July 22, 2012; Barcelona, SPAIN; USA forward LeBron James (6) and Argentina guard Manu Ginobili (5) on the court in an exhibition game against Argentina in preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games at Palau Sant Jordi. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
While I reluctantly wrote about the Dwightmare, I'm enthusiastically covering it up as quickly as possible with some real news.
At 1:00 PM Pacific time, Team USA faces off against Argentina in Olympic Semi-Final play. The winner advances to the Gold Medal game and is guaranteed at least the silver while the loser will have a chance to fight the other Semi loser for the bronze. The game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and OBASK.
After the jump is my preview from when these teams matched up a few days ago in pool play (with updated statistics).
Andres Nocioni, Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola, and Manu Ginobili are the four NBA players who appear on Argentina's roster. To be honest, I don't recognize any of the other names. All four of these players, however, have had nice NBA careers.
Nocioni has played for eight seasons as an undrafted forward, appearing in games for the Bulls, Kings, and, most recently, the Philadelphia 76ers, with whom he will play in the fall. Despite averaging 11 and 5 in 23 minutes a game over the course of his career, Andres couldn't buy time on the court last season. Nocioni is averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds a game in the Olympics.
Delfino was a late first round choice to Detroit in 2003, and has played for the Pistons, Raptors, and Bucks. Carlos started each of the last three seasons for the Bucks, shooting at least 36% from deep each season. He is under contract with the Bucks next season. Delfino has averaged 15 points a game in the Olympics.
Scola has had quite the successful spurt in the NBA the last couple of seasons, despite debuting at the age of 27. Luis was drafted by theSpurs in 2002 as a 22 year old, but he didn't come overseas to play in the NBA until the 2008 season, where he appeared for the Houston Rockets. After averaging just under 15 points and 8 rebounds a night for the Rockets over the last five seasons, Houston amnestied him this summer, and he was picked up by the Suns. Scola is averaging Scola has averaged 19.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists a game in the Olympics.
The Argentinian star, Manu Ginobili, was also a late pick by the Spurs who didn't come over immediately. Manu was drafted in 1999, and didn't find his way to the Spurs until 2002-2003 season. Ever since, he has been a huge part of the Spurs success as a deadly playmaker and scorer, and has helped his team to three NBA championships. Ginobili has averaged 19.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists a game in the Olympics.
The fifth Argentinian starter, one Facundo Campazzo, has averaged 5 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds a game in these Games.
The lone Clipper competing for team USA, Chris Paul, is starting for the Americans at point guard, and averaging 7.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. Paul is trying to fit into the Jason Kidd role- purely distributing and hitting open shots- which is difficult for a guy who has been a #1 option his whole life.
Keep an eye out for USA's hot shooting- they're a tick under 45% from beyond the arc in the tournament.