The United States once again has the best basketball players in the world. That does not mean winning another gold medal at the Summer Olympics is a given.

It’s been a struggle for the U.S. men’s basketball team, both on and off the court, in the weeks leading up to the Tokyo Games. Team USA lost its first two exhibition games, and one of its starters was forced to pull out of the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

Team USA has won three straight Olympic gold medals. Since the Dream Team dominated the 1992 Olympics, the U.S. has won gold at every Summer Games, with the exception of 2004.

What are the chances that Team USA fails to win gold in Tokyo? Despite their recent woes, the U.S. remains a heavy favorite to be the last team standing.

Team USA has -350 odds at FanDuel Sportsbook to win the gold medal. Australia, who defeated Team USA 91-83 last week in exhibition play, is second with +850 odds.

Spain has the third-best odds at +1200. Team USA beat Spain 83-76 in its fourth and final exhibition game before heading to Tokyo.

Team USA is a massive -3500 favorite to win Group A, which also includes France, Czech Republic and Iran. The top two teams in all three groups are guaranteed a spot in the knockout stage, where one loss results in elimination.

Anything can happen in a single-elimination tournament as great NBA teams are upset all the time. Team USA has barely had time to jell, while many of the countries have been playing together for years.

This version of Team USA, however, might be too talented to be stopped. Kevin Durant is the top player on Team USA, coming off a spectacular postseason run. Durant averaged 34.3 points, 9.3 assists and 4.4 assists in 12 playoff games while shooting 51.4% from the field.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP dragged an injury-riddled Brooklyn Nets team to seven games against the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks, outplaying Giannis Antetokounmpo and looking like the best basketball player in the world. The Nets came up short because Durant was surrounded by lesser talent. In Tokyo, he’ll be joined by several All-Stars.

Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum are in the Team USA starting lineup. Bradley Beal was removed from the team because of health and safety protocols, but that just means more minutes for Zach LaVine.

LaVine averaged just 27.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in the NBA season.

Bam Adebayo and Draymond Green will also receive significant playing time.

Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are headed to Tokyo following the 2021 NBA Finals. They were three of the five best players in the Finals, and each one would be the best player, by far, if they were part of the Australia or Spain roster. 

Team USA will be tested in Tokyo as the top teams have several NBA players. They are well-coached and have chemistry that the U.S. hasn’t had time to develop, but Team USA is likely too good to be stopped.

Prediction: Team USA wins the gold medal

Team USA Basketball Durant (L-R) Head coach Gregg Popovich, Kevin Love #11, Draymond Green #14, Damian Lillard #6 and Kevin Durant #7 of the 2021 USA Basketball Men's National Team practice at the Mendenhall Center at UNLV as the team gets ready for the Tokyo Olympics on July 7, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images