The 2008 U.S. Men's Olympic basketball team racked up more than 106 points and beat opponents by an average of nearly 30 points per game before capturing the gold medal in Beijing. In fact, prior to the title game, many commentators said that no team was able to stack up against a dominant American team that included Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh, two of whom served on this year's championship team.
But, despite the U.S. team's loss of top-level talent, the returning members expect the younger stars to carry much of the weight. LeBron James spoke to CBS Sports about the team's chances and said that while the team doesn't have a clear choice for the center position, the additional speed from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook could make the squad more versatile.
Many say that Westbrook, who was officially added to the team on July 8, could be a big factor in the team's ultimate performance. Some analysts expect him to pick up the production numbers that Wade was able to achieve in at the last games.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo was also optimistic.
"First of all, you have to look at the guys who are with us from the '08 team," he told the source. "They were 21, 22 years old back in Beijing. They're now in the prime of their careers, so they're a lot bigger, stronger, better basketball players today."
Still, not every coach can rely on a team of all-stars to best the competition. For coaches in youth basketball leagues, training will be a necessary part of next season, as many young people are likely to be inspired to test their athleticism after watching the games.
To best prepare, coaches can secure basketball equipment such as uniforms and scrimmage vests while investing in coachings aids that can help them better monitor their younger players' development.