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Pau Gasol to skip the World Championships

Jun 1, 2010, 12:27 PM EDT

Though there are a number of competitive teams partaking in this summer’s FIBA World Championships, Spain was understandably considered the best possible candidate to upset the Americans. Those chances have dwindled significantly with Pau Gasol’s announcement that he will miss this summer’s tournament in order to rest for next season. From Janis Carr of the O.C. Register:

Gasol said on his website that he will not help Spain defend its
title because doctors say he needs a rest and “present circumstances
advise against my participation” in the championship that will be held
in Turkey from Aug. 29-Sept. 12.

“This year I have suffered two major muscle injuries, the first in
my career, and I firmly believe it is time to rest,” Gasol said on his
site. “I think the best is to choose an appropriate time to rest first
than your body decides for you at the most inopportune time.”

The Americans are having some personnel issues, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, and now Dwight Howard wavering in their commitment to the program for a variety of reasons. It’s clear that the glitz, glam, exposure, and marketing opportunities of the Olympic Games mean far more to these stars than a comparatively low-profile event like the World Championships. That could open the door for even a Pau-less Spain team to give Team USA some trouble, but a lot of that depends on which other American stars participate.

Regardless, this is a huge blow for Spain. Whereas they were previously seen as a lock for the final round, they’ll now run a gauntlet of teams that could pose a significant threat. Marc Gasol can still give them the force they need in the middle, but Pau’s just on a different level than Marc, talent-wise.

Team USA may be able to compensate for the loss of a LeBron James or a Dwyane Wade with some the incredible depth in the program, but most national teams (Spain included) don’t have that luxury. Marc’s presence will help, but even he isn’t good enough to lock in Spain as the second best team in the tournament. They could get there and probably will, but things just got much more difficult for the Spanish national team.

  1. Pepe - Jun 1, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    Jose Calderon (NBA), Ricky Rubio (future NBA), Sergio Rodriguez (NBA),JC Navarro (NBA), Rudy Fernandez (NBA), Sergi Llull (future NBA), Carlos Suarez (you’ll see), Felipe Reyes (just great, he beats Scola on ACB EVERYTIME), Fran Vazquez (drafted #11, Orlando awaits), Jorge Garbajosa (NBA), Marc Gasol (NBA)
    Of course we are the second best team in the world, no doubt, period. Even without Pau. Even if Ginobili, Parker, Nowitzki… was in Turkey. Because, in the last five years we beat any of them ALWAYS, with and without Pau. We can lose games, obviously, this is basketball after all, but we are the lock on second position.
    Excuse my english.

  2. LBJ6 - Jul 7, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Come on man… that’s not a bad line up, but still. The US team is definitely still the favorite to win it. If they get a few bigs, the team will be just fine. That’s the US’s biggest weakness right now; the Center position.

  3. Martin - Aug 17, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    I think the upcoming FIBA World Championship will be exciting. Even without the big stars of basketball.
    Most foreign teams have been playing together for years. So, in Spain’s case, I don’t think its chances (of defending its title) will lessen because Paul wouldn’t join them.
    Team USA has the depth, no doubt, but it remains to be seen if they can pull it through in Turkey. Gone are the days that the Americans are invulnerable in basketball.
    An upset is likely to happen, but we’ll see if this current batch of pro players have the heart and gut to win.

  4. Roger - Aug 18, 2010 at 5:01 AM

    Paul’s resume is impressive enough; what he has done for Spain was more than enough. The Spanish wouldn’t be crippled because of his absence. He just needs to rest his body for next year’s EuroBasket and the London Olympics

  5. Roger - Aug 19, 2010 at 4:58 AM

    One more thing: I like the chances of Team USA in Turkey. Realistically, they’ll reach the finals. It’s no secret that talent isn’t a problem in the NBA. It’s only a question of how they’ll play as a team.
    I think this current group has a lot to prove. Their resume may not be as stellar as Kobe, but that might give them the extra motivation to play hard and show that they deserve to play in the Olympics.
    Besides, do you want to see LeBron play again?

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