Spain is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of the USA team repeating as World Champions. Remember, this USA Basketball team is the youngest since they went on a 57-game (and counting) winning streak in exhibitions and official international games dating back to the 2006 World’s — where they finished third. Spain’s got a lot going for them, but these five GIFs do a good job explaining why their on-court product should have Coach K and his assistants weary at the prospect of facing them, most likely in the single-elimination round, or the Finals.
Spain has got a pretty gnarly home-court advantage — just scope out the Twitter feeds of the reporters embedded in Spain, who can’t hear themselves think during Spain games. Also, this group of Spanish players have all played together for the last five years, unlike the USA iteration that was cobbled together less than five weeks ago.
Still, Team USA has a coterie of NBA all-stars at their disposal, despite their lack of experience playing together. So why should any American basketball fans worry? Here are just a few of the basketball-related issues they’ll likely face, in GIF form.
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Spain can get out on the break with a triumvirate of strong point guards.
Ricky Rubio, the most famous of the threesome, might be the worst — at least when you take into account his dreadful shooting. Then again, he’s Ricky Rubio, as much a passing alien with an extra eye in the back of his dome as Rajon Rondo. Witness this seemingly simple touch lob Rubio throws to Serge Ibaka on the break. They make this look way too easy, even if the competition isn’t exactly first-rate.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Sergio Rodriguez, the 6-3 point guard, nicknamed Spanish Chocolate, who played three largely forgotten years in Portland from 2006-2009, then two brief stints in New York and Sacramento during the 2010 season before heading back to Spain to play for Real Madrid that summer. He’s on this Spain super team — rocking a fantastic beard that would be right at home during Bonnaroo — spotting Pau Gasol leaking out on the mini-break for another easy dunk:
We haven’t even mentioned the sweet-shooting Jose Calderon, but you can be sure New York’s summer acquisition will have ample opportunity to bomb from beyond a three-point arc that’s a foot and a half closer than the NBA line.
While Spain’s point guards are impressive, Sergio Llul and Rudy Fernandez — himself a former Blazer who grew unhappy in the NBA and went back to Spain to play for Real Madrid in the summer of 2012 — are holding it down on the wings.