Team USA cannot be stopped -- so far, at least. They've won all of their exhibition games by at least 30 points, with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and the rest of the squad floating through games as if they were scrimmages. On Saturday, though, that changes. The Games will be in full swing, and teams will be fighting for Olympic glory. Now, Team USA should cruise all the way to the gold medal. But if things start to go awry, here's how the men's national team could fail to live up to its lofty expectations.
NBAE/Getty ImagesNathaniel S. Butler
The 3-point line abandons Team USA
Between Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, and Carmelo Anthony, this squad is ready to live behind the arc. What happens when those 3s aren't falling, though? We got a brief glimpse of this in Team USA's most recent exhibition contest against Venezuela -- an ugly, ugly basketball game that the Americans won through brute force. Venezuela didn't have the strength or skill to make the most of Team USA's awful shooting night. A repeat performance could prove disastrous, though. Yes, Spain and France are past their primes. They shouldn't offer much of a challenge to Team USA. But they still have NBA players on their rosters who could capitalize on an off-shooting night. On a related note ...
NBAE/Getty ImagesAndrew D. Bernstein
Foul trouble for the bigs spells rebounding problems
DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan are the only two legitimate centers on this roster. Sorry, Draymond Green; you don't count. Ideally, that's plenty of big men for Team USA. Should both centers get into foul trouble, however, the rest of the squad would likely struggle to rebound the ball on both ends of the court. Team USA needs its bigs to control the offensive glass in order to make up for all the missed shots that happen when you launch a ton of 3-pointers -- otherwise, the opponent is going to have too many opportunities to get out in transition. And a few easy buckets for the other team could lead to finger-pointing for Team USA.
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
The team ends up hating each other
Did you see how Carmelo Anthony reacted to all the young guys on the team singing along to Vanessa Carlton on the plane? That's the look of a man who hates where he is -- and it's the first sign that maybe this squad isn't as happy-go-lucky as it seems. Internal fissures could drive Team USA apart, especially if guys start to resent the Warriors clique of KD, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Let's not ignore that there are a number of hotheads on this team. Should things go sideways, emotions could boil over.
A catastrophic injury ruins everything
We absolutely, positively, definitely hope that everyone makes it home from Rio safe and sound. Between the risks on the court and off the court, however, there's a chance that one of the 12 NBA players on Team USA ends up hurt this summer. One injury wouldn't be enough to derail the squad -- unless it happens to KD, that is. But a season-ending injury combined with chemistry issues and poor 3-point shooting would be awful (for so many reasons).
NBAE/Getty ImagesNathaniel S. Butler
They have to cancel events
As much as we're being reassured that things will be fine in Rio, there's a non-zero percent chance things go off the rails to such a degree that the whole thing gets called off. Or maybe lack of security cordons off part of the city for a few days. Really, let your imagination run wild -- anything is possible at this summer's Games. If a team can't stop Team USA on the court, maybe the entirety of the Olympics will.
Actual, legitimate piracy
The men's and women's national basketball teams are eschewing the Olympic village for slightly more private accommodations in Rio -- on a yacht docked in the harbor (seen above in Great Britain in 2015). Given what we've seen at the rest of the hotels in Brazil, that's probably a good call. But if someone manages to hijack the yacht, then Team USA is going to be in trouble. It might be the only way to prevent another American gold medal.