London Olympics 2012: Team USA is Favorite For The Gold But Who Has Best Odds At Silver?

   on August 02 2012 2:08 AM

 

Team USA are favorites for the gold medal that they have won in 13 of the 16 occasions it has been contested. The only exceptions were in 1972 when Russia knocked them out by a single point; in the American boycott of 1980 (related to politics, not the previous defeat); and eight years ago when Argentina sprang a surprise by beating them in the semi-final and went on to the take the gold medal.

This time Spain, who the Americans beat in the Beijing final, and play in Great Britain's Group B, are again regarded as their strongest rivals, with Argentina and Brazil leading the South American challenge.

If Spain continues to play like they're supposed to, it's likely we will see USA and Spain yet again fighting for the gold.

The Spanish feature a frontcourt of brothers Marc and Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka, a dangerous core that have an advantage over Americans Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love.

Take that physical edge down low with the fact that this Spanish team defends the three-pointer well and you have a group that can certainly give Team USA a run for their money.

Both Gasol brothers are NBA All-Stars, and Ibaka has the capability to become one in the near future. Believe it or not, the kid (actually from Congo) is still just 22 years of age. He's already the best shot-blocker in the NBA, a great rebounder and a very underrated scoring threat. 

They have a solid backcourt in Rudy Fernandez and Jose Calderon. But the spark of their team is La Bomba, Juan Carlos Navarro, who scored 27 points in their Eurobasket victory over France.

The Spanish also have the added edge of familiarity--this group has been playing together for some time, while the Americans just started playing together this month.

Rubio caused fits for the United States and other countries with his rare mix of small stature and quickness. Rubio is capable of handling Team USA's ferocious pressure, but Jose Calderon isn't.

If Spain were to actually beat the United States, Calderon would have to play a flawless game in terms of handling pressure, distributing the ball and taking advantage of scoring opportunities. 

While size down low is said to be a factor, Team USA is bigger than Spain elsewhere down the list of rosters. At small forward, Rudy Fernandez stands 6'6" while Durant is 6'10". At shooting guard, Juan Carlos Navarro stands 6'4" and Kobe Bryant is 6'6".

Spain is a very good team. They shouldn't have much trouble with their group play games and getting to the gold medal game. Once they get there though, they will face the same fate the other nations have, losing at the hand of Team USA, but respectively with a silver medal.