Though a well-traveled veteran in the NBA, the speedy guard will play in his first Olympic Games this summer. Brazil qualified for the first time since 1996 and should be a formidable threat. Along with Barbosa, Brazil features a trio of athletic big men in Nene, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter.
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He may not look Spanish, but "Air Congo" provides added frontcourt depth to a team that should control the paint in most of its games. Ibaka moved to Spain as a teenager to flee the Second Congo War, and the athletic forward-center should be able to effectively spell Marc Gasol. Ibaka made headlines when he claimed that Spain's talent matches that of the U.S.
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With his eye healing after a stray bottle struck him at a nightclub brawl involving pop stars Chris Brown and Drake, Parker leads a formidable French squad competing in its first Olympics since 2000. Though the French will be missing Joakim Noah due to injury and a large crop of NBA players (Mickael Pietrus, Rodrigue Beaubois and Ian Mahinmi), Parker assures backcourt stability.
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Perhaps the most anticipated college player to play on the national team since Christian Laettner, Davis was called up to replace an injured Blake Griffin. Expectations will be very high for the teenage phenom since the USA lacks any significant frontcourt depth. Davis's soft touch and astounding footwork are what made him the top pick in June's NBA draft, but he will now have to adjust to a different style of basketball and guard several proven professional big men.
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Marc (L) and Pau Gasol
The Gasol brothers appear to be the primary impediment to the U.S. repeating as gold medalists. Fundamentally sound and sometimes brilliant, the two are a nightmare matchup for any Olympic frontcourt and could be the key to Spain's dreams of a gold medal. With a proven backcourt anchored by Jose Calderon, the Gasols are especially dangerous to the U.S., which is considered thin in the frontcourt after losing Blake Griffin to a knee injury.
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He has struggled to live up to the hype since he was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, but Yi is critical to China's Olympic chances with former superstar Yao Ming retired from international competition. China also features former Los Angeles Lakers guard Sun Yue.
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The fifth pick of the 2011 NBA draft and the 2012 FIBA European Young Player of the Year, the 20-year old Valanciunas is considered by some to be the best player on the Lithuanian national team. Slated to make his NBA debut next season, the much-hyped big man should get some help from Toronto Raptors teammate Linas Kleiza.
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Already one of the craftiest guards in the NBA, Manu Ginobili shined during Olympic play in his 2004 gold medal and 2008 bronze medal performances. Now, he hopes to lead the Argentines to gold in what may be his last Olympic Games.
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AK-47 may have left the NBA, but he still may be the most dangerous threat for the Russians. The 31-year-old CSKA Moscow star joins an improved Russian starting lineup that also features Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov. The Russians hope that Kirlienko's trademark defense can help them secure their first ever medal in the event.
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Mills completed a tumultuous professional year (he played in Australia, China and eventually San Antonio) with a career-high 34 points and 12 assists against Golden State in the Spurs' season finale. Now, Mills is the primary player in charge of the Boomers, who have never won an Olympic medal. Australia is missing oft-injured center Andrew Bogut but does feature Mills' close friend and former teammate, Saint Mary's star Matthew Dellavedova.
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Some may wonder if Batum's focus will be intact considering his contentious predicament with the Portland Trail Blazers, but the lean forward remains a versatile threat for the French. Batum figures to start at power forward, but his jump shot and quick feet allow him to operate effectively outside of the paint. He could be one of the surprise stars of the 2012 Games.
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He is playing against the Chicago Bulls' wishes, but Luol Deng will suit up for the host. Great Britain will be playing in its first Olympic Games in 64 years, and while the Bulls tried to dissuade Deng from playing because of a wrist ligament injury, Deng has frequently stated his intent to play since London received the Olympic bid in 2005. A Sudan native, Deng and his family were granted political asylum by the United Kingdom when he was a child.
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Standing a solid 7-feet tall, Mejiri is the biggest threat for the Tunisians, who don't figure to advance very far in their first Olympic appearance.
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Al- Farouq Aminu
The New Orleans Hornets' gunner is perhaps the most dangerous threat on a Nigerian team featuring an assortment of former American college players. Playing for Nigeria will be former Arizona State star Ike Diogu, former Oregon guard Chamberlain Oguchi, former Maryland forward Ekene Ibekwe and former Portland Trail Blazers draft pick Olumide Oyedeji. One of the more intriguing players on the Nigerian squad is Tony Skinn. Skinn was the star guard on the 2006 George Mason team that upset four consecutive teams to make its first ever Final Four.
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Juan Carlos Navarro
While he hasn't frequented an NBA floor since 2008, the Spanish captain can still shoot the ball without turning it over often. An NBA All-Rookie Second Team performer in his only NBA season, the FC Barcelona star will captain the backcourt with the slippery Jose Calderon and Sergio Rodriguez.
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James hopes to continue his incredible play from the NBA finals into the Olympics, where even coach Mike Krzyzewski has acknowledged James' role as a leader on a team with Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. James admitted that 2008 was a "learning experience" under players like Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Jason Kidd.
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One of the most prolific scorers in Argentine basketball history and the newest member of the Phoenix Suns will play in his third -- and possibly last -- Olympics in 2012. Scola has never struggled to put the ball in the basket in international play; he broke two Argentine national team records at the FIBA World Cup in 2010 (top overall scorer and most points scored in one game).
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The Washington Wizards' center joins Anderson Varejao to compose a frontcourt of significant talent and extravagant hair. Always a player of finesse, Nene's skills in the paint could help lead the Brazilians to their first Olympic basketball medal since 1964.
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The newest international name to join the Minnesota Timberwolves, Shved is a rangy shooting guard with plus ball-handling and passing skills. At 6-foot-6, he will pose a series of threats to opposing defenses. Shved is another candidate for a breakout tournament.
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Nando De Colo
Like the Brazilian Tiago Splitter, De Colo is a San Antonio draft pick that deferred his chance to play in the NBA to hone his skills over several years in Europe. After three successful years at Valencia in Spain, De Colo agreed to a two-year contract with the Spurs in July. For the French, De Colo may be Tony Parker's top outside shooting threat.
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