Team USA played their 3rd game against Group A opponents in the group stage of the men's basketball tournament. The team has been doing quite well and seemingly improving as each game has gone by, winning each game by a greater margin then their previous game. First they beat France by (just) 15 points, then took down Tunisia by 47 points before totally annihilating Nigeria earlier today by a whopping 83 points.
None of that is terribly surprising as the US Team was expected to cruise through their group, but it's still impressive. You would see such staggering numbers and domination by Team USA its natural to think that last season's NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP, LeBron James, would be a key contributor. That's far from the case though, as LeBron's playing time has gotten progressively lower with each passing game.
He played 25 minutes in the US's opener against France, then 19 minutes against Tunisia followed by just 11 minutes today against Nigeria. He has yet to reach double figures in a game in any stat category, though I'm sure that will change when we reach the medal round. The limited minutes and scoring output hasn't stopped him from making several highlight-reel plays, because after all...this is still LeBron James.
A guy like LeBron is more then happy to help his team by making his teammates better, drawing the attention of defenders and creating open shots for others while still playing the superb defense we all know he is capable of. We'll see when ‘MVP LeBron' is needed because I'm sure when the time comes LeBron will be more then happy to play 30+ minutes and dominate offensively, if that's what the team needs.
When looking at his stat line through 3 games, it's easy to assume that his team has either been dominating heavily or getting their butts kicked, but thankfully we all know which is true. He is averaging 6.6 points per game on 60% shooting (9-of-15) and 40% from 3-point range (2-of-5) to go with 3.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.3 steals.
He has yet to shoot a free throw, so there is still a lot left for the world to see from James during these Olympics. The US has two more games left in the group stage, Saturday against Lithuania (1-2 record) and Monday against Argentina (2-1 record). The Lithuanians only win came against Nigeria (72-53 on Saturday) while Argentina's only loss came against France (71-64 on Saturday). Will LeBron be needed to step up in either game? We shall see...