There's a lot of talk about the team the US fields in the 2012 Olympics. How about the potential Spain has that year? By my estimation, they should have most of the same players, but many of their core players should just be better.
M Gasol: This game is still so raw. Once he learns to use his size to rebound and play within himself, could he be better than Pau? He needs to improve his free throw percentage and shooting, but many other things will be natural for him to improve on.
P Gasol: Already a prolific player, perhaps could have won a championship by 2012.
Rudy: Obviously about to begin his NBA tenure. By 2012, he also might have an NBA championship ring. He also will have received coaching from one of our national team coaches as well as one of the best around. He also could improve a bit by playing a little more within himself. Perhaps the most important thing for him is just like Marc Gasol- playing with NBA players all season. He will know our game and our players better. Dunk on Oden in 2012?
R Rubio: He seems to be years from his peak, and already is touted as maybe the best European point guard ever. Very likely Ricky will have a couple NBA years under his belt as well. We all watched him penetrate past any our guard defending him with the I'm going right, no wait-around the back dribble-now I'm going left move. He could really blossom if he ends up on an NBA team that emphasizes team ball and ball movement as opposed to isolations.
J Navarro: Already a pretty good player, would be coming off the bench again. He might not be able to consistently reproduce his game from last night, but he could easily be a spark plug off the bench for Spain. Juan Carlos doesn't fear the US players, and that runner is extremely difficult to guard.
Calderon: We'll see more from Jose after running the show for Toronto the next few years, but I would guess that he too will be a better player for Spain in 4 years.
Bench/role players: There are a few players who were important for Spain this year who may be too old in 2012 (Garbajosa, Jimenez, Mumbru), but they still have a handful of strong role players who know the system, and scrap and hustle on every single play.
Spain in 2012: How many countries will be on the same tier as the US in four years?