USA vs. Spain: Tyson Chandler Is the Key to an American Victory in Exhibition

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIJuly 24, 2012

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 22:  Tyson Chandler #4 of the US Men's Senior National Team looks on during a Pre-Olympic Men's Exhibition Game between USA and Argentina at Palau Sant Jordi, on July 22, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

When Team USA and Spain butt heads in an exhibition game before the Olympics begin, the key to the game will be the play of American center Tyson Chandler.

The Spanish will try to utilize their size inside to bully the Americans and control the paint like they did against France, and Chandler must stop them from doing so.

With two seven footers on their roster in Marc and Pau Gasol and NBA shot-blocking leader Serge Ibaka inside, the Spanish National team has the best frontcourt in the world. They've used it to their advantage before, out-rebounding France 46-26 even without Marc Gasol in an exhibition game on July 15.

Spain could very well do that to the U.S. too if Chandler doesn't step it up.

The only seven-footer on the American roster, Chandler has not been living up to expectations. He is currently dead-last on the team in points per game with 2.5, and is only averaging 3.8 per game (courtesy

Chandler has done little for the team, and with Anthony Davis only playing two of the four games and Kevin Love struggling at power forward, the American frontcourt has been having some serious problems.

The only true center on the American roster has been a non-factor thus far, doing very little in the first four exhibitions games. He needs to fix that in this last game so that he can be ready when the team goes to London for the actual Games.

This will be the toughest test he has faced, but he must find a way to stop the Spanish bigs from dominating the post. If he can't stop them on defense or he can't find a way to be a factor on the offensive end then the Americans are in serious trouble.

The U.S. team is sorely missing Dwight Howard right now, who is out with an injury. Chandler was supposed to step up in his absence but has yet to do so.

If the New York Knicks' big man doesn't improve his play to a competent level for a seven-footer against Spain the U.S. will enter the Olympic at 4-1 in exhibition play instead of 5-0.

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