Olympic men's basketball: Five story lines

  • Updated: July 21, 2012 - 9:15 PM
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Spain's Paul Gasol

Photo: Gus Ruelas, Associated Press

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1 DREAM TEAM? NOT QUITE

The U.S. squad, which has won four of the past five gold medals, including the last one in 2008 in Beijing, is favored to again take home the top prize. But any conversation about whether this is the best U.S. team ever -- better, even, than the 1992 Dream Team -- has likely been derailed by injuries that are preventing several top players -- Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Blake Griffin -- from participating.

2 WATCH OUT FOR SPAIN'S SIZE

The Spaniards could give plenty of foes -- including Team USA -- problems because of their size up front. Brothers Pau and Marc Gasol are on the front line, along with Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka, who played for Spanish clubs for three years before moving to the NBA in 2009 and became a Spanish national last year. Of course, they will surely miss their dynamic point guard, Ricky Rubio, who is still out because of a torn ACL suffered with the Wolves last season.

3 TIRED LEGS

After a condensed NBA season caused by the lockout, fatigue could be a factor in London. The NBA Finals, featuring Team USA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant, finished barely a month ago. "How we navigate going from that season to the Olympics will be a really important thing for us to do," Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "and if we navigate it well, then we'll have a real good chance at winning it."

4 WELCOME TO ANONYMITY

Members of Team USA and stars from other countries might find themselves with a little more breathing room than they would normally have. "Basketball is an unknown quantity in this country," said Chris Mitchell, who calls Britain's basketball games for BBC Radio. "People don't understand it. They don't know the rules."

5 WORTH NOTING

Argentina is the top opponent in Team USA's group, featuring top talent led by the Spurs' Manu Ginobili. ... Also in the group, but more as a feel-good story just for getting there and not as a legitimate contender: Tunisia, which qualified for the Olympics in men's basketball for the first time ever.

TEAM USA ROSTER

Name Pos. NBA team

Carmelo Anthony F Knicks

Kobe Bryant G Lakers

Tyson Chandler C Knicks

Anthony Davis F Hornets

Kevin Durant G Thunder

James Harden G Thunder

Andre Iguodala G/F 76ers

LeBron James F Heat

Kevin Love F Timberwolves

Chris Paul G Clippers

Russell Westbrook G Thunder

Deron Williams G Nets

  • GROUPS

    A

    Argentina

    France

    Lithuania

    Nigeria

    Tunisia

    United States

    B

    Australia

    Brazil

    China

    Great Britain

    Russia

    Spain

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