With the final exhibition game in the books, Team USA wrapped up thier pre-Olympic preparations in Las Vegas.
Earning wins against Argentina, and Spain, following losses to Nigeria and Australia, Gregg Popovich's squad finishes with a 2-2 record as they now head to Tokyo on a mission to win a fourth-straight gold medal.
MORE: The most memorable moments in Olympic basketball history
Let's jump in to some of the key takeaways from a small sample size of Team USA basketball.
Lillard and Durant hold the keys
No teams can boast the offensive arsenal at Team USA's disposal, which will be spearheaded by the superstar duo of Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant, who stood out in their four exhibition games.
While Lillard is making his Olympic debut, he's shown in Las Vegas that 'Dame Range' extends to international basketball, flexing his muscles from the shortened 3-point line.
🇺🇸 3x Olympian- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 7, 2021
🇺🇸 39-0 career USA record
🇺🇸 Ranks first all-time in men's U.S. Olympic PPG (19.4) & 3FG made (59)
👋 @KDTrey5 pic.twitter.com/b6l5okTtNn
"I think myself and KD will have to go over there and play a significant role and we'll have to do what we do, but I don't look at it like we have to carry the team," Lillard said.
"It's a team full of the best players across our league. Obviously, we'll have to do well. We'll have to be elite basketball players but I don't think it'll be like 'we have to go over there and carry the team.'"
Meanwhile, Durant has been a fixture for USA basketball for the past two Olympic Games, winning two gold medals, and his experience will be called upon by his teammates, with Draymond Green the only other member of Team USA to play in an Olympic tournament (2016).
JaVale McGee's addition could prove critical
With Bam Adebayo (6-foot-9) and Draymond Green (6-foot-6) as the team's big men, Team USA is giving up a lot of size in the paint and through four exhibitions they've been outrebounded in all but one game (vs. Argentina),
Bringing in JaVale McGee as a replacement for Kevin Love will certainly help in that regard, giving Team USA a legit 7-footer who can fight on the glass and protect the rim.
Team USA's perimeter scoring options are endless, but against the world's top teams, they'll encounter size and physicality and players who will try to make life tough for them inside e.g. France's Rudy Gobert, Spain's Gasol brothers and Australia's Aron Baynes.
Booker, Middleton and Holiday still to come
Team USA hasn't looked their best in the lead-up to the Olympic Games, not helped by the fact they lost two players in Bradley Beal and Kevin Love before even getting on the plane to Tokyo.
Their roster makeup is still yet to be completed with Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday yet to report for duty, with the trio currently competing in the NBA Finals.
They already have a ton of scoring options, but Middleton and Booker add perimeter threats who don't need the ball in their hands to be effective, while Holiday will give the team an edge defensively, something they've struggled with during exhibition play - an especially important addition given the string of pesky, quick point guards they'll be coming up against.
Damian Lillard is the only other recognised point guard on the squad, so Holiday's inclusion will give stability to the second unit as well as a secondary playmaker.
The big question is, how much will fatigue play into things for the trio? Team USA's first game against France is just three days after a potential Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Olympic Zach LaVine is worth tuning in for
The Chicago Bulls star has been electric in Team USA's exhibition games, delivering a highlight-reel play at every opportunity.
Making his national team debut on the biggest stage, LaVine is going to get plenty of opportunities to score in the open floor as Team USA looks to get out on the break in Tokyo.
The two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion gave us a glimpse of what he can do in the exhibition games and I'm sure there's going to be a Twitter meltdown every game featuring LaVine's high-flying act.
Like we were saying... https://t.co/D47G4Adgj4 pic.twitter.com/GRjxAJaNkz- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 19, 2021
FIRE US UP @ZachLaVine 🔥 pic.twitter.com/KAOj8RHYqm- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 13, 2021
The rest of the world is catching up
Gone are the days of Team USA waltzing into Olympic tournaments and racking up double-digit wins without breaking a sweat.
As the NBA has grown into an international league, we've seen stars from around the world light up the NBA and they're also doing so for their national teams.
Spain, France, Australia, and Nigeira are loaded wth NBA talent, while nearly every team can boast at least one NBA player.
OLYMPIC PREVIEW: Every team's roster, notable NBA players, groups, schedule and history
Nigeria and Australia's wins in exhibition play might not have counted for anything, but it served as a clear message that Team USA can't just show up and be guaranteed a gold. The other teams are coming to play.
Team USA Olympic schedule - Group A
|France||Sunday, July 25||8:00 a.m. ET|
|Iran||Wednesday, July 28||12:40 p.m. ET|
|Czech Republic||Saturday, July 31||8:00 a.m. ET|
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