Ever wondered what it'd be like to watch San Antonio Spurs' guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili square off against one another? Come late July you won't have to.
The group's for the 2012 Summer Olympics were revealed and the United States, France and Argentina were all put in Group A. Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and crew versus Manu Ginobili, Fabricio Oberto and crew. Tunisia and whoever the first and second place finishers in this July's World Qualifying Tournament.
Not enough Spurs for you? That's fine. Group B has 2008 Silver Medalist Spain, along with Brazil, Australia, Great Britain, China and the third place qualifier. That's Tiago Splitter's Brazilian team, Patty Mills' Australia and Great Britain possibly featuring Spurs' draftee Ryan Richards. That's seven current, former and potentially future Spurs playing against one another in London.
The top four teams from each group will qualify for round two. Qualifying for round two won't be a problem for Team USA, but if they don't bring their A games, France or Argentina could be in trouble depending on which teams win the qualifying tournaments. In Group B, Brazil shouldn't have a problem advancing with Spain, Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown's Australian team will be a fringe team and Great Britain doesn't have a chance in hell to get out of pool play since the only reason they qualified was because they're the host country.
If we assume the best, the Spurs will have roughly two weeks of rest from the end of the season to the start of Olympic training camps. The games themselves get going July 27th.
For Spurs fans, I am sure they will be keeping an eye on the health of Parker, Ginobili, Mills, Diaw and Splitter when next season rolls around considering they will have logged many minutes on the court from this season, playoffs, and Olympic games.
Manu's retiring from the NT after this summer so I would love to see him to go out on a high note. It's so sad to see the Argentina NT along with Manu getting so old now. They were always fun to watch all these years.
Parker, De Colo, then Diaw and possibly Batum?
Spurs F/O going after the entire French National Team....
Why not? lol
Pop saw how well Parker played last summer with those guys so why not just bring that chemistry to San Antonio? We could have 4 frenchman starting for the Spurs by the end of 2014.. hell maybe even 5 if Timmy retires and we pick up Seraphin or trade for Noah (preferably the latter).
We can expect a heavy duel among the Spurs players as national pride takes place but in the spirit of the Olympics and sportsmanship.
For me, its going to be a special occasion as this could be the last time we will see both Manu GINOBILI, Fabricio OBERTO, Luis SCOLA (Spurs draftee) & Co playing for the NT as many of them are already in their 30's. Not sure if their bodies can give way for another FIBA World Championship in 2014 or the Rio 2016.
As everyone bids goodbye to the superstars of Argentine, lets welcome to the team that is likely to take their place among the FIBA's top team; Brazil. Yes indeed! Many believes the likes Splitter, Barbosa, Nene, Verajao & co will be the new powerhouse of world basketball.
I think France will stand a good chance of being on the podium as they will packed with star power. On top of Parker & Diaw, there's also Turiaf, Noah, Batum (potential Spurs?), Seraphin, De Colo (Spurs draftee). Not sure whether Pietrus, Mahinmi, Beuobois or Petro will join there. I'm sure now you'll understand the depth of their roster.
Mills's Australian Boomer team medal chances might be a far stretch but they should make it to last eight.
Don't forget on another Spurs draftee, Lithuania's Robertas Javtokas. Should they make it from the qualifying tournament which i think they're favourite to do soo; they will be the best candidate for a Top 4 finish.