The 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain kicks off later this month where the best-of-the-best in the world will compete for gold and a chance at an Olympic birth in Rio.
But with so many teams in the field, what are a few things to watch for at the tournament?
Well, in no particular order, here you go!
1) How will Team USA look without a few major stars?
No Kevin Love. No Kevin Durant. No Blake Griffin. No Paul George. Team USA will still be the favorite in the field but will have to work harder to exert their dominance. The lack of star will hurt but with teams like Spain, France, and Brazil legit threats, the U.S. will not have a cake walk in Spain. Coach Mike Krzyzewski will have this team ready but who will be the go-to guy?
Off the bat, you will look at Team France and Spain. France boasts NBA stars such as Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, Nando De Colo, Evan Fournier and Ian Mahinmi. However, the loss of Tony Parker, Kevin Seraphin and no Joakim Noah will likely be the team’s downfall.
Team Spain roster includes Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Joe Calderon, Serge Ibaka, Juan Carlos Navarro, Rudy Fernandez and more. This team is stacked. They have the inside presence and outside threat and will be the USA’s No. 1 threat. Not to mention homecourt advantage.
3) The end of the “Golden Age” of Argentinian basketball.
This will mark the end of the best years of Team Argentina. No Manu Ginobili, as he pretty much announced his retirement from international play. Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni are aged. Add the fact Carlos Delfino is not playing and this makes it a bitter sweet time for Team Argentina’s trail blazers and the end of an era.
Hats off to the players who paved the way for Latin American NBA players. They showed the world they can play on the best court in the world and left us with many memories including being the first team to ever beat Team USA in international competition.
The World Cup kicks off August 30. Team USA’s next game is August 16 in Chicago. The team returns to training in the Windy City on August 14.