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Top 5 Reasons Why Team USA is Finally Going to Reign Supreme Once Again.

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I don’t know about you, but I have been absoltely disgusted with USA basketball over the past few years. Ever since professional players were allowed to play in international competitions, Americans have been used to seeing the NBA’s perrenial all-stars dominate the competition. However, that has all come to a grinding halt. Starting in 2000, the United States began an international freefall that has continued up until the present time. In 2002, the USA took a lousy 6th place in Indianapolis. Then, in 2004, America’s finest could only bring home a bronze medal, losing in the semi-finals. But, that is all going to end next year in Beijing. The following are the top 5 reasons (in no particular order) why the Men’s National Basketball can expect nothing but success in the upcoming Olympic Games.

1. Team USA finally has a true point guard – In the past, subpar ball handling has led to costly turnovers in key situations for team USA. Yes, Team USA is more talented and more athletic than any other team around. But that can take you only so far. Once the threshhold of talent is met, execution comes into play, something that has escaped Team USA over the past few years. This time around, though, Jason Kidd is leading the team. With Kidd’s amazing vision and speed, Team USA should be running on all cylinders in Beijing.

2. Shooting – With the closer 3-point line and a wider lane, the international game is taylor-made for teams with good shooting. In the past, Team USA has fallen short because of mediocre shooting, despite its overwhelming edge over the competition in athleticism. This year, though, Team USA can flat out shoot. Thus far in the preliminary rounds of qualifying, it seems as if Michael Redd and Mike Miller just can’t miss. They can hit from anywhere. Also, not only are these guys a threat themselves, but as the they continue to light it up from beyond the arc, their counterparts are forced to honor their shooting ability which leaves the big men room to operate inside, scoring and grabbing rebounds. Compile that with the shooting threat of Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony and you can see why Team USA is going to put up a lot of points come 2008.

3. Defense – Because of the fact that the international game is geared towards more of a free-flowing game, in order for a team to be successful, it has to have big men who can cover a lot of ground. This year the USA has just that. Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard are all big men who can move. Not only do they have the ability to block shots near the hoop, they can close out 3-point shooting as easily as some guards. Furthermore, in the front court Team USA has players like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Tayshaun Prince, whose quickness and length is more than most shooters can handle. This has become very apparent in the preliminaries as team USA has utterly destroyed the competition.

4. Time – In the past, Team USA has hashed out a makeshift roster a few weeks before big tournaments. But not this time. It seems as if Mike and Mike (Krzyzewski and D’Antoni) have learned their lesson. Now, Team USA is preparing for the subtleties and rigors of the international game. As evident from recent preformances, the US has become adept at running the zone defense, something that is very important in the international game. Also, the time that Team USA has taken to get to know each other is paying off, as the players just seem to know the ins and outs of each others game. This kind of intimate knowledge has served as a definite advantage for other teams in the past. But in Beijing, Team USA will be on an even playing field in terms of team cohesivenss.

5. Scoring Depth – The simple fact of the matter is that other international teams just don’t have enough depth or talent to cover all of the Americans. Look at this list of scorers: Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Michael Redd, Lebron James, Mike Miller, Amare Stoudemire, Chancey Billups and Dwight Howard. Almost every single one of the aforementioned players is the leading scorer on his respective team. When Lebron James is the 4th option, you have a scary team on your hands. What is the opposition going to do? Double Kobe and Carmelo and leave the rest of them open for easy jumpers and monster dunks or guard them one on one and get torn apart. It just doesn’t look too promising for opposing defenses in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

My picks for Beijing: Gold – USA, Silver – Serbia, Bronze – Argentina

Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales for Robbins Sports and Athletics, an online resources for top of the line Basketball Uniforms and Gym Bags.