BARCELONA (Olympics/Liga Endesa) - Sergio Scariolo is coaching Olimpia Milano in Italy's Lega A play-off championship right now but rest assured, he has one eye on events in Spain.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have been waging one of the biggest basketball wars in recent memory in the Liga Endesa Finals with a fifth and deciding game on Saturday night at the Palau Blaugrana.
Scariolo is monitoring events because he will be coaching some of the players involved in the title showdown at the Olympics.
Barcelona’s Juan Carlos Navarro, who is well on his way to legendary status in the country, has only hit two of his last 10 shots from the arc in the Finals and is averaging 12.5 points. But like Pau Gasol, there is no doubt about his place in the national team.
A player’s inclusion in the national team can be helped, or hurt, by his performance in the championship series.
Real Madrid point guard Sergio Rodriguez has certainly boosted his chances of making the Spain squad for the first time since 2007.
Only 26, the floor general is playing with supreme confidence.
One of the raps on the 1.90m guard in the past was his inability to put the ball in the basket but he has buried 16 of his 26 attempts from long range in the play-offs while at the same time finding his teammates for open looks.
Barcelona have a back-up combo guard in Victor Sada, who made his senior team bow last year at the EuroBasket in Lithuania.
Xavi Pascual doesn't depend on Sada to score, but to help run the team, play defense and even rebound.
With the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Ricky Rubio injured and unable to play this summer, it's conceivable that both Sada and Rodriguez will make the Olympic squad and back up Toronto Raptors playmaker Jose Calderon.
Real Madrid’s Carlos Suarez, one of the unlucky ones in the past when it comes to Spain selection, has attempted just one shot in 72 minutes played so far in the Finals and scored six points.
Yet he is a combative presence and that has at times helped Madrid against Barca.
In Game 3, Pete Mickael almost came to blows with Suarez when Madrid were turning the screw and blowing them out, 85-59.
Does he have a chance?
Scariolo will also be paying attention to Real Madrid trio Sergio Llull, Felipe Reyes and Nikola Mirotic.
Llull is a lock to make the national squad.
He's been in the national team since 2009 when Spain won the gold medal at the EuroBasket in Poland and in the Finals, he's averaging just over 10 points and bringing his usual tough-as-nails approach on both ends of the floor.
While not the most influential player in the Madrid team, Reyes is tough and continues to rebound well.
The fact that he is well liked by others in the Spain squad strongly suggests he will be on the plane to London.
Injuries kept Mirotic, the MVP of the U20 European Championship last year in Bilbao after leading Spain to the gold medal, on the bench earlier in the play-offs but his role has grown in importance in the Finals with the 2.08m forward's ability to put the ball in the basket.
He's averaging 12 points in his last three games but has not grabbed a rebound in the last two contests.
If Scariolo wants to consider bringing Fran Vazquez into the team, he can look at his rebounding and shot-blocking in the Finals.
Vazquez, a 2.09m center who played at the 2010 FIBA World Championship but not last summer, has 26 rebounds in four games and has done a credible job against a big Madrid frontline.
He also has nine blocks in the Finals.
There is no better time for any of the players to make a statement about what they can bring to Spain than Saturday with each plays in a do-or-die game for the final.