Sunday at 11:45 am (ET) is our first chance to see the favourites in Group B, Spain.
They will be kicking off their Olympic play against China, which is ranked #10 in the world by FIBA. Given that Spain only trails the U.S. in those rankings, one would be excused for thinking the Spaniards will have to underperform badly to lose.
The Chinese team averages 25.5 years of age, making them one of the youngest teams in the tournament. Can their youth prove too much for the veteran Spanish? Sure, it’s possible, but I wouldn’t wager anything I’d care to lose on it. I think the NBA veterans (a pair of Gasols, our man Calderon and Serge Ibaka, killer of shots) plus the others, will be too much. Spain pulls out a close victory.
Raptor to Watch
Will Jose start? Will he be on the floor in the last few frantic minutes? I’d say “yes” to both. What I really want to see is if Jose can still turn the corner on his defender, a skill that’s been MIA the past few seasons in Toronto. Will the Chinese exploit his defensive weaknesses, or will he be able to nudge his player into the paint, where the towers take up shop?
As always with Jose, it’s about his assists to turnovers ratio. If he can control the rock and dish to gravity-defiers like Ibaka, he’ll do us proud.