Should Spain Be Favored Against Team USA in the Olympics?

Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterJuly 2, 2012

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 22:  Marc Gasol (L) of Spain chats with his teammate Jose Manuel Calderon during a friendly basketball game between Spain and the USA at La Caja Magica on August 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Anthony Davis is the latest big man to go down for Team USA:

Anthony Davis suffered a severely sprained ankle in a Hornets workout and almost assuredly is unable to play for Team USA, sources tell Y!

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2012

This is sad news, especially for those who were excited to catch a first glimpse of Davis against pro competition. In the macro sense, I think it means that America should be, for once, the underdog in international basketball. 

To recap, Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose won't play due to injury. Team USA still has LeBron James and Kevin Durant, so you can't exactly count America out of the tournament, but with such a weak frontcourt, betting on Spain is a viable option. 

Andrew Bynum announced that he won't play in the Olympics. Roy Hibbert plays for Jamaica, though he has asked to be released from his duties there (via the Jamaica Gleaner). Right now, the Americans are looking at one viable center in Tyson Chandler, and Chandler has a somewhat injury-fraught history.

In contrast, Spain is coming at America with a frontcourt of three shot-blockers and two All-Stars. With Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka manning the middle, Spain's production defensively and offensively down low should trump America's. 

Spain isn't quite so mighty away from the hoop, though I certainly like Jose Calderon's international game better than the Canadian version. But, subjectively, I like Team USA against far less talented competition--not slightly less talented competition. I also don't like the idea of Tyson Chandler going 40 minutes a game against the two-headed Gasol monster.