A medal? Not so fast......

It seems a lot of the Australian basketball public is expecting the most heavily credentialed Boomers team ever assembled to finally get a medal at this year's Rio Olympics. Maybe even gold. But have they fallen for the oldest sports trick in the book? Are we so caught up in the "stars" on our own team that we've forgotten about the cred of some of the other teams? Consider the talent on these teams alone who were the last to qualify for this years Olympics.

Croatia- Dario Saric, Mario Hezonja and Bojan Bogdanovic

France- Tony Parker, Nic Batum, Boris Diaw and Joffrey Lauvergne

That's the teams who just scraped in. Forget the star power across the US, Spain, Argentina  and the rest.

Here's some things that must be considered (plus some stuff I just wanted to say).

Bogut- Is he that important?
Yes. There's some man mountains on those Euro teams in particular and Bogut's defence and passing ability will be super important. Baynes was great at the World Champs in 2014 but isn't at Bogut's level as a rim protector or passer. Does have a nicer touch and is more athletic though.

Did we pick the right team?
Pretty much. Let me break it down.

Mills and Delly were musts. Lisch is a huge bonus as a naturalised Aussie and gives us a point man who can score and play excellent defence. Martin is an elite defender who should never be allowed to shoot. Goulding is an excellent "break in case of emergency" option as he can score in bunches and is great when you're up or down by 15.

Ingles and Broekhoff were never going to miss. Then it got interesting.

Andersen is proven on the world stage and, while in the twilight of his career, was needed for his experience and ability to stretch the floor.

Motum is one of the more flexible players in the squad and his physicality, shooting range and ability to play multiple positions on an extended pressure defence would have appealed to the coaches.

Bairstow for me was the lucky one. He's in the NBA  by the skin of his teeth and for me is a little one dimensional. Think he got the nod purely on the basis he's one of the better rebounders and may see more minutes if Bogut doesn't play.

Newley was unlucky to miss but the team clearly feels he would have received limited minutes and his inclusion would have robbed the team of stronger inside players.

Bogut and Baynes were always going to be the first two bigs picked and Maric is the likely emergency is Bogut doesn't win his race against time. Haven't seen enough of him to say whether Jawai would have been a better option but he's built an impressive resume overseas.

Gibson- Why did Martin leapfrog him?
Gibbo hasn't set the world on fire for the last 18 months and has lacked aggression at international level. Martin is a better fullcourt defender and deserves his shot.

Who is our go to player?
Probably Patty. He's coming off an ok season but one he was expected to bloom in. He's our most likely to take over a game but will need to play in career-best form for Australia to be a chance at getting a medal. Australia has some great screen-setters and he'll be relying on them to give him plenty of daylight.

My Starting 5?
Mills, Delly, Broekhoff, Andersen and Bogut. You'll likely see Bairstow or Ingles in one of those spots though.

Can we medal?
Yes..... but it will be very tough. On paper you expect USA, Australia, Serbia and France to progress from their group. Australia could finish anywhere from second to fourth. I'd tip Spain, Argentina, Lithuania and Croatia to emerge from the other group. Each team poses different challenges and once you're at the elimination stage anything can happen.

My prediction?
I'm hopeful but think we're still one Olympics away from getting a medal. A few of the Euro teams aren't as strong as 2012 which is a big help but they're still damn good.  There's a few guys on this team who'll be playing their last Olympics and a few who still have time but know this is the best squad they've been on. They're hungry and confident.

Can't wait for the games to begin.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments sensible. Rude or abusive comments will be removed.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.