Argentina is favored as one of the best teams on this 2014 FIBA World Cup and bookies place them after USA and Spain on their favorite lists, but in reality things don’t look like that. They have a very young team where Prigioni, Nocioni and Scola are the leaders and most experienced players on the squad. In a group that is consisted of representations like Croatia, Greece and Puerto Rico it will be hard for the Argentinians to win one of the first two places. If they don’t succeed in this Argentina will face either Spain, France or Serbia when crossing with teams from group A.
This means that the maximum for this Argentinian team is the second round. So we can only remember the good old days when Argentina actually beat team USA with ease at the Olympic tournament.
Basketball is big in the Philippines and their team looks even better with the addition of Andray Blatche. They are not in the easiest of groups for this 2014 FIBA World Cup and they have small chances of qualifying, but a win against Senegal is very possible outcome and they can even pull out a surprise against Argentina or Puerto Rico. No matter what it will be a pleasent surprise if we see this team fighting back against basketball giants like Greece and Croatia. They will probably not go past the group stage, but they have the chance to play good and put up a fair fight, which will please basketball fans throughout the world.
The Big Surprise
Slovenia has the perfect mix of experience and young players that can step up. They have the Dragic brothers in the backcourt and good size in the frontcourt combined with the skillset of one of the best PF in Europe, Erazem Lorbek. They just need to finish at one of the top three spots in the group in order to avoid the USA team in the next phase, but it would be good to finish on first place because that would mean an easier draw till the quarter finals and a possible matchup against team USA in the semis.
Spain is the host of this 2014 FIBA World Cup and they are one of the best looking squads on the tournament. Team USA had lots of issues with injuries and late withdrawals so they brought a squad that possess huge talent and quality, but at the same time they lack experience and many of the players on this squad don’t know how to play good defense.
USAB will also miss the needed explosion on the offensive end without the likes of Rusell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, Lebron James and many other superstar players that will not be a part of this team. They also don’t have the necessary dominance in the paint because no matter how talented and big are their centers including Andre Drummond, Keneth Farried and Anthony Davis; they still haven’t played an important playoff or international game in their professional career.
On the other hand Spain has an intimidating pack of 9 players in the backcourt and frontcourt combined, list that includes Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Sergio Rodriguez (Euroleague regular season MVP), Rudy Fernandez, Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Sergio Llull and Juan-Carlos Navarro. This is one of the last World Cups of this generation because many of them have stepped into the 30’s and they will surely have huge motivation to overcome the USA team when they are not in their top strenght. Just remember that this Spanish team went shoulder to shoulder with a team that had LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Rusell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Tayson Chandler and many others from the same elite status in the NBA.
Greece and Slovenia are some of the other teams that have a good schedule and a squad that is a mixture of youth and experience. Some of their players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kostas Papanikolau and Goran Dragic can have a brake-trough tournament right here and prove to the world or the NBA that they are the new leaders of their respective teams.
Best Young Player
Giannis Antetokounmpo is our clear favorite for this “award” because we believe in this Greece squad that had a change of generation recently and has the talent to go far in the tournament; and because The Greek Freak is not only one of the physically most talented players out there, but also has huge basketball IQ and knows how to play the game on various positions. He will get lots of minutes at PF and be a good combination with Papaloukas on the SF throughout the game, but he can also play the SG position against inferior defenders like James Harden from the USA squad.
Derrick Rose has showed signs of brilliance once again at the USAB training camp and scrimmage game. Although we think that the Spaniards will win this one, they also have more teamwork mentality rather than individual actions. That’s why if team USA wins the tournament we believe that this will happen because the play of the holly son of the east side of Chicago, Derrick Rose.
PG Derrick Rose
SG Goran Dragic
SF James Harden
PF Giannis Antetokounmpo
C Serge Ibaka