There's a lot of talk on the internet about the 2012 USA National Basketball Team. It's probably going to feature CP3, Derrick Rose, Lebron, Melo, Dwyane Wade, Kobe, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and Dwight Howard. This is the team that went undefeated in 2008 and blew everyone out of the water. Good luck to everyone else this year, right?
I present you with the starting five and two first reserves of the 2012 Spain team:
Ricky Rubio, G
Jose Calderon, G
Juan Carlos Navarro, G
Rudy Fernandez, G/F
Pau Gasol, F/C
Serge Ibaka, F/C
Marc Gasol, C
You guys know how I feel about Rubio. Calderon and Fernandez are two very solid, balanced guards. Navarro is the captain and is nicknamed "La Bomba". He played one season for the Grizzlies, during which he contributed 11 points per game on 36% 3-point shooting. He made the All-Rookie Second Team with Jamario Moon, Thaddeus Young, Rodney Stuckey, and Carl Landry. To give you a little bit of background on the only non-NBA player. The Gasols are fantastic, as is Serge.
Spain and the US are so far ahead of every other country, so Spain could rest its stars to save them for the final showdown with the Americans.
Point Guard: Ricky Rubio vs. CP3/Rose
Alright, fine. America by a hair. Whatever.
Shooting Guard: Calderon/Navarro vs. Kobe/Wade
Fine, America. Maybe by a little more than a hair.
Small Forward: Fernandez vs. James/Durant/Anthony
Well... this one isn't close. Edge: USA
Power Forward: Pau/Ibaka vs. Bosh/Griffin
Spain. Pau is so underrated because he plays aside Kobe. Serge is the same because he plays with Durant. Bosh and Griffin - while both talented - are very overrated. Bosh has shown that he's best suited as the third-best player on an NBA team. Blake can dunk over a car but can't hit a jumpshot to save his life. I wouldn't go so far as to say this is as lopsided as the SF matchup, but it's not close. At all.
Center: Marc Gasol vs. Howard/Love
Kevin Love is amazing. Dwight Howard is a beast. Marc Gasol is just ho-hum. He gets it done, although not as completely as Love or as flashy as DH. Edge: America.
That's two heavily in favor of the US, one heavily in favor of Spain and two mildly in favor of the US. On paper, that would mean America wins every time. But the beauty of this tournament is that they have to go out and execute. Coach Sergio Scariolo (from Italy, but coaches Spain) just needs to inspire his players in a Herb Brooks-esque manner, and the trophy could be Spain's. Not saying it's likely, but #heyyouneverknow.