Gold Medal Game Affected by Rule Changes That Haven't Happened Yet

Some people just don't know how to lose. America is again the champions of the universe and yet, there is one lone voice whining in the distance. His name is Raptors guard Jose Calderon, and he will be heard. From El Mundo, with translation by A Stern Warning: ↵
↵⇥"This is not the time to speak of officiating, but I think with the FIBA rules we would have won. That is why we are a little annoyed, because we were right there at the finish line and we have just missed out." ↵
↵However, the big rule changes, the ones set to give the USA the definitive advantage that its players just can't, don't take hold until 2010. A Stern Warning concludes that Calderon must be referring to the "perceived difference in the way the rules have been interpreted by referees, in the eyes of many observers," involving "traveling violations, charge/block calls, carrying violations and continuation on shooting fouls." And it's true, NBA players travel constantly and always get and-1's. ↵
↵
↵But, if I may be so bold as to try and interpret the inscrutable wilderness that is international ball, it's not like Spain's a team totally foreign to the NBA. Pau Gasol is an All-Star-ish player in his prime who just went to the Finals. His brother Marc is a gigantic bruiser. Calderon himself, who sat with an injury, should've been this past season, and is seen as one of the league's best young point guards not named Paul or Williams. Ricky Rubio is top three pick when he jumps. Their guards got the ball and scored; Rudy Fernandez posterized Dwight Howard, Juan Carlos Navarro may have wacky runners, but he did occasionally explode like this on the Grizzlies. ↵
↵
↵The point is, of all the non-USA teams in the field, Spain was the most like an NBA team, and had the most Association experience. In fact, their adherence to strict positional roles, and reliance on a big man tandem, was more traditionally American than Team USA was. And in the end, Calderon's public complaint comes off as, well, more proof that he and his teammates aren't strangers to the NBA way of doing business.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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