If the United States men do not walk out of the 2016 Summer Olympics with the Gold Medal, it will be a complete failure.
For almost all other sports, finishing in the top three in the world is a great accomplishment. However, for the U.S., the talent on the mens roster is by far and away better than every other country in the tournament.
The normal measuring stick for every other country is to count how many NBA players it has on the roster. If the team has a small handful, that team is usually considered one of the best, after the U.S., of course.
For the United States, not only is the entire team made up of NBA players, but they are the best of the best. Even without LeBron James or Stephen Curry, the United States’ roster is stacked.
Although the U.S. is better on paper, the games still need to be played.
Anything can happen in sports; that’s why the games are played. Who knows, maybe one of the other countries can upset the United States.
While it’s unlikely, here are three teams who have the best chance at upsetting the loaded United States Mens Basketball team.
1. Spain – FIBA World Ranking: 2
Spain has been able to assemble quite a powerful team with a large number of NBA players. They have finished with the silver medal in the last two Summer Olympics.
If the players on the Spain roster were put on one NBA team, they would be able to compete for a playoff spot.
Spain’s roster includes both Gasol brothers, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Mirotic and Jose Calderon. That would be quite the starting five in the NBA.
Spain has a total of eight players who currently play in the NBA.
The talent doesn’t match up to the United States, but the top players on Spain have played with and around the superstars on the U.S. roster which gives Spain an advantage most of the other countries do not have.
2. France – FIBA World Ranking: 5
France doesn’t have as many NBA players as the United States, or even Spain for that matter, but the ones they do have are very well respected in the league.
France’s starting five could consist of Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert.
They also hold the same advantage of playing with and around the United States’ players, but the depth is going to be France’s biggest issue.
The team would need to catch the United States on an extreme off night to have a chance to win.
3. Argentina – FIBA World Ranking: 4
Since 1992, the United States has won the gold medal in five out of the last six Olympic games. The only other team to win a gold medal during that time was Argentina, back in 2004.
Argentina isn’t filled with NBA talent, but they always play well in World Tournaments.
The team has a few players who either currently play in the NBA, or did at some point in their career.
Argentina’s notable players include Manu Ginobli, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni and Carlos Delfino.
Most of the team’s best players are far beyond their prime, but never count out a team which knows how to play together.