If you're up early on this Sunday morning, you'll get the pleasure of seeing Team USA and two Washington Wizards players all taking part in the first day of the 2012 Olympic basketball tournament. You'll have to get up really early to watch Nene and Brazil take on Australia, while you can sleep in a little bit if you want to watch Kevin Seraphin and France play Team USA.
Here's the schedule:
- Brazil vs. Australia, 6:15 a.m. local time, NBC Sports Network.
- Team USA vs. France, 9:30 a.m. local time, NBC Sports Network.
We talked about what to watch generally from Seraphin and Nene during the Olympics on Friday, but here are some thoughts on these specific matchups.Brazil vs. Australia: In general, Australia is going to be a tough out. They played well in the preliminaries, beating France in France, for example. While Brazil has also played well, they may have problems defending jet-quick point guard Patty Mills.
Despite the absence of Andrew Bogut, Australia is pretty deep inside, with a three-man tandem of David Anderson, Matt Nielsen and Aleks Maric. Anderson was recently in the NBA, and he's a good three-point shooter that can also hit the turnaround jumper in the post. Nielsen plays the same way as Anderson, while Maric is more of a traditional big man that bangs bodies in the post.
I'd expect to see Nene on the perimeter a lot. He'll be used to space the floor and open up lanes for the other big man to roll to the rim on pick and rolls, and he'll play a prominent roll guarding Mills on switches. It'll be a good test to see where his mobility is at right now.
Team USA vs. France: We know that Team USA is not very big, which in theory should give Seraphin a chance to show his stuff. However, Team USA makes up for their lack of size with incredible ball pressure. Tony Parker and Nando De Colo will have their hands full dealing with France's athletes. If those two struggle, Seraphin won't get a ton of opportunities.
That also means Seraphin will need to do most of his work without having plays called for him. France's offense is heavily reliant on the screen and roll, but mostly for their guards to pull up and shoot. When those plays don't work, they run a lot of offense through Boris Diaw. If Seraphin can throw his weight around, he could get some opportunities, but France needs him more for defense, rebounding and the dirty work, so I wouldn't expect to see him get many opportunities to show off his strong jump hook.
In an ideal world, Seraphin scores something like 14 points in 22 minutes, grabs 7-8 rebounds and defends decently enough while avoiding serious foul trouble. Of those 14 points, maybe four come on offensive rebounds, six come as the roll man in the pick and roll and four come from post-ups. If he has that kind of game against Team USA, Wizards fans should be encouraged.