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Dtown
07-05-2021, 12:28 PM
Thought it would make sense to make new topics now that the Qualifiers are over.

On paper this looks like a group of Death. The two finalists for the 2019 World Cup with Luka added to the mix. Who winds up winning this group? Who else qualifies?

Toruko
07-05-2021, 12:39 PM
I just can say that USA will win gold again.

Darrell Armstrong
07-05-2021, 03:59 PM
Actually, with all the format changes this year, this one is going to be the most placid, relaxing group. Every team will thoroughly destroy Japan, and all three will qualify as only the worst third won't qualify. And then there's going to be a draw for the final bracket, so no need to win (or lose) for positioning or avoiding certain matchups.

In the end, all three good teams will qualify and the order is going to be largely irrelevant.

brandonsmith87
07-12-2021, 07:54 AM
With the Tokyo Olympics being moved from 2020 to 2021, it is critical that we stay flexible and examine all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the finest USA squad possible. These additions that we are announcing today will help to guarantee that we do so.

Darrell Armstrong
07-26-2021, 09:20 AM
I want to take back my words. With the way Argentina has played both in exhibition games and their opener against Slovenia, it's not a given they will qualify. It's not even a assured they win a game. My, what a fall from grace.

On the other hand, the schedule greatly favours Slovenia and Spain, both can reach the final day of group play with their qualification already in the bag by winning their first two games. With the current rules, ending first, or the best second, may award you a quarterfinal matchup against Team USA. Actually, it may be that by netting the best 2nd, the winner of Slovenia vs. Spain will ensure Team USA ends up in the other group of the draw, turning them into a potential matchup. So there's no escape, and makes that last day of group play largely irrelevant unless one team can blow up the other... and then the best 2nd is the team from group B and the winner of group C ends up facing Team USA anyway.

I'm becoming a fan of this format.

Joško Poljak Fan
07-26-2021, 09:44 AM
Considering the options you've written, I am not fan of this format :D
We've waited long enough for these Olympics, it would be really nice not to end those in the quarter-finals.

Darrell Armstrong
07-26-2021, 10:21 AM
Considering the options you've written, I am not fan of this format :D
We've waited long enough for these Olympics, it would be really nice not to end those in the quarter-finals.

A tough QF matchup is a possibility regardless of the format. I should know, still have nightmares remembering Athens 2004. What this new format ensures is there's no place for playing with the score looking to avoid certain matchups.

For example, now that it seems likely that Team USA is going to end up 2nd, in a 2-group format the teams from the other group could attempt to finish in 2nd place to be placed in the other side of the bracket. Or even go for 4th instead of 3rd to avoid them in QFs. With the current format it's all futile, and there is more potential reward going out for a win for the biggest difference possible than any other result. That's good for the game.

Dtown
07-26-2021, 10:27 AM
How insane is Luka?! 48 points in a 40 minute game is just nuts.

Levenspiel
07-26-2021, 11:46 AM
How insane is Luka?! 48 points in a 40 minute game is just nuts.
in 31 mins.
Luka for Gold :)

DunkOnYa
07-26-2021, 03:30 PM
Luca a mutant. He's playing in Super Saiyan Blue form and hss got Slovenia motivated and punching hard. I'm worried for Sundays game... They already spanked Spain by 20 back in 2017, albeit teams are different now. Anyway, Scariolo better put some sense of urgency in people before the game. One thing is to lose, and another to get clowned.

Darrell Armstrong
07-26-2021, 03:32 PM
How insane is Luka?! 48 points in a 40 minute game is just nuts.

20 points and 9 assists in less than 22 minutes is not bad, neither. Doing it on 13 shots and adding 0 turnovers? I think Ricky is not that far behind in terms of impact.

Killer Bob
07-26-2021, 03:40 PM
20 points and 9 assists in less than 22 minutes is not bad, neither. Doing it on 13 shots and adding 0 turnovers? I think Ricky is not that far behind in terms of impact.

You might check supporting cast of both teams. Which Slovenian player except Luka could have made in Spanish team? You believe Rubio instead Luka would have been more or less the same for Slovenia? Put Luka in Spanish roster and it's game over for others for next 10 years.

Killer Bob
07-26-2021, 03:51 PM
Luca a mutant. He's playing in Super Saiyan Blue form and hss got Slovenia motivated and punching hard. I'm worried for Sundays game... They already spanked Spain by 20 back in 2017, albeit teams are different now. Anyway, Scariolo better put some sense of urgency in people before the game. One thing is to lose, and another to get clowned.

I believe Spain might have an answer for Slovenia in Garuba. They should play him as much as possible on C.

Darrell Armstrong
07-26-2021, 04:09 PM
Well, the first day is wrapped up and we have two teams carrying a lot of momentum into the next game. I'll let others talk about Slovenia. Just allow me to gush over how good this Spain NT is for those who pay attention to little details.

First, the offensive play. Spain is one of the few teams that can field a drive&dish PG (Rubio and Rodríguez) alongside a high-post distributor (Marc and Pau) and rotate them all game long. And then add a tertiary ballhandler (Llull, who today had a couple brilliant assists for Pau) when needed. This combination creates endless possibilities off the pick and roll, and ensures a safe recipient for the ball even against aggressive defences. Combine this core with slashing bigs like Claver or Garuba (who couldn't finish today, but will improve), and outside threats like Abrines, Abalde or Rudy (I know they missed a lot of open threes today, they will eventually make those) who know their spots and never stop moving. All these options doesn't mean we cannot go through scoring droughts, particularly when the coach is trying wild lineups looking to get everyone involved. But when the pieces click Spain can put the pedal to the metal and go on scoring binges. Or slow it down and just get by hustle plays when the game demands it.

But my favourite side of the ball has been defence lately. It's a pity we don't have Juancho here, because the level Claver is playing right now, it would be a pleasure watching them switch both forward positions like they could read each other's mind. Abalde is trying, but it's not the same. Anyway, it's great to see some very complex defensive systems being applied. At this level you can only do that if you have a big commitment from the players. Seeing Pau spending his few minutes on the floor away from the ball, but active in defence is something I wasn't expecting. And if Pau is giving his best effort, no one on this team is going to hold back. If we can achieve the same intensity and consistency we had in 2019, there's no opponent we can't challenge. And it looks like we're getting there, in spite of some players still having a lot to learn (like Garuba).

And last, but not least, the way Scariolo is bringing up the new generation of Spanish players is commendable. He's willing to sacrifice some points of advantage by giving meaningful minutes (not just garbage time) to the youngsters, instead of running the dependable vets to the ground. Letting them play through their mistakes can pay off later when we may need someone to get hot and get our offence out of a hump. And keeping the old horses fresh and injury-free is a nice bonus, too.

Very happy right now.

Darrell Armstrong
07-26-2021, 04:17 PM
You might check supporting cast of both teams. Which Slovenian player except Luka could have made in Spanish team? You believe Rubio instead Luka would have been more or less the same for Slovenia? Put Luka in Spanish roster and it's game over for others for next 10 years.

I think Rubio, with the right coach, could replace Luka as the main ballhandler and have Slovenia play at a high level. Same level as Doncic? Of course not. Adding Luka to a established team like Spain, though, could backfire. Wouldn't be the first time a superteam flames out. If they could mesh, though? I'd pay good money to see that.

But I'm not saying that Rubio is somehow better than Doncic. I'm pointing out that the impact Rubio has is comparable: dominates the game regardless of the opposition.

Stevy
07-26-2021, 04:20 PM
I think Rubio, with the right coach, could replace Luka as the main ballhandler and have Slovenia play at a high level. Same level as Doncic? Of course not. Adding Luka to a established team like Spain, though, could backfire. Wouldn't be the first time a superteam flames out. If they could mesh, though? I'd pay good money to see that.

But I'm not saying that Rubio is somehow better than Doncic. I'm pointing out that the impact Rubio has is comparable: dominates the game regardless of the opposition.

Rubio is a great point guard but not as great compared to Luka. Rubio had plenty of chances already in the NBA to produce but he is not that great enough to be a allstar but Ricky is a NBA starter easily but you can't compare him to Luka.

Killer Bob
07-26-2021, 04:28 PM
I think Rubio, with the right coach, could replace Luka as the main ballhandler and have Slovenia play at a high level. Same level as Doncic? Of course not. Adding Luka to a established team like Spain, though, could backfire. Wouldn't be the first time a superteam flames out. If they could mesh, though? I'd pay good money to see that.

But I'm not saying that Rubio is somehow better than Doncic. I'm pointing out that the impact Rubio has is comparable: dominates the game regardless of the opposition.

Rubio/Z.Dragic/Blazic/Cancar/Tobey would have been one of the worst starting lineups in Olympics, that's not knock on Rubio, and then you have bench with absolutely nothing except Prepelic. I have a feeling that you don't understand how bad Slovenian roster is without Luka. It wasn't an accident that they didn't qualify for WC.

Darrell Armstrong
07-26-2021, 04:37 PM
Rubio is a great point guard but not as great compared to Luka. Rubio had plenty of chances already in the NBA to produce but he is not that great enough to be a allstar but Ricky is a NBA starter easily but you can't compare him to Luka.

I'm not comparing them. But you should check Rubio's first months with the Timberwolves, just arrived to the NBA and before getting injured. He was having a similar kind of impact, not in terms of scoring, but making fantastical plays and pushing his teammates (one of the worst NBA rosters at the time) to unprecedented heights. Or, more recently, his Bubble run with the Phoenix Suns; another bottom team before he arrived.

And, again, I'm not claiming Rubio is better than Doncic in any conceivable way. I'm just saying: the MVP race is not over yet.

Stevy
07-26-2021, 04:49 PM
I'm not comparing them. But you should check Rubio's first months with the Timberwolves, just arrived to the NBA and before getting injured. He was having a similar kind of impact, not in terms of scoring, but making fantastical plays and pushing his teammates (one of the worst NBA rosters at the time) to unprecedented heights. Or, more recently, his Bubble run with the Phoenix Suns; another bottom team before he arrived.

And, again, I'm not claiming Rubio is better than Doncic in any conceivable way. I'm just saying: the MVP race is not over yet.

Dude you are literally comparing them from your comments. Listen, I would love to have Rubio as a Filipino playing for Gilas and I believe that he is perfect in his role in Spain but you can't say that he will have a similar impact to Luka, it is not even close. Rubio is a great piece but he is not a transcendent player like Luka. About the MVP race, yeah it is anybody's game. Mills, Rubio, Luka, Fournier and etc are frontrunners as of now. I believe that the requirements to be MVP is to at least reach the semis. The best performing player in the final four will be the MVP in my opinion.

Killer Bob
07-26-2021, 06:04 PM
I'm not comparing them. But you should check Rubio's first months with the Timberwolves, just arrived to the NBA and before getting injured. He was having a similar kind of impact, not in terms of scoring, but making fantastical plays and pushing his teammates (one of the worst NBA rosters at the time) to unprecedented heights. Or, more recently, his Bubble run with the Phoenix Suns; another bottom team before he arrived.

And, again, I'm not claiming Rubio is better than Doncic in any conceivable way. I'm just saying: the MVP race is not over yet.

The MVP race is open, because they are choosing MVP almost always from the winning team. So it's anybody's prize at the moment. That's why KD had the best odds before the tournament.

May I inform to you that Suns almost won the title mostly because of the impact CP3, Rubio's replacement, had on them.

I have always liked Rubio, unfortunately he never was good enough shooter to make even bigger impact.

Darrell Armstrong
07-26-2021, 08:02 PM
The MVP race is open, because they are choosing MVP almost always from the winning team. So it's anybody's prize at the moment. That's why KD had the best odds before the tournament.

May I inform to you that Suns almost won the title mostly because of the impact CP3, Rubio's replacement, had on them.

I have always liked Rubio, unfortunately he never was good enough shooter to make even bigger impact.

Well, the Suns had won 21 and 19 games in the two seasons before Rubio arrived. He really helped improve the team, and had a fantastic late run in the bubble that almost qualified them for the playoffs. Yes, Chris Paul did even better, but you are talking about one of the best point guards in the last decade, there's no shame in that.

Darrell Armstrong
07-29-2021, 02:26 PM
This group will end with a duel between the best offence vs. the best defense. As everybody knows, offence wins games but defence wins championships. So let's have a nice match.

This tournament is eerily similar to 2019 World Cup. Once again Spain unspectacularly gets by thanks to solid play, and faces one of the unchallenged medal candidates in a lower-stakes game. We broke Serbia in 2019, will it happen the other way round in 2021?


The other story to keep track of is who's going to end up 3rd. Hosts Japan or World Cup runner-up Argentina. It's a coin toss right now, and a reward is not even guaranteed to the winner. But they will play with the benefit of knowing which score they need to reach.