Of the San Antonio Spurs affiliated players to play in the 2012 London Olympics, Patty Mills and Tiago Splitter will be the first two Spurs to hit the London floor as their respective teams face each other on Sunday July 29, at 5:15 AM CST.
Splitter will have a lot of NBA talent on his squad with Brazil, while Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown, whom guides Australia’s national team, will coach Mills. These two teams faced each other just six days ago in exhibition play, as the Brazilians won that match 87-71. Will the Aussies get revenge on Sunday? Here’s a preview of both teams.
Brazil (BRA): Marcelinho Huertas, Larry Taylor, Raul Neto
Australia (AUS): Patty Mills, Adam Gibson
Advantage: Even – Two play makers in Mills and Huertas. Mills the scoring machine, Huertas the South American version of Steve Nash.
BRA: Leandro Barbosa, Marcelo Machado, Alex Garcia
AUS: Matt Dellavedova, Peter Crawford
Advantage: Brazil – Barbosa and Garcia have both played at the NBA level, while Machado is a reliable shooter and whacky playmaker on both ends of the floor.
BRA: Guilherme Giovannoni
AUS: Joe Ingles, Brad Newley
Advantage: Australia – Through their exhibition games, Ingles has been Australia’s go-to player on the wing, expect him to get a lot of touches and create plays for himself and others.
BRA: Tiago Splitter, Marcus Vieira
AUS: Matt Nielsen, David Barlow, Mark Worthington
Advantage: Brazil – Splitter had 17 points six days ago against the Aussies, expect him to continue along this path.
BRA: Nene Hilario, Anderson Varejao, Caio Torres
AUS: David Anderson, Aron Baynes, Aleks Maric
Advantage: Brazil – Though Anderson and Baynes can put up 8-10 points, Nene and Varejao will give the Brazilians a major advantage on both sides of the floor with their physicality and experience of playing against dominant players in the NBA over the years.
Perimeter and Frontcourt Matchups
Perimeter Advantage: Even – Australia’s perimeter has two players who can easily put up 20 points apiece if they get hot; they are Mills and Ingles. Mills and Ingles have to play well as that is where a bulk of Australia’s points come from, the outside. Brazil has a variety of weapons on the perimeter beginning with arguably the best point guard not playing in the NBA, Huertas. Two weeks ago Huertas was getting a lot of spotlight stateside as he put on a performance for United States President Barack Obama and the American audience as the U.S. defeated Brazil in an exhibition game in Washington D.C. Huertas, along with Barbosa, Machado, and Garcia are a backcourt that can be relied upon, but can also become very quiet outside of Huertas. They don’t have a dominant small forward, which is where Ingles and Newley will have an advantage, but overall, both sides seem about even in the perimeter.
Frontcourt Advantage: Brazil – Splitter and Brazil’s frontcourt shouldn’t have a tough time producing against the Australians. Outside of Spain, Brazil has arguably the best frontcourt in the Olympics. They can play traditional post play with Nene, or run pick-and-rolls with Splitter and Varejao. One thing to expect is for Brazil’s frontcourt to visit the free throw line often.
Prediction: Brazil defeats Australia by 12 points or less.
What’s your prediction Spurs fans? Who will begin 1-0 in Olympic play, Mills’ Australians or Splitter’s Brazilians?