As Argentina nears their first preliminary matchup against Lithuania this Sunday — a pivotal matchup between the third and fifth-ranked teams, respectively — the end of Manu Ginobili’s Olympic career is winding down.
Even though Argentina has past their primordial stages and will likely be unable to compete in future international competition; that should deter them from competing in London. Ginobili believes that his team is in line for a medal.
”We have a chance,” Ginobili said. “Do not say we are favorites. We believe we are in a platoon of several teams that have the chance to reach the semifinals and fight for a medal. It will be difficult, for sure.”
The competition, though, won’t make it easy to obtain that medal.
” … Lithuania, Russia, Brazil, France and Australia are not much more than us,” Ginobili said. “We are even, some with more talent, others with less experience … It is clear that the U.S. and Spain are a step up, but they can’t skate (past their competition).”
Ginobili also added that this team is clearly weaker from a physical standpoint than the ’08 edition, who took the bronze medal in Beijing. Height, he believes, remains the most pertinent obstacle to their goals. To compensate for their deficient height, Argentina will need to play with more voracity on the boards.
(An aside: Ginobili alluded to how important the ’92 Dream Team was to his basketball development; he developed a more thorough appreciation of the game. The fact that a team can be somewhat responsible for a guy like Ginobili is pretty cool. And I’m sure Spurs fans are grateful.)
In the end: Whether Argentina’s goal comes to fruition will bode down to luck and, more importantly, the performance of their most accessible star — Manu Ginobili.