Team USA will face their first real challenge in the Rio 2016 Olympics when they take on Australia tonight. Their roster includes San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, Milwaukee Bucks guard Matthew Dellavedova, Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles and Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut. All of these guys are solid NBA players, which makes Australia the first Team USA opponent that can put multiple NBA rotation players on the floor at once. Moreover Australia is coming off big wins over France (87-66) and Serbia (95-80), both of which are solid teams.
That said, some NBA rotation players going against a roster with 11 NBA All-Stars is really no contest. It would be very surprising if Australia kept the margin to less than 20 points. They have a solid team that should compete for a medal, but that medal won’t be gold.
An interesting sub-plot to this game will be Kyrie Irving playing directly across from his former teammate Dellavedova. Having played three seasons together they’ve no doubt gone against each other in practice hundreds of times. Seeing them play against each other in a serious game should be quite entertaining given how well they know each others game. But the talent gap is immense, and Dellavedova may get embarrassed trying to guard Kyrie. That said, he is coming off a 23 point, 13 assist game against Serbia and has a 23:1 assist-to-turnover ratio so far in Olympic play while Kyrie has yet to take over a game. Perhaps the match up tonight will spark the first glimpse of KYRIE in the Rio.
When? 6:00 p.m.
Where? Carioca Arena 1, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Online? http://stream.nbcolympics.com/nbcsn-day-5 (cable subscription required)