Olympic Games Tokyo 2021: USA, favorites with doubts

The United States is a clear favorite for gold in Tokyo, but there are more doubts than Scariolo. For the Spanish coach, “gold is reserved.”

The US team celebrates the victory against Spain.AP

deka sergio scariolo after defeat against America The Olympic gold reserve is in Las Vegas (83–76). “If they play to their full potential, no one can win a medal. It’s realistic and nobody wants to be fooled,” he argued. But the rot of the Spanish coach is contrary to the suspicion that . team of Greg Popovich during preparation. since Jerry Colangelo and Kobe Bryant He revived Olympic glory in Beijing 2008, the United States had not come up with such a lackluster project.

Scariolo’s argument is straightforward: pound for pound, no team can come close to America’s talent. only with Kevin Durant and Damien Lillard He has two players who are out of worldly reach. The Durant is a 2.10 specimen containing a thousand records of the mobility of an escort and the torment of the hoop and hoop on the wrist. One of the best scorers in history. Lillard, among many other things, one of those shooters for whom there are no limits. There is little defense against it.

But at the same time it is undeniable that Sunday’s Olympic dress for this selection did not shine like the previous editions. Only in the last week have they suffered casualties. Bradley Beal, second top scorer in the NBA, and kevin love, London 2012 veteran. And Riley has been a player of war, Keldon Johnson, Popovich’s trusted player in San Antonio, and Javale McGee. Johnson stood against Spain (15 points in 18 minutes), but McGee traveled to Tokyo without playing with the team.

the list is in the air

And that, when they will be able to count on it, is one of the uncertainties that surround this selection of the United States. Since Devin Booker, another great scorer, jury holidaythe base of those who do not have an adequate and exceptional defender, and chris middleton They are still playing in the NBA Finals. In the best cases, if Milwaukee wins Game 6, they will go free. But if Phoenix is ​​in seventh place, they won’t finish until the early hours of Thursday through Friday. And the United States makes its debut against France on Sunday.

When Popovich was asked what he expected of him, he was as clear as he could. “I do not know”. They will come eight months straight without a break and a playoff in which they average 40 minutes per game. Middleton is a tradable piece, but Booker and to a lesser extent Holiday were called upon to grow up on the team. Neither travel to Zach LaVine, nor have close contact with a positive. How much room they have for customization will depend on how you roll the team. and it’s also unknown

Because uncertainty is common to everyone in a pandemic (Beal’s positive, Jeramy Grant), the United States has had an odd year in the NBA, after last year with little rest and a schedule narrowed to the max in order to fit into the playoffs before the Olympic Games. This alone was the reason for the resignation of many stars and injury to others. According to the AP, in two weeks he’s only been able to do six training sessions, and pull sparring to complete the team.

After the failure of the 2019 World Cup, where he signed off on his worst result with a seventh-place finish, the United States sees these games as an opportunity to re-establish their dominance. And in brilliance, pound for pound, even with casualties he’s up a notch. He has great scorers like Booker or Lavin. Very versatile interiors like Draymond Green or Bam Adebayo. Multi-purpose wings like Jason Tatum or Middleton. And two trap cards like Lillard and Durant.

If they play to their full potential, as Scariolo said, the gold is safe. The point is that he is closer to the team than the South in 2016, heavy in the final, but with wins along the way compared to the talent he saved in Beijing 2008 or London 2012.