in Macau but theirs a big difference between exhibition and the real thing right?
Germany– the Dirk Nowitzki team could handle team USA defensively but I don’t think if they can handle them offensively. Just try to fathom Kobe, Lebron and Anthony all in one roster.
Spain– This would be the toughest test team USA will have throughout the tournament. Exhibition games and practices all roads lead to team Spain. They are the no.1 team in the world but as mighty as they might think team Russia exposed Spain’s flaws as Russia handed Spain a loss in FIBA Europe.
Team USA will have the chance for redemption but they will have to go through nails to be on top. Teams are preparing for them and will give all their best to get a monumental upset. The World is closing in on basketball and talent alone doesn’t give you any advantage… They cant count on Kobe or Lebron alone they will have to play as a team.
Defense wins games. A designated stopper would have to be team USA not Kobe in perspective. So how will USA fare with other teams? I think the level of competition this time would be so much different. They will always be the team to beat and I do believe this time they will grab the gold with pride and redemption but then again all remains to be seen…