#1) Pau Gasol, 7'0, Center, 36.1 years old, Spain
19.5 PTS, 8.9 REB, 2.3 AST, 1.9 BLK, 12-23 3P%, 24-40 FT%, 54.5 FG%
Competing in his fourth Olympic games, and in all likelihood his last, Gasol was as effective as ever individually on the international stage, leading the Spanish squad to a bronze medal. Gasol has now led Spain in scoring in each of the four Olympics he has competed in, and is Spain's all-time leader in points scored at 467, and rebounds at 168. Juan Carlos Navarro is second on Spain's all time scoring list, 230 points behind Gasol, despite having played in three more games. Gasol has to be considered one of the best Olympic performers in history, now owning four of the eight best showings in the past 20 years according to EWA.
Gasol took full advantage of the shorter FIBA 3-point line, hitting 12 of his 23 attempts, the most he has ever hit in international competition. The 3-pointer is becoming a slightly more important part of his game as his career moves on, and it will be interesting to see how that translates to playing alongside LaMarcus Aldridge with the Spurs next season.
Although a third place finish might have been below expectations for a Spain team that has become accustomed to playing in the gold medal game the past two Olympics, Gasol's individual performance over the course of the tournament was elite. He finished fourth overall in points per game, first in rebounds, second in blocks, and #1 in PER at 29.7 ahead of DeMarcus Cousins who finished 2nd at 27.7. Gasol matched his career high for points in an Olympic game with 31 in the bronze medal game vs. Australia, the same amount he scored vs. Angola in the 2008 games. Spain has now medaled in 3 of the 4 Olympics Gasol has competed in, including a silver in 2008 and 2012, both which ended in losses to the United States. Gasol signed a 2-year deal with the Spurs this off-season, the second of which includes a player option.