From the minute that Spain’s men’s basketball coach in Rio Sergio Scariolo said that Pau Gasol might not play against the USA in the semifinals due to a calf injury, the universal reaction was essentially the “yeah, right” meme. Nobody believed him. Certainly not Team USA and its coaches, who have prepped as if Gasol was going to play.
He will, according to a report from the well-connected David Pick.
Gasol leads Spain with 17 points and 8.7 rebounds per game — he and the Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic are the lynchpins of the Spanish offense.
Still, one of the keys to the game is how well Gasol is moving — is this injury slowing him at all? We may not notice so much on offense, where Gasol’s game is based on IQ and fundamentals more than athleticism, but on defense will he be able to keep up with the more mobile USA big men (DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan). Gasol is not a great defender at this point when healthy, if hobbled he can be exploited.