The good news for Team USA after the group stage of the Rio Olympics is that they remain undefeated at 5-0 and won their group. The bad news is that despite not yet having suffered a loss, the American squad isn’t looking anywhere near as dominant as people expected them to be.
After destroying the two worst teams in Group A (China and Venezuela), Team USA got three-straight tests. First, they barely beat a pesky Australian team. Then, they followed that performance with a near-collapse against Serbia. Most recently, Coach K’s group outlasted France by just three points thanks to a 30-point outburst from Klay Thompson.
Team USA’s quarterfinal opponent will be determined Monday, but no matter who it is, if America is going to win the gold medal, they are likely going to have to beat three good teams to do so.
To say the games have been a struggle for the U.S. team at this point is a fair statement. Even without the likes of LeBron James and Steph Curry, most everyone expected America to dominate, but instead they have had to scratch and claw three out of their five wins.
The level of competition has been especially surprising for Paul George and Kevin Durant, who both expected to come to Brazil and wipe out the competition with ease.
George and Durant need to shift their mindsets if they have not done so already. They are in for a rude awakening if they think it’s going to be easier from here on out. If Team USA plays to the level they’re capable of, no one will touch them in these final three games. However, if the last few contests have been any indication, they are entirely beatable if they don’t sort out their issues on the defensive end.