Swishing the Nets Recap – With Rio Olympics 2016 fast approaching we have been analysing the top international Basketball teams and its players on the ‘Swishing the Nets’ column. USA, Spain and Lithuania were the teams that have been covered thus far. Now our focus moves to ‘Team Argentina’.

Team Argentina has been one of the most successful and most consistent teams in International Basketball having won Gold at the very 1st FIBA World cup in 1950, causing a major upset in 2004 beating USA in the Semi-finals and going onto win Gold at the Athens Olympics and winning the FIBA Diamond ball in 2008. They also won 2 FIBA Americas titles in 2001 and 2011 and numerous FIBA South-American titles. Nicknamed the ‘Los Condores’, Argentina is a founding member of FIBA, ranked 4th in the World at present and I will say they are by far the ‘Kings of South American Basketball’.

1) L. Scols

Luis ScolaLuis Scola was part of the historic Argentine team that beat the mighty USA at the 2004 Olympics and went on to win Gold. Now that’s some experience veteran players like Scola would provide Team Argentina. The hope that ‘Any Giant could be slayed’! He was also part of the 2008 Bronze medal winning Argentinian team. So that’s plenty of Olympics experience that Scola would bring to the table. In addition to these accolades Scola has a plethora of FIBA Americas and South-Americas medals to his name.

Scola has excellent post moves and is a reliable jump shooter. He is a smart big man who knows how to set solid screens both on and off the ball and will occasionally take flight right to the rim. At Rio Olympics 2016 Scola will look to provide a consistent “big man” presence for Team Argentina.

Points per game – 8.7, Rebounds per game – 4.8, Assists per game – 0.9

2) Manu Ginobili

Manu GinobiliGinobili holds a unique record of being a Euro-league champion, NBA Champion and Olympic Gold medallist. He is a left handed player, who could drive both ways. He was one of the first guys to successfully introduce the Euro-step move to the US league where you slow your place down and side step and place your other foot on the opposite side as to where your first foot landed when laying the ball into the basket. He is also a fearless 3 pointer, good ball handler on the pick ‘n rolls and a witty defender.

Playing for Argentina, Ginobili won Gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and Bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He has also won Silver with his national team at the 2002 FIBA World Cup. And like other members of his Argentine team, he has heaps of FIBA Americas accolades.  Ginobili’s immense experience as a winner and his ability to will his team to cross the line successfully will come in big for Argentina at Rio Olympics 2016.

Points per game – 9.6, Assists per game – 3.1, Rebounds per game – 2.5

3) Pablo Prigioni

Pablo PrigioniPrigioni has won Bronze with the Argentine national team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and also has won Gold at the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship.

Prigioni is a pass-first Point Guard who will spot an open man effortlessly. He has a very reliable 3 point shooting range and a much improved pull-up jumper from mid-range. He is also a very gritty defender who will rarely lose sight of his defensive assignment. Prigioni’s passing-vision and safe ball-handling will come in very handy for Team Argentina at Rio 2016.

Points per game – 2.5, Assists per game – 2.2, Rebounds per game – 1.9

Note – Do not let the stats fool you, Prigioni is a veteran hustle player who impacts the game every time he steps onto the court.

4) Marcos Mata

Marcos MataMata was part of the National side which won Gold and Silver at the 2008 and 2010 South American championships respectively.  Also having won the Bronze medal with the national side in the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship, he was a part of the 2010 FIBA World Cup squad and played at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Mata plays at Small Forward but can also switch to the Shooting Guard spot if needed. Marcos Mata will be an offensive asset for Argentina and also crash the boards hard and be a threat on passing lanes at Rio 2016.

Points per game – 17, Rebounds per game – 5.6, Assists per game – 1.51, Steals per game – 1.02

5) Facundo Campazzo

Facundo CampazzoAt just 25 years of age Campazzo has won Gold at the 2012 South American Championship and Silver at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship. He was also part of the 2012 Olympics Argentine team and the 2014 FIBA World Cup team.

Campazzo will be a very good outside shooter for Argentina and also spot up open men both on the stop and during his nifty dribble penetrations into the D at Rio 2016.

Points per game – 14.6, Assists per game – 4.93, Rebounds per game – 2.93, Steals per game – 2.03

6) Nicolas Laprovittola

Nicolas LaprovittolaLaprovittola has won medals with the national team at the South American and FIBA Americas and was also part of the 2012 Summer Olympics national side and 2014 FIBA World Cup side. Team Argentina can expect big offensive and defensive numbers from him at Rio 2016.

Points per game – 19.59, Rebounds per game – 4.3, Assists per game – 5.5, Steals per game – 1.6

7) Leonardo Gutiérrez

Leonardo GutiérrezLeonardo is a Power forward who is a true veteran of the sport and is in the Top 10 of the Argentine league for both games played and points scored.

Having played the sport for more than 2 decades Leonardo has huge heaps of International basketball experience having won 2 FIBA Americas Championships in 2001 and 2012. He was also part of the team that made history in 2004 having won Gold at the Athens Olympics and also won Bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Leonardo places a lot of emphasis on basics in his game and he will be the teammate who will keep the team focused on the game at Rio 2016.

Points per game – 17.66, Rebounds per game – 3.83, Assists per game -2.08, Blocks per game – 0.31

8) Andres Nocioni

Andres NocioniWith Team Argentina Nocioni has won Gold at the 2004 Olympics and Bronze at the 2008 Olympics, a Silver at the FIBA World Cup in 2002 and 2 FIBA Americas Championship titles (2001, 2011).

Nocioni will be bringing in heaps of Basketball experience having played at the NBA level and a diverse set of skills for Team Argentina at Rio 2016.

Points per game – 7.7, Rebounds per game – 2.7, Blocks per game – 0.5

9) Walter Hermann

Walter HerrmannWalter Hermann is another veteran whom I’d pick for the Argentine line-up at Rio 2016.

He is another surviving member of the 2004 Olympic Gold medal winning Argentine team. His national level accolades also include Gold at the 2001 FIBA Americas Championship and 2 FIBA South American Championships titles (2001, 2004).

Hermann is one of the top rebounders in the Argentine national team and he will have to bring in all his hustle plays especially when crashing the boards to take his team through to success at Rio 2016.

Points per game – 14.0, Rebounds per game – 8.8, Assists per game – 1.8

10) Matias Bortolin

Matías BortolínAt the age of just 23 this 6’9” Center is one of the more promising talents for the future of Argentine basketball, Bortolin has won Silver at the FIBA South American Championship (2014) and Bronze at the FIBA Americas Championship (2013).

Although it is not likely that Bortolin will receive many minutes to play on the court at Rio 2016, in my opinion, the experience he gets from this tournament will be useful for Argentine basketball in the years to come.

Points per game – 5.49, Rebounds per game – 3.5, Blocks per game – 0.75.

11) Salem Safar

Salem SafarFor his national team Salem has won Silver and Bronze at the 2015 and 2013 FIBA Americas Championships and a Gold and Silver at the 2012 and 2014 South Americas Championships respectively.

Salem will have a big role off the bench for Argentina at Rio 2016 and it will be expected of him to put in healthy numbers consistently.

Points per game – 15, Rebounds per game – 2.5, Assists per game – 2.33

12) Marcos Delia

Marcos DeliaStanding at 6 feet 10 inches tall Delia can play at either Center or Power Forward positions.

Delia has won Silver and Bronze with the Argentine national team (2015, 2013) and also Gold and Silver at the 2012 and 2014 FIBA South Americas Championships.

Marcos Delia is a player on the rise and his performance at Rio 2016 will go a long way in defining his career, as a medal at the Olympics might earn him a spot in an NBA team which would do both himself and Team Argentina a World of good in the years to come.

Points per game – 9.25, Rebounds per game – 4.0, Blocks per game – 0.5

I have included a very high number of veteran players in the Argentine line-up which is quite uncharacteristic of me. But I sincerely believe that Team Argentina should consist of as many remnants as possible from the 2004 Olympics Gold winning team and the 2008 Olympics Bronze medal winning team. Through experience I can affirm that it takes such players with championship winning experience to take a team like Argentina to cross the hurdle against World giants such as USA, Spain, France, Serbia and Lithuania. But the 12 I have picked here also include several youngsters who could carry the torch on for Argentina Basketball. At Rio 2016 – Teams will be doomed if they count Argentina out. It has happened before!

Team France is next on ‘Swishing the Nets’ on ThePapare.com. Until we meet next again – Keep balling!