Spain the Biggest Threat to Team USA?
Seven players on Spain’s roster have played in the NBA, and their success in the league makes it the top threat to unseat Team USA as the reigning Olympic champion.
The brothers Gasol, Pau and Marc, are NBA All-Stars. Serge Ibaka, who’s 23 years old, played in the NBA finals and finished second in the voting for NBA defensive player of the year. Point guard Jose Calderon finished fourth in the NBA in assists this past season. Euroleague star Juan Carlos Navarro was a second-team all-rookie in his only NBA season.
In addition to its talent, Spain has great continuity. The core of the team has been together for a while and is in the midst of a great run that includes a FIBA World Championship in 2006, an Olympic silver medal in 2008 and the past two European Championships.
Spain’s attack has evolved into an inside-oriented one because of the size of the Gasol brothers, Ibaka and veteran Felipe Reyes. In fact, the team’s three-out, two-in offense is a much more NBA-oriented attack than it has had in the past when it spread the floor with shooting forwards.