When Brazilian basketball legend turned broadcaster Oscar Schmidt showed up for a Team USA practice, students of the game like Carmelo Anthony went up to him and asked if they could take a picture with him. Schmidt is an international legend.
And he was the leading scorer in the Olympics in 1988, 1992 (more points per game than Charles Barkley or any Dream Teamer) and 1996.
Pau Gasol may beat equal that mark, (something noted by the ESPN stats department).
Gasol is fluid and skilled in the post, a lethal scorer. (Note to Mike Brown, may want to get him some touches there next season. Just an idea.) Plus Gasol can step out and knock down the midrange. Gasol has been the anchor of the Spanish offense for more than a decade.
Gasol was the leading scorer of the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2008 games in Beijing. Do it one more time and he ties Schmidt.
Gasol is tied as the London Olympics’ leading scorer with Patty Mills of Australia at 20.6 points per game. Right behind them are Argentinians Luis Scola (20.2) and Manu Ginobili (20, and arguably the guy playing the best overall in games). Kevin Durant leads the USA at 18.6 per contest.
Mills has one more game, against the USA and its defense aimed at “cutting off the head” — take out the best scorer of the other team, make him give up the rock. Mills is going to get hounded Wednesday. If Kobe wants to do his Laker teammate a solid, he could shut down Mills.
The question is what happens to Gasol’s scoring average against the better teams of the medal round? Be careful asking Lakers fans about them, some of them are oddly biased against Gasol. Because what’s he ever done for them?