Saturday, August 28, 2010
The World Basketball Championships 2010 Preview - Group D
The World Basketball Championships are coming to Turkey next week. As such, here is a simple basic layman's check on each team participating.
Canada - Neither Steve Nash and Samuel Dalembert are available for the neighbors up north, but recent Knicks draft pick and Syracuse alumnus Andy Rautins (also known as Canada coach Leo Rautins' son) will be manning the playmaking and shooting chores. UConn alum (and someone who played in the Motherland recently) Denham Brown as well as two current Gonzaga Bulldogs in Robert Sacre and Kelly Olynyk join in the cause. Joel Anthony is also around to be the resident veteran big guy. It shows you how bad Jamaal Magloire has been when his lesser known teammate makes the team.
France - Tony Parker (and Eva Longoria), as well as Roddy Beaubois and Ronny Turiaf will be skipping the tournament. Led by the ballooning Boris Diaw, French basketball will revolve on whether Nicolas Batum will take the scoring cudgels and act like his teammate in Portland, Brandon Roy. Air France's brother Florent Pietrus is also playing, as well as a couple of San Antonio draft picks in Nando De Colo and Ian Mahinmi (who has moved on to Dallas). And, no, Frederic Weis is not on the team, so we will not be seeing this highlight again.
Lebanon - The other major thorn in the quest for the Motherland's Olympic qualification. Best player is Fadi el-Khatib, a scoring machine. They have a couple of Americans in Matt Freije and Jackson Vroman to bolster the ranks.
Lithuania - Only one NBA player is on their roster in Linas Kleiza, but they have a few NBA-caliber players on it. They will be hosting the upcoming Eurobasket next year, so this will be a good preparation for them. It will be wishful thinking if they would wear this, too.
New Zealand - The Tall Blacks' most well known asset is veteran benchwarmer Sean Marks. But he is not playing this time. They will be relying on veteran guard (and former Wisconsin Badger) Kirk Penney and Pero Cameron (who was an all-Tourney team in the ill-fated World Basketball Championships in Indianapolis)
Spain - Best team in Europe. No Pau for the Euro champs? They have his brother, Marc, in. No Jose Calderon? They brought it former Jazz PG Raul Lopez (once thought to be John Stockton's successor) to replace him and then hand the keys off to Ricky Rubio (you may proceed with your Kaaaaahhhhhnnnnnn! right now). They also have the most expensive second round pick ever (Sergio Llull), two guy who had a cup of tea with the NBA (and should be back there) in Jorge Garbajosa and Juan Carlos Navarro, and the guy who should consider this to be his try out for all other NBA teams (Rudy Fernandez).
Top 4: Spain, France, Lithuania, Lebanon