Spain versus Croatia was an interesting match-up to me. Not only are they two top teams but they have each have an exciting young point guard. Without a doubt, Spain's Ricky Rubio is getting more hype than Croatia's Roko-Leni Ukic. The hype may or may not be justified; since neither has played in the NBA yet, it's hard to make that call. That said, the Olympics are a pressure packed environment for any country that cares. And Spain and Croatia definitely care.
Roko-Leni Ukic (6-5, 183), #4: He's firmly entrenched as the starter for Croatia. He's clearly a better all-around player than Zoran Planinic, the former New Jersey Nets guard. Ukic stands out as a proper floor general. The Croatian offense seemed to function much better when he was in the game than when he was out. That said, he didn't have a real good game versus Spain (I could say the same of the entire Croatian team, though). He seems to have the intangibles down but his shooting needs improvement. In this game and in the game against Lithuania (the two biggest games), Ukic shot horribly. The good news is that he has a good stroke and shooting can be learned.
Ricky Rubio (6-4, 180), #6: He has the luxury of playing behing a genuine NBA point guard: Jos?? Calder??n of the Toronto Raptors. This is good because, at this point, Calder??n is a far, far better shooter than Rubio. Rubio is a bad, bad shooter but he, like Ukic, has good form. I'm sure the shooting touch with come. Rubio could also stand to learn about decision-making from Calder??n. Oddly, Rubio showed his worst decision-making when Spain was up big. Perhaps this was his youth. This is not to say that Rubio doesn't know what he's doing. He's extremely active on defense but he sags off to help too much; as a result, Ukic had a few wide-open looks early in the game. Rubio is getting the hype because of his passing. And his passing more than lives up to it. He is a gifted, though somewhat wild, passer. And he is opportunistic on the defensive end, catching opponents napping at least twice.
The game wasn't a great showcase for either guard (Pau Gasol's double-double stole the show) but it reinforces some perceptions. I think both guards have bright futures ahead of them.