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Roundtable: Recapping men's basketball at the 2016 Rio Olympics

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Tim, Adam and Gordon share their thoughts on the men's basketball tournament in Rio.

David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports
Who played better of the two Denver Nuggets in the Olympics, Joffrey Lauvergne or Nicola Jokic?
Tim D’Elia (@tdelia96): Jokic. Big honey stuck it to Team USA when required, he wasn’t given that much of an opportunity compared to the other centres but when he was on the court he was very good.

Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares): I have to go with Jokic. Joffrey had a few very nice games and was fairly consistent but Jokic had a much bigger impact on the games. He was instrumental in helping Serbia keep it close against the U.S. and even though he came off of the bench for Serbia, he was a huge boost to their team throughout the tournament.

Gordon Gross (@GMoneyNuggs): Jokic.  Joffrey put up some nice points and rebounds, but his defensive woes were still evident especially in his rotations. I’m beginning to wonder about the amount of J.J. Hickson in his game.  The box scores look fine, but the impact isn’t for the better.  Jokic was good when on the court, and when allowed to do things. Watching the action isn’t his strong suit, and hopefully Michael Malone learned that even more watching these two weeks.

2.   What was your favorite moment from the Olympic basketball tournament?

D’Elia: Patty Mills dropping 3 bombs on team USA. Yes I’m a biased Australian fan but it was great to watch the Dellavedova/Mills backcourt expose USA for 3 quarters.

Mares: As unpatriotic as it might seem, it’s gotta be that 2nd half that Jokic had against team USA. He was hitting contested three-pointers, posting up Draymond, and throwing no-look passes. It was possibly the best Jokic has ever played and he did it with confidence against the greatest team in the tournament.

Gross: Watching Teodosic and Jokic carve up Team USA in the qualifying round.  I really enjoyed watching them play together and giving Jokic his Olympic moment in the sun. Watching members of Team USA talk with Teodosic about coming to the NBA, his hope that it would happen echoed mine.

3.   Did you expect the USA to win gold so convincingly?

D’Elia: In the end, yes. Not many players around the world could make their roster even with all the star players avoiding duty. So in the end there was always someone who could stand up and put them on their shoulders. In the finale, that man was Kevin Durant.

Mares: I did two weeks ago but after unconvincing wins against Australia, Serbia, and France, I had my doubts. Ultimately, I think team USA was always head and shoulders above the competition despite the close calls in pool play. Coach K always had moves in his back pocket like tightening the rotation, playing KD for 30 minutes straight like he did in the gold medal game, and running away with an easy win.

Gross: Not after their squeakers in pool play and the struggles they had against Spain at times.  But the US was due for one moment where it all clicked and the whole team buckled down to demolish the competition, and that was the gold medal game in spades.


4.   Who from the tournament would you like to see on the Nuggets squad?

D’Elia: Milos Teodosic. That man destroyed Australia. He dropped 22 points and 5 assists in a cut-throat semi-final to single-handedly take Serbia to the gold medal match. I’ll probably hold a grudge forever for what he did to the Aussies, but I’d still like to see him do it for my team.

Mares: Assuming that the Mongolian wrestling coach is not an option, I’d have to go with Bojan Bogdanovich. Both of the Bogdanovich’s were fun to watch and Milos was especially fun but Bojan fits a need for the Nuggets at SF. Actually, with a healthy Gallo and Wilson Chandler returning this year, I think the Nuggets roster is fine as is.

Gross: Teodosic.  Milos in place of Jameer for this team would be epic.  I’m not sold that Jamal Murray can be as much of a combo guard in year one as we would like him to be, and Milos would fit the role of backup PG on this team perfectly.  I’m sure he’d want to start and we should add a Bogdanovich instead, but strictly on a talent basis I’d go Teodosic.



5. Who was your player of the tournament?

D’Elia: Patty Mills, clocked up almost 30 points and a couple of assists every night. He plays with so much energy and without him Australia wouldn’t have performed nearly as well as they did.


Mares: Durant’s had a true shooting percentage of roughly 100% so he is a candidate but since none of the team USA players played very many minutes relative to other teams, I’m going to hand this award to Teodosic. He was a wizard in the pick and roll and was a huge part of why Serbia was both the most fun team to watch in the tournament and the silver medal winner.

Gross: I’m going to go with Carmelo Anthony.  I’d say Durant, but one game shouldn’t really win you a Tourney MVP (even if his final game was absolutely worthy).  Melo also saved face for the USA against Australia and kept the creaky boat afloat until other bailers finally showed up.  And he obviously had the respect of his colleagues and had some old-man wisdom to dispense about international play and not getting flustered.  These Olympics had the chance to go south for the US like Athens did, and Melo wasn’t going through that again.  I’ll give him props for that.