July 24, 2012; Barcelona, SPAIN; USA forward LeBron James (6) scores in an exhibition game in preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games at Palau Sant Jordi. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
LeBron James, always a lightning rod for controversy, declared before the start of the 2012 Olympics that this year's American team could beat the forever popular 1992 Dream Team. After seeing the first game against France, I think it's clear this year's team could be the best USA team since the Dream Team's of the 1990's. The combination of raw talent, elite athleticism, and a willingness to play tactically is what could separate this team from the rest of the teams since 1996.
Kevin Durant led the way on both ends of the floor with 22 points and 9 rebounds, while LeBron James continued to distribute the ball well and finished with 8 assists. Overall, the scoring was spread out quite evenly as Team USA just wore down France. The three point shooting started off bad, but it was effective in putting the French team away as Team USA was able to isolate their shooters effectively. On the contrary, France shot just 2 of 22 from 3, and it not only resulted in not scoring, but in Team USA getting out in transition where they were rarely stopped.
While he's hated by quite a few college basketball fans, I think it's awesome that the team is once again coached by Mike Krzyzewski. Having a former Army player and coach lead the national team is the way it should be and it isn't hard for me to root for him at all. So far he has won a gold medal at the last Olympics, and he has a team that's set up to win another this year.
The French team, while not entirely filled with NBA players, has some very talented players and were a good opening test for the United States. Tony Parker, who was perhaps the best guard in the NBA in the playoffs, had an off day, finishing with only 10 points and 1 assist, but 4 turnovers. Other notable NBA players on the French team are Ronny Turiaf and Boris Diaw.
Up next for Team USA is the small country of Tunisia in northern Africa as they continue their march through Group A(USA, Argentina, Lithuania, Tunisia, Nigeria, and France) on Tuesday. 2012 is the first year that Tunisia has even played in the Olympics, so it's unlikely that it will be a competitive game. For now, the US can rest knowing that they did everything right against a solid French team.