Pau Gasol to Replace Rafael Nadal as Spain’s Flag Bearer

The 2012 Olympics are right around the corner for Team USA as Kobe Bryant and company prepare for another run at a second consecutive gold medal.

In the days leading up to the opening ceremony on Fri. July 27, Team USA will have one more exhibition game against Pau Gasol and the Spanish national team on Tues. July 24. This final exhibition game will be a barometer of Team USA’s chances of winning another gold medal.

Even though Gasol and company are looking forward to taking on Team USA on Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain, the two-time NBA champion received the honor of being Spain’s flag bearer after tennis star Rafael Nadal was unable to compete in London, England due to injury according to ESPNLosAngeles.com:

Spain says Gasol, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, has been chosen to replace Nadal because he represents “the best values in sport and competition.”

Spain is considered to be the toughest competition for the Americans during the 2012 Olympics and after a close win over Argentina recently, the undersized Team USA squad might struggle against Spain with the two-headed monster of Pau and Marc Gasol in the paint.

Size will be the difference between USA and Spain as the Spanish team has a rather intimidating frontline led by the Gasol brothers. Behind Pau and Marc, Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder will be another force to be reckoned with in the frontcourt for Spain.

As for Team USA, Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler and rookie Anthony Davis will be the team’s best defense against Spain’s size. Without Dwight Howard in the paint, USA may struggle with Spain’s forwards and centers with the Spanish almost certainly looking to use their advantage in the paint.

It’ll be interesting to see how Coach Mike Krzyzewski will address the lack of size against Spain on Tuesday. Team USA’s big men will have to step up if the Americans expect to compete with Spain.

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