I'm here to tell you that if you were satisfied with wins over China, Australia and Great Britain, then you are a rare breed. The Spanish have disappointed fans this Olympics, and they will continue to struggle.
Before the Olympics began, Spain was the team that everyone believed would be able to dethrone the US. The team came out strong in their first three games—albeit against lesser opponents—but their two recent losses are what concerns fans around the world. How could a team that was considered the biggest threat to American basketball struggle to compete with Russia and Brazil.
One reason for the struggle is Spain's lack of passing. Their team leader in assists is Rudy Fernandez, and he's a swingman. Basketball is a team sport—teams like USA, Brazil and Argentina understand that, as their assists leaders are above 5.5 APG.
The second reasoning behind my "madness" is that Spain is not putting up enough points—which is correlated to them not passing. Pau Gasol leads the team averaging 20.6 PPG. Behind him is his brother Marc Gasol with 11.8 PPG. I believe that the team is asking for too much from Pau, and the gap between he and his brother needs to be filled before they compete with the big boys. The Gasols just aren't on the same page for the majority of the game.
Finally, I want to say that the team just isn't playing with enough heart. Spain is playing dull basketball. There's really nothing exciting about what they bring to the court. Aside from Pau Gasol, the others look like they're struggling to grasp a hold on the game.
Marc Gasol does not look like the center that we've been accustomed to seeing in the NBA. Jose Calderon appears to be playing with a chip on his shoulder as he only has 37 points in 106 minutes, and Serge Ibaka isn't getting enough playing time to make a big difference.
Although USA was always the favorite to win the gold, we all believed Spain would be a close second, but with the way they are playing against France right now, I'm not sure I'd pick them for the bronze. Don't get me wrong, they closed out the French in a nail biter, but their next opponent is Russia—a team that closed the Spanish out 77-74 just four days ago.
I believe the struggle will transition from this French game to Friday's game against Russia, and the run will end for the Spanish.
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