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3 reasons why Team USA could lose the men's basketball gold medal

3 reasons why Team USA could lose the men's basketball gold medal

The headline is a tease. Team USA will not lose a game in the Rio Olympics.

That's the case even though the likes of LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook didn't make the trip. After offering some level of resistance over the last decade or so, the rest of the world has fallen behind. For countries like Argentina, the 2004 Gold Medalists, and Spain, strides made because of the likes of Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol have almost disappeared because the next generation has yet to rise up. 

The U.S. could send their entire roster home, take the next 12 off the list and still win gold. That's the landscape.

However, upsets do happen and in a one-and-done scenario as is the case with the medal rounds, you just never know. Well, we do, but you get the point. If some other country's announcer channels Al Michael with their version of "Do you believe in miracles", then here's what went wrong.

RELATED: 'Going home' nostalgia isn't for everyone in NBA

3. Kyle Lowry gets hurt, into foul trouble - Based on pure talent, the Raptors point guard isn't the best player on the roster or even top five. Yet as the only true pont guard on the roster, he's perhaps the most important.

Sorry, Cleveland fans. Kyrie Irving is not a true point guard and certainly isn't in the context of what a thrown together team needs.  Even if you count Irving based on the most basic of reasons -- he'll dribble the ball up the court -- it's actually rather stunning that the powers-that-be only went with two point guards considering the positional importance in general and for this event. Now, Curry, Westbrook, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard and Wizards star John Wall are all out for various reasons. That hurt the options, but still, going with a Mike Conley or even Shaun Livingston would have made more sense than tacking another wing. Yes, that means you, Harrison Barnes.

Now, if Lowry has some issue that takes him off the court, USA will survive. Draymond Green is a point-forward. The offense can run through Paul George or Kevin Durant. Still, having a true floor leader is ideal and basically the roster has just one.

2. Vive la France - Based on overall rosters, Spain's group, led by Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Nikola Mirotic, Jose Calderon and one-time Wizards pick Juan Carlos Navarro, probably has the second best roster behind the U.S. Yet without the injured Marc Gasol, there's little upside on the aging roster. France isn't very deep, but there's a group there that could shock the world.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert is a shot-blocking savant. The versatile Nicolas Batum was at his stat-stuffing best with Charlotte last season. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw are on the back-nine of their careers, but the San Antonio teammates are savvy and know the international game. Guard Nando De Colo has NBA experience. 

Any five-man unit Team USA uses trumps that group and the real discrepency comes when comparing depth. But if France's main men can play ironman basketball and Gobert controls the lane and the U.S. misses shots...

1. The crusie ship the U.S. team is staying on during the Olympics gets swept away and ends up on Gilligan's Island - Again, the U.S. is winning gold. However, at least three items make a list. We needed a third. Now we have a list. 

By the way, here's handy dandy list all those with NBA connections beyond Team USA playing in the Olympics. Ex-Wizard Nene is of course playing for his native Brazil. George Washington guard Patricio Garino, who recently signed with the Spurs, is on the Argentina roster.

MORE BASKETBALL: Why the Wizards will miss: Jared Dudley

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Scott Brooks, Ramon Sessions hoping for best with Tyronn Lue's health issues

USA Today Sports Images

Scott Brooks, Ramon Sessions hoping for best with Tyronn Lue's health issues

As a fellow NBA head coach, Scott Brooks understands what Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers is going through. As his former teammate, Ramon Sessions knows how tough Lue is.

Both members of the Wizards shared their reactions after Monday's practice to the news Lue is stepping away from the Cavs to deal with a health issue. Both expressed hope Lue will not be out long as the NBA continues its trek towards the playoffs.

"All of our thoughts are with him," Brooks said. "You hope that it's nothing serious. Health is the most important [thing]. The game is secondary."


"Prayers out to T-Lue," said Sessions, who played with Lue in Milwaukee. "It's one of those things where you've gotta take care of yourself at the end of the day. Him stepping away is the best thing."

Lue's illness has been a mystery to doctors, according to a statement he released on the Cavaliers' website. He has dealt with chest pains and other symptoms while also struggling to sleep. The hope is that having time off will allow him to get the rest he needs.


Brooks knows firsthand how difficult it is to get sleep during the regular season as a coach.

"You just have to figure out ways to get your rest. Some days are better than others. Sometimes you think after a good win you can have a good night's rest or sometimes it's the opposite. It's just hard to get rest. You're traveling in different timezones. You are emotional after games. You eat late. There are a lot of factors that go into it. We don't have a set schedule every night. I have a good staff and I rely on them," he said.

Lue, 40, will be replaced by associate head coach Larry Drew in the interim. The Cavs happen to be in a tight playoff race with the Wizards and other teams in the Eastern Conference battling for position.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.

Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!