It really is tragic that Blake Griffin got injured, he was the perfect Olympic player. He had the talent to compete and help his team, yet he also had the flash and charisma that the international stage needs in its players to thrive. Citizens of all nations would flock to see Griffin throw down a dunk against their country, but now another interesting player has taken his place.
Anthony Davis isn’t going to make any highlight reels with athletic dunks or jumping over people, but the number one pick will be tested on the highest level before he ever plays an NBA game, and they might be better off because of it. If Davis can get in rhythm, he’ll fill the only real hole team USA has…Big Men!
Right now, it’s only Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony are all big enough to play the 4 spot against most countries, but not against Spain. With Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol, the Spanish team doesn’t only have big bodies to play defense, those are three players who can score the ball when they need to. With only Tyson and Anthony Davis as defensive stoppers, USA needs to be careful. Not because they’re less talented, but because if Chandler or Davis get in foul trouble the game could change completely.
That’s where the lack of depth at the Center position kills them. It isn’t that Tyson and Davis can’t stop the Gasol brothers. It’s that they are the only two who can, and once fatigue sets in, the fouls rack up. I think that team USA is a better team than Spain, and I really do believe they’ll win the gold, but for an experienced Spanish squad, beating the USA isn’t all that unrealistic, especially when you see those hands on the hips from the American big men.