LONDON – The United States’ only weakness could become their biggest strength, France’s up-and-coming NBA player Nicolas Batum told Reuters on Saturday.
The U.S., who begin their Olympic campaign against France on Sunday, are strong favourites to win gold but lingering doubts hang over the team’s lack of height compared to some of their rivals.
“They don’t have a big side,” said Batum who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers and was a first round draft pick in 2008.
“They are very small but they can use it pretty well. That can be a weakness for them. But you can use a weakness to be a strength. And that’s why they are very good.”
The U.S. team has been compared to the all-conquering ‘Dream Team’ who won gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
France will be led by talisman Tony Parker, who is coming off one of the best seasons of his career for the San Antonio Spurs, and are among the medal favourites having claimed the silver behind Spain at Eurobasket 2011.
France have several players on current NBA rosters, but Batum accepts they will rely on the United States having an off day if they are to cause an upset in Sunday’s group match.
“This is then best team in the tournament,” the 23-year-old Batum added. “They have the best players in the world. They are a huge favourite in this competition, but they are human too.
“They can have a bad day. If everything goes wrong for them and we have a good day and everything goes right for us, you never know what can happen.”
Check out the broadcast schedule of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament on AKTV and TV5.