The excellent Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com compiled 10 players that exuded excellence in Olympic play. They were divided into two teams and Manu Ginobili (first-team) and Patty Mills (second-team) were worthy of selection. Boris Diaw, who averaged 7.7 points, six rebounds and 4.3 assists, received honorable mention.
“As much as the hire of Mike Krzyzewski, those losses to Argentina inspired American NBA stars to renew their commitment to international competition. Argentina didn’t medal in London, but a 35-year-old Ginobili continued his mastery of the world stage. In eight games, Ginobili averaged 19.4 points (third among all players), 5.4 rebounds (more than any other guard in Olympic play) and 4.1 assists. He led a tiny, somewhat depleted team that had grown old in the tooth to the brink of the podium. Ginobili is unlikely to suit up in Rio de Janeiro, and world basketball will be poorer for it.”
“Mills drilled the shot of the Olympics when he flared to the top of the circle with his team trailing by two to the undefeated Russians. With 1.8 seconds left, Mills caught a pass from Joe Ingles, then launched the shot against two closing defenders. The ball fell through, one of several big shots Mills drilled for the Boomers, a team that probably had less pure talent on the floor than any other that survived group play. Mills was the only Olympian who averaged greater than 20 points per game (21.5) and was the spark Australia needed against more sophisticated schemes and explosive squads.”
Interestingly enough, Tony Parker didn’t make the cut on either team nor did he receive honorable mention despite leading France in scoring. This slight is due in large part to his shooting efficiency — Parker shot 40.7% from the field.