|2010 USA team that won the tournament|
The FIBA Basketball World Cup gets underway in a couple of days with some of the biggest and best talent from around the world taking part. Sure the USA does not have some of its best players, but it is still a very star studded line-up that we will see. In this year’s tournament, Finland is the only squad that is making its first appearance at the Basketball World Cup.
(The record in the brackets indicates the team’s exhibition game record)
Thoughts/Expectations: Spain has a squad that features the likes of the Gasol brothers, Ibaka, Rubio & co. that should easily take them to the quarters with a first place finish. The only two other teams that may push Spain a little bit are France (it should be mentioned that Parker will not partake in this tournament) and Serbia. Brazil has a handful of big men that can straight up play, but I worry about their guard play.
Four going through (in order): 1. Spain 2. France 3. Serbia 4. Brazil
Puerto Rico (5-4)
Thoughts/Expectations: This is anyone’s group for the taking, especially when you consider that Argentina is not the basketball powerhouse it used to be. I am very eager to see how Croatian youngsters Saric and Hezonja do on the big stage, as I have not seen much of them in the past. If Blatche can put together a solid tournament, then the Philippines could have a chance at escaping this group.
Four going through (in order): 1. Croatia 2. Greece 3. Argentina 4. Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic (8-2)
New Zealand (8-5)
Thoughts/Expectations: USA is obviously the class of this group and should probably go 5-0, maybe 4-1. New Zealand has a good team with a blend of young and veteran players, which is something that is very important when it comes to tournaments such as these. Ukraine is really hit or miss, only time will tell which Ukraine team shows up.
Four going through (in order): 1. USA 2. New Zealand 3. Dominican Republic 4. Finland
Thoughts/Expectations: I cannot wait to see Exum play for Australia, definitely one of the players to watch in this tournament and almost all of the Australian players, play a big part for their team (the team features four NBA players). Lithuania, as always, is a basketball powerhouse. Personally, I want to see what Valanciunas can do against some of the best big men, at the international level. Slovenia, similar to Lithuania is a very good team with a tremendous blend of youth/veteran players. Look out for Suns guard, Dragic.
Four going through (in order): 1. Slovenia 2. Australia 3. Lithuania 4. Mexico